The ideal life, for most people, is a dream where one can follow one’s passion and not worry about mundane issues like money. You can make this dream come true by opting for life planning.Life planning, to put it simply, is identifying your “passion” and doing the necessary financial planning that enables you to meet your responsibilities as also achieve your goals.
“People want more money for a reason, be it for education or retirement or home or for all of these reasons. Life planning gets the priorities straight. What is it you really want and how can we arrange that?,” says George Kinder, founder of Kinder Institute of Life Planning. Kinder is recognised as the father of the life planning movement internationally.
Using a set of questions and exercises (lifeplanningforyou.com), the life planner will help you to discover what you care about most. “We don’t solve any problems of our clients. Instead, we inspire the client and empower them to find their own solutions,” adds Louis Vollebregt, Master Trainer, Kinder Institute of Life Planning.
Incidentally, India is among the top four among 30 countries where life planning movement is growing very fast, according to Kinder.
Across the world, the priorities for most people, in that order, are family, a spiritual life (or values), creativity or an entrepreneurial flavour, then community and finally, a sense of place, that is, the earth and environment.
“Lot of people have passions and they let them die. Life planning seeks to give you the freedom to lead your life with passion, with vigour and vitality,” says Kinder.
Kinder also makes a case for ‘money sacrifices’. “Sometimes a better life calls for money sacrifices,” says Kinder.
Take the case of a person who wants to spend more time with his daughter. “If he is working harder to make more money, then he is going in the opposite direction,” says Kinder.
“Once you go down the path of earning more and more, it’s a trap. You need to get your priorities right as 80% of energies go into wrong priorities,” advises Vollebregt.
It is never too soon or too late to start life planning. “One should start life planning, as soon as you start to earn. It is better to be focused in life right from the beginning,” says Kinder. The young person should ask him or her self these questions: Why am I earning money? Do I want to travel? What kind of a life do I want to live?
If you are older, say 80, life planning is all the more important. “Time is valuable. If they feel unfulfilled, it is incredibly important to find out what is missing and to help them strategise,” says Vollebregt.
“It is all about what comes from within. What is it that drives you and how do we help you achieve that?” says Vollebregt.
Since there are no numbers and net asset values (NAVs) to use as a benchmark, how does one gauge if life planning is working for oneself? The test is simple. “It is seeing how excited or how vital you are about your life. How many regrets and disappointments you have about your life? And if you have any regrets, then how are you actually moving through them? How are you pursuing what is great in your life?” says Kinder.
What if one does not do life planning? “You lose out on life,” says Vollebregt. After all, you will never be 35 or 40 ever again