Financial Planning: A means to an end
What Are Your Own Possibilities?
Sometimes, the pursuit of wealth can leave a void in our lives—a place left empty because we lacked the energy or time to pursue a dream. There is a saying: “Wealth is not an end, it is a means to an end.” The problem is that the complexity of creating wealth and the subsequent financial planning often gets in the way of seeing and pursuing an end truly aligned with your highest purpose in life.
My life’s work has been focused on this critical unmet need. I hope to help people see the possibilities that open up once you escape from the chaos and confusion that characterize so much of the wealth management field today. I absolutely know it is possible to put a large portion of wealth management on automatic; I have built the system, structure, support and discipline to achieve this; and I’ve seen how using these benefits helps people define and achieve their highest ambitions. This approach is both effective and rewarding.
Clients are surprised sometimes when I ask them about their higher purpose and possibilities. It is not that they feel I’m prying; they just don’t expect an advisor to be concerned with such matters. I tell them that these are the most important questions for them to consider when it comes to financial planning.
On the practical side, wealth needs a purpose the way a compass needs a magnetic field. The whole enterprise of managing wealth must be pointed in some direction and have a goal that inspires and justifies the effort. If there is no goal or the goal is not inspiring, it is hard to summon the energy and commitment that wealth mastery requires. Also, I find that by opening up the horizon of higher purpose, clients become more eager to hand over tasks that are easy to automate and delegate. When any of us hit a ceiling, one powerful technique for breaking through the ceiling is to figure out what can be let go. The better you get at defining and pursuing your higher purpose, the more you can see that wealth management is something that needs to be done, but not by you.
Beyond these practical concerns, there is still the much larger, more vital question of purpose. Since wealth is a means to an end, that end lies elsewhere. The journey to master wealth should begin with this higher end sharply in focus.
How can financial planning influence your life goals? Or, how can your life goals influence your financial planning?
A friend of mine who has a Ph.D. in philosophy notes that there is a very large distinction between “freedom from” and “freedom for.” Sometimes, when I hear people discuss what financial freedom means to them, it is clear they’re thinking primarily in terms of freedom from.
They would like to be free from anxiety over money, free from reliance on others for their income or security, and free from any type of work they find tedious or stressful. These are perfectly understandable, reasonable and achievable desires, but the greater value of wealth lies in freedom for, not freedom from. Discovering what you stand for and what you are working for is essential in life. It is equally essential in wealth management.
What is your highest purpose in life? Can you think of five regrets you would not want to have with you at the end of your life? What can you begin doing today, and every day going forward, to erase these potential regrets and turn them into sources of great satisfaction? This is one of many ways to get in touch with what is most important to you.
What haven’t you done that you have always wanted to do, and still can do if you set your mind to it? Are there experiences, hobbies, activities, or causes that interest you? These may be rich areas of personal, intellectual, or spiritual growth that you can pursue now or in the near future.
Many experts on happiness say that the deepest and most enduring fulfillment comes from making meaningful contributions to others. Who are the most important people in your life, in your community, and in the world as you see it? What contributions would make you feel that the world is a better place for your having lived?
My purpose in life is helping other people to reach their potential by making wealth a source of strength and peace of mind. It is my privilege and pleasure to work each day with highly successful people, and to complement their existing strengths with my own financial planning expertise and the wonderful team and organization I have assembled. I love the “Ah ha!” moment people have when they get a clearer look at their finances than they have ever seen before. I love the smiles and satisfaction they share when they see old weaknesses turned into strengths. The thing I love most is helping people reach a new level, as their growing strength allows them to spread their wings and take off in new and exciting directions. My aim is to do this for every client, and, if given the opportunity, for every client’s family to make financial strength an enduring gift and legacy.
Joseph J. Janiczek is the founder of Janiczek Wealth Management. This article is adapted from his book, Investing from a Position of Strength.