All great stories have context.
A story’s meaning far transcends one plot point or action. True value comes from the internal and external obstacles, growth, and conflict the characters face to reach their goal—this makes the moment when they do (or don’t) so special.
Take a second to think about the “big” moments in your life: graduation, wedding, opening a business, starting a family, moving, retirement, etc.
Now, imagine telling the story of this moment.
You wouldn’t simply list off events; you’d talk about the intricacies that led up to them—the “why” that drove them.
The same idea is true for your money. Far too often, people think about money as one of their “big” moments or goals when it’s simply part of the context that helps them get there.
Consider this: did you get married, go to school, or buy a business just because you could afford to?
You did those things to help you reach specific life goals: finding a life partner, earning a degree, owning a company.
So, what can this example teach you?
Money isn’t a goal or moment in your life; instead, it’s an agent to help enrich and enliven your experience.
Understanding The Difference Between Your Goals and What It Takes To Reach Them
Money is a vehicle to help you reach your goals, but it isn’t the goal itself.
What’s the difference?
Take a look at your life goals: designing and building your dream house, pursuing a hobby or activity you love, starting a business, etc.
Sure, you need to properly save to help you reach your goals (securing financing), but money isn’t the reason you set the goal in the first place.
Your dream home may represent a place where your whole family can come and spend time together. Your hobby could be something that gives your life purpose. Starting a business may help you turn your passion into a lifelong career.
As you tease out the layers and meaning behind your goals, you’ll realize money isn’t the driving force behind them; your values are.
Your values bring meaning and fullness to your experiences. Think about the things that fill your cup, like spending time with family, reading a good book, catching up with an old friend, etc. Those experiences don’t cost you a thing.
When you look back on your accomplishments, you likely won’t include how much money you made. Instead, you’ll talk about all the things that give your life purpose.
Change Your Mindset From Scarcity To Abundance
It’s so easy for people to think about money as a goal. But when that happens, you start prioritizing earning money and chasing this idea of “enough,” and deprioritizing the things that really matter to you.
Doing so can easily tip you over into a scarcity money mindset or a state of mind where you think there will never be enough money. Thinking this way can cause a lot of worry and stress concerning your finances and lead to unproductive and unhealthy money habits.
First, let’s quelch the idea that “enough” money actually exists.
It’s nearly effortless to spend money. With so many spending tools at your fingertips, shopping and overspending is easier than ever. And, if given the opportunity, you could likely find endless things to spend money on.
So, there will never be “enough” money to satisfy every present and future whim that drifts across your mind.
Instead of constantly chasing “enough,” actively choose to find contentment with where you are. When you do this, you change from a scarcity mindset to an abundant one.
With an abundance mindset, you practice gratitude for all you have and everything that’s to come. Living in this state of abundance clearly illustrates that money plays second fiddle to the people, places, experiences, goals, and values that drive your life.
Freely Use Your Resources To Support What Matters Most
A significant part of viewing money as a tool is using it to support your life. But it can be challenging for retirees to spend money and resources on themselves, especially those with children.
You’ve worked so hard through the years—raising your kids, saving for retirement, etc.—now that you’re retired, it’s time to enjoy the wonderful life you’ve built. While money isn’t the end goal, it is a valuable tool to help you achieve them, especially in retirement.
It’s so easy for retirees to keep financially supporting their adult children, even well into their golden years. But you’ve sacrificed so much, and now is your time to enjoy your hard-earned money.
Your kids care about you and likely want you to spend your money on things that enhance your life, like experiences, health, travel, etc. Instead of scrimping or worrying about what’s “leftover” to your kids in your estate, use your resources to build the retirement you’ve always wanted. Doing so is yet another way to embrace an abundance mindset.
Build A Financial Plan That Opens Your Doors
What’s the heart of your financial plan?
Your goals and values.
Money isn’t even the catalyst behind your financial plan; your goals and values also take that slot. Once you start thinking about money as a vehicle to help you reach your goals, you’ll find a deeper connection to your plan.
Now that you’ve made it to the end of the piece, consider this question: do you come from an abundance or scarcity mindset?
Your answer to this seemingly simple question can have a dramatic impact on how you live your life.
We love helping retirees build financial plans that let their goals and values shine. A financial plan provides confidence and permission to use resources to bring your goals to fruition. If you’d like to talk more about how we can help you structure your finances to support your goals, set up a call with our team today.