As financial advisors, my team and I go well beyond just the numbers when leading and providing oversight and guidance to our clients. That’s because your life is about more than just money. It’s a given that we provide top-notch planning and investment management, but if we’re not also helping to improve our clients’ lives, the best-laid plan and money management don’t matter.
We take financial planning further. Yes, we help you secure your long-term financial future, but we also make sure your right-now life is what you want it to be. We look at your big-picture goals and find ways for you to live some of your retirement dreams now. Let’s talk about how we do that.
What Do You Want Your Life To Look Like?
Financial conversations can often be left-brain dominant. But since money impacts every area of your life, it’s critical that financial discussions also include your hopes and dreams for life. That means we need to dig into the emotional side of our thinking where decisions are actually made.
One simple example of how we help clients improve their lives is by guiding them to uncover their specific desires for quality of life, which include tangible goals (what would you like to have?), conceptual goals (what would you like your life to be like?), and freedom goals (what would you like to be able to do?).
Oftentimes, the busyness of work and family gets in the way of actually fulfilling some of these lifestyle objectives. We often ask our clients to share their definition of work–life balance and gauge whether or not they have achieved it, and the answers can be eye-opening. Many people don’t even know where to begin when faced with the above questions and will sometimes provide a surface answer, such as “I’d like to travel” or “I’d like to spend more time with my family.” These are great starts, but we need to go deeper to get to the core of what will truly enhance your life, looking at the why behind what it is you want to do.
In exploring the questions and exercises that would help us have more meaningful conversations with our clients and get them on the path to living their ideal life, I started by asking these questions and doing these exercises myself. I brainstormed a list of all of my values and beliefs and eventually narrowed it down to my top five. Three of the top five were adventure, freedom, and family.
Principle In Action
As you can imagine, with COVID-19 upending all our lives last spring, it also impinged heavily upon these three values. My wife and I began looking for ways to creatively and safely travel during those uncertain times, which led us to look into RVs and eventually renting a camper van.
We spent five days exploring and camping in small mountain towns in western North Carolina and loved the freedom and adventure it provided. It was also important for us to have our kids spend more time outside in nature—just like we did as kids. Some of our adventures included zip-lining, rafting, and exploring the many waterfalls in the area. Our evenings back at the campground included swimming at the campground pool, which both of my kids (ages 13 and 7) looked forward to every night. After dinner and our swim, we rode bikes, built a campfire, and roasted marshmallows to make smores.
Wanting to continue our adventures of exploring not only NC but other states as well, my wife and I researched the feasibility of purchasing a camper van. As a frugal person in general, let alone a financial advisor, I wanted to ensure that it wouldn’t impact us negatively from a financial standpoint or hinder our regular monthly savings contributions. With that in mind, I began to explore the option of renting out the van while we weren’t using it. It turns out there are various websites, like rvshare.com and outdoorsy.com, that make it easy to rent out your camper van and cover the monthly costs.
Although we chose the camper van route to realize some of our lifestyle objectives, another creative option could include renting a house or condo for a month, or even the summer, at your favorite travel destination. I also have a client who is currently exploring a locum tenens in another country, something he and his wife originally thought was only reserved for their retirement years. With the rise of remote working over the past year, it’s become more acceptable and doable to work from anywhere, so why not live part of your retirement dream now?
What Are Your Dreams?
All this to say…what are some of your dreams that you can start pursuing now? What action steps do you need to take to make them a reality? What are the reasons and values behind what you want your life to look like? You may be surprised to realize that some of your goals can be accomplished sooner rather than later. If you would like help diving into the questions that will help you lead a fulfilling life or help you think outside the box, schedule an introductory phone call using our online calendar or reach out to us at (704) 276-7325 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re an existing client and would like to dig deeper into this conversation, let us know.
Todd Calamita is the founder and managing principal of Calamita Wealth Management, an independent, fee-only wealth management company located in Charlotte, NC, serving people locally and across the country, that focuses on providing wealth management solutions to affluent individuals over age 50 and their families. Todd has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is passionate about helping people have a better life by designing and implementing customized financial plans that bring clarity and confidence. Todd is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™(CFP®) and CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST® (CDFA®) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ohio University and a Master of Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He has authored a book, Plan Smart: Conquering 10 Common Money Traps, as well as numerous articles on wide-ranging personal finance topics, from taxes to retirement accounts. He has also been featured in a Financial Boot Camp TV series as a volunteer showing people how to make smart decisions with their money. When he’s not working, you can find Todd spending time with his wife, Teresa, and their two sons, Colin and Cameron. He enjoys rock climbing, swimming, and traveling, and he has a black belt in Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art. To learn more about Todd, connect with him on LinkedIn.