Taking the mystery out of financial life planning, not the Magic.
There are four things we can do with our money, we can Owe (debt and taxes) it, Grow (savings and investments) it, Live (spending, lifestyle) it, and Give (charity and family) it to others.
Everything we do with our money can fit into these four quadrants and the focus is placed on maximizing your return on life.
We use these tools in our Financial Life Planning Process as they allow us to incorporate our client’s values in this process. By encouraging our clients to share their stories, we gain a better understanding of their relationship with money and what’s most important to them. This helps direct us in allocating their money to these four areas.
For example, your current annual income may equal $100,000. We input that information along with the dollar value of
- How much you pay in income taxes plus debt payments (OWE)
- How much you are setting aside for savings and investments – cash buffer/emergency fund, retirement savings, education savings (GROW)
- How much are you spending for your lifestyle – food, groceries, dining out, entertainment, gas in your car, car repairs, gifts (LIVE)
- How much money are you giving to family members and/or your favourite charities (GIVE) so we can see what percentage of your income is going where.
The starting point is to see where you’re at now and where you’d like to be, both now and in the future. This process provides us with the opportunity to discuss what you would like to change and how you can make those changes in order to shift the amounts from one area to another. For example shifting what you owe by reducing your debt and reallocating that to savings, lifestyle or both! What changes do you need to make in order to have that happen? You may want to give more to charity and pay less in taxes. What strategies can we use to pursue and achieve those goals?
There are Three Dials that Mitch has developed to demonstrate some very important points and considerations within this model.
The First one is the Freedom Dial: The more you owe the less freedom you have in your life and the more you grow your money the more freedom you have in living your life.
The second one is the Comfort Dial: The less you owe the more you can enjoy your life while living it to its fullest.
The third one is the Purpose Dial: What happens over time is this; what gives people purpose and meaning is less focussed on lifestyle and the focus often shifts to helping family members and giving to charity; making a difference in the world and in the lives of others.
Using visuals and models helps engage us in gaining a much better understanding of our current situation, along with where we’d like to go as part of our financial life planning journey. Figuring out where you want to go and how you want to get there as part of your life journey includes accessing the tools available to help figure out what’s going to work best for you.
We encourage you to think about these concepts; especially given this is Financial Literacy month in Canada and the theme is: “Take charge of your finances: It pays to know!”
Written by Betty-Anne Howard with Mitch Anthony as part of Financial Literacy Month. We both believe strongly in empowering people, families and organizations by providing easy to understand information so you can make informed decisions about your financial future.