Tim O'Rahilly Life Coaching

Posts Tagged ‘financial coaching’

Wealth Health #6: The Financial Journey

OK, we’ve done enough analysing in recent blog posts that you should now have an adult, realistic view of your current financial state. You will have also recognised your financial personality and should be well resourced to start your future financial journey.

Any planning exercise must begin with the setting of goals. Aspirational, inspirational, real goals.

What do you want money for?

Have you seriously thought of what it would mean to be truly rich?

Maybe it’s time to revisit the Wheel Of Life. Consider what having wealth would mean in each of those areas of your life: relationships, health, career, recreation, family, spirituality etc.

It is often said that if you wish to be a millionaire, then you should start by acting like one. That can be easier said than done, but look at those areas of your life again. Consider how you might start to create those improvements now.

In Tim Hales’ Smarter Investing he borrows from Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs to present a pyramid model for setting financial goals. Start with the bottom foundations made of current needs: earnings, savings and debt repayments.

On the next level up the pyramid we have your retirement plans. On the third level are the solid future goals around things, experiences, college, weddings etc.

At the top level we find the long-term goals, such as legacies which are further in our future. It should be clear that the upper levels stretching into the future need good solid foundations beneath them.

Try to identify the big milestones in your own financial future: childcare, house, big trips, weddings, parental care, retirement. Trying to choose a date or age in your future where these might occur.

In these days of financial constraints, one of the most worrying aspect of many people’s financial planning is how to manage changes to their pension facilities.

“The question isn’t at what age I want to retire, it’s what income.” – George Foreman

Retirement planning may not be an end goal as such, but it surely ranks high in the important stops along your financial journey. We are destined to live longer than our parents did. We must plan for that.

On average, men live for 17 years after retirement, while women live for 20 years.

During the 1960s, spending focused on leisure, houses, travel and transport.

Since the 1970s, spending has focused on health care and domestic help.

This is a huge area to consider when we will look at it in some detail next time.

Let’s be prepared – or, as Warren Buffett puts it, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

 

 

Wealth Health #5: Common Financial Personalities

How did you get on with the analysis of your financial personality last time? I promised that we would look at these personality types in more detail, so here goes:

If you scored mostly ‘1’ then you are: The Perfectionist

You have to be sure that you are always doing the right thing in the right way and at the right time. These are admirable qualities, but if you adopt a more flexible attitude you will be able to open up choices you may not have otherwise considered. Solid financial planning designed to meet your specific needs can help you towards a more prosperous and stable future, which should allow you a more free and relaxed view of life. “Watch out for being too insular and not considering enough options,” says Jo Roberts at NeedanAdvisor.com. “You could easily make the wrong decisions if you believe what the wrong person is saying. Get professional advice.”

Mostly 2: The Provider

The world would be a far better place if there were more people like you. There is almost nothing that you wouldn’t do to look after loved ones. Engage in some solid financial planning for your unique view of the world. This could not only help you achieve the things you want, but enable you to do even more for others. Be careful of an easy sale: “People know you would rather say yes than offend by saying no,” warns Roberts.

Mostly 3: The Achiever

Rely on your pragmatic streak a bit more when it comes to planning your financial future. Sound financial planning requires a patient and methodical approach if you want your money to work as hard for you as you have it. With your financial affairs sorted out you can concentrate on your hectic high-flying lifestyle. “Watch out that you don’t go for the latest must have opportunity,” Roberts adds. “Only speculate if you can afford to lose your investment.”

Mostly 4: The Maverick

The everyday world must seem terribly mundane and boring to someone like you. It’s great to have dreams, but focus some of your considerable creative energies on more mundane money matters. Mavericks run the risk of doing nothing because looking after money is boring. “If you don’t want to do it, pay someone else to do it for you,” says Roberts.

 

Mostly 5: The Analyst

It is not enough to know how to ensure that your money grows; you have to make the right decisions to allow it to do so in abundance and support you and your interests fully. “You invest reasonable amounts but not often because you spend all your time researching,” Colin Jackson, a financial adviser for Baronworth, reckons. “You want to make the sole decision on whether your investments will work, so you’ll probably head for anything linked to an index.”

Mostly 6: The Sceptic

Very little in life is certain. A well thought-through yet more adventurous investment may be worth considering. It could provide you with some of the much-needed security that is so central to your existence. “You probably take the free advice of at least half a dozen experts then disregard it and put your money in the building society,” says Jackson. Is it perhaps worth living a little more dangerously?

Mostly 7: The Adventurer

It must get very crowded in your house with so many people wanting to hang around someone as exciting and spontaneous as you. Some careful financial planning will let you enjoy life to the full, both now and in the future. “You won’t be interested in mainstream investment products for the bulk of your money but would look at something more ‘interesting’ with the potential for a greater return and risk,” Jackson says. You’ve probably crossed your fingers a lot.

Mostly 8: The Challenger

You are a natural leader with strength, resourcefulness and inner drive. But you can’t exercise total control over your environment and people around you. Taking a bit of advice from others may give you a wider perspective and enable you to improve your financial well-being. “Rather than having a portfolio of diversified assets, you will tend to have a collection of products that were good in the past,” Alex Pegley, from financial adviser Calculus, says. “You should arrange for a personalised portfolio, setting out clearly defined objectives and reasonable expectations.”

Mostly 9: The Deliberator

Money is very important to you, but your quest to achieve balance and avoid conflict could mean important decisions are delayed while you consider all the aspects. Don’t dither when it comes to your finances; take positive action for what life has in store. Pegley adds: “you tend to miss the boat and take up things too late. By hesitating, you’re unlikely to get enough money invested quickly enough to prepare for retirement, and investments could be overly cautious with restricted investment growth.

As I mentioned last time, no type is the right one or the wrong one. Pat Knightley, who devised this test, points out that we all have flashes of all of these traits, but one will be dominant, especially at times of stress, such as shopping on Christmas Eve in London’s Oxford Street. Knightley also says not to panic if you are not happy with the result. “If we always deal with our money in the same way, you will always get the same outcome. Take a step back, think through your approach and things may change.”

So far in this series we have hopefully increased your own financial awareness, analysed your financial reality, taken a close look at your beliefs and feelings about money and arrived at some indication of your financial personality. Now it is time to start your new financial journey. Next time we will consider setting financial goals.

Wealth Health #3: Beliefs About Money

Previously, we have looked at how to gain some clarity about the reality of your personal finances. Now it’s time to delve a little deeper than that in order to expose your underlying beliefs regarding money. This is important, because your beliefs may well be having a greater effect on your financial decision-making than any set of real facts regarding money.

What are some of the things that you are saying about money? What are you saying which may not be serving you well? Which of these common sayings do you use regularly?

  • “Money does not grow on trees.”
  • “I’m not made of money.”
  • “I can’t afford it.”
  • “You can’t take it with you.”
  • “It’s alright for some.”
  • “You can’t take it with you.”
  • “I don’t understand money.”
  • “I haven’t got enough money”
  • “I deserve it.”
  • “I might not be rich but at least I’m honest.”
  • “I work hard, why shouldn’t I enjoy life?”

Most of these sayings have a negative slant to them, so let’s try to reframe them to be more positive, supportive or even motivational.  For example,

“I haven’t got enough money,” becomes, “I have got enough money for my needs.”

Or

“It’s alright for some,” might be reframed to say, “What’s alright for some is alright for me too.”

We seem to reserve our strongest beliefs for those who are richest. What do you say about those who are very wealthy? Would you like to be really rich too? Is it OK to be rich only in certain circumstances? What does that say about your view of being or becoming rich?

What does money mean to you? Try taking a sheet of paper and brainstorming this by just writing words which reflect your beliefs about money.

MONEY =        freedom                      choice              consequences              fun

Sacrifice          pleasure                      pressure          impact on others

decisions

Does thinking about money give feelings of pain or pleasure?

Next time we will try to pin point which financial personality type you are, by uncovering your deep seated FEELINGS about money.

Wealth Health #2: Financial Clarity

In this second part of my ‘Wealth Health’ series, I want to continue to focus on the reality of your financial situation. If you got through all the ‘Questions to Ask Yourself’ in Part 1, then you may have already started taking some action to clarify things. So much the better if you have!

Another way of looking at the reality of your personal finances might be to carry out a SWOT analysis of your current situation. For those who haven’t seen this before, it is a very common business planning tool which can be adapted to a wide variety of situations – including personal finances. SWOT = Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. In his book You and Your Money, Alvin Hall gives the following clear example:

STRENGTHS                                                    WEAKNESSES

Good spending habits                                        Bad spending habits

Knowledge of financial situation                          Emotions/thoughts (e.g. shame,  fear, anger)

Earning capacity                                               Lack of financial knowledge

 

OPPORTUNITIES                                             THREATS

Inheritance                                                      Lack of cash

Promotion                                                       Interest rate increases

Renegotiating Interest Payments                       Possible redundancy

 

This could be written into a grid of 4 boxes (2×2), or you could use the four headings written at the top of four pieces of paper and then add your own notes and ideas. Remember that as before, this exercise is for you alone, so be true to yourself when completing it.

While working through this task, you could start to ask yourself about your attitude to money and finances. What are your beliefs about money? This will be the subject of part 3, when we will look at some of your deeply-held beliefs and feelings regarding money.

In the meanwhile you can follow my tweets for tips, quotes and more questions regarding your personal or business finances. Be sure to also follow my #WealthWealth and #WedsWisdom hashtags!

Wealth Health #1

I am writing this on ‘Blue Monday’. Statistically-speaking, today is apparently the most depressing day of the year. A major contributor to the cloud of angst hanging over the day is that, by now, you will have started to hear the heavy thud of overloaded credit card statements landing on the doormat. Christmas has been and gone, but the overspending is just now becoming a reality.

In these austere times, if we are going to remain financially solid, then we need to develop an awareness about our relationship with money. Over the coming weeks I will attempt to light the path to financial health and wellbeing. We will develop an awareness of your current financial reality, examine your beliefs about money, uncover your financial personality and then set some financial goals.

I am not a financial advisor and so will not be telling you what to do with your money. That is quite rightly the job of qualified and regulated professionals. What I hope to achieve is to leave you with a much better understanding of your finances and some options with which to arm yourself before talking to any financial professionals.

The Financial Journey

For many the gulf between their financial reality and their financial ideals is vast. When asked about ideals for the future, many people will say “financial freedom”, but do we really know what that means to each of us? Vagueness about the future often comes from only having a vague understanding of the current reality, so let’s start there.

Financial freedom starts with clarity about your current financial situation.

Ask yourself these questions, but be honest. You don’t have to justify your answers to anyone but yourself. You may have learned to describe a brand new shiny pair of shoes as “What, those old things?” and get away with it, but here you need to be honest with yourself.

1. Who takes responsibility for managing the finances in your household?

2. Can you easily lay your hands on all your financial information?

3. How are decisions about major purchases or investments made in your household?

4. How much debt does your household have?

5. What percentage of your household expenditure is allocated to debt repayment each month?

6. How long will it take to clear your household debt (excluding mortgage) at your current monthly repayments?

7. If you are in a shared financial relationship, do you hold individual investments or is everything joint or in you partners name?

8. Are you planning/hoping for an inheritance or windfall to provide for your retirement?

9. If you have a mortgage, what interest rate are you paying?

10. If you have a credit card debt, what interest rate is your lender charging you?

11. How many months’ safety/emergency money do you have easily access to?

12. If you were fired or couldn’t work tomorrow, how long could you live before running out of money?

13. What does APR mean?

14. What is compound interest and why is it so powerful?

15. At what age do you plan to retire?

16. How much are you saving for your retirement each month/year?

17. Have you ever tracked all of your spending for a month?

18. Does the thought of tracking your spending frighten you?

19. Do you ever lie about how much things cost?

20. Do you ever hide new things and pretend you’ve had them for ages?

21. Do you know the level of life assurance you should have and have you bought an appropriate policy?

22. Do you have a will?

23. Does the word ‘SALE’ in a shop window act on you like an aphrodisiac?

24. Do your purchases just seem to happen, or do you plan ahead before going shopping?

25. Do you order takeaway when you have the ingredients to cook at home?

26. Have you ever left your credit card at home on purpose and gone shopping only with cash?

27. Does the possibility of accumulating money excite you?

28. Do you keep the money in your savings account sacred and use only you current account for living expenses?

29. Do you put money in your savings account before you buy those little treats each month?

30. Have you set yourself an annual savings target and do you stick to it?

31. If you are in a shared-finances relationship, do you avoid talking to your partner about money, because “it’s too stressful”?

32. Do you expect the Government to cover all of your Health and Welfare costs into your dotage?

33. Do you think you are too young, or too old, to start contributing to a pension scheme?

34. Do you know how much those shop-bought coffees add up to every week?

In part 2 we’ll look at what your answers mean and examine your beliefs about money. If you have Twitter, you can follow all of my finance-related Tweets at #WealthHealth!