“Plan Well – Live Well in 2021”
While January is a natural time to re-evaluate your financial plan, it feels especially crucial in January of 2021.
Hallett Advisors’ motto is “Plan Well. Live Well.” While we strive to carry out this mission in all the work we do with clients, the meaning of this motto has never been more relevant or poignant as we reflect on the challenges of 2020 and prepare for an uncertain future.
Holistic financial planning (Plan Well) is crucial as we all face an uncertain economy, market volatility, job insecurity, rising fixed expenses, family members needing support, health scares, loss of loved ones, rising education costs, and the possibility of higher income and estate taxes.
However, the Live Well aspect of our mission arguably outweighs the Plan Well aspect. If our work doesn’t help you accomplish your goals or find greater happiness – then we have failed. The crucible of 2020 forced us all to focus on what really matters. Life slowed down. Bad things happened. Suppressed issues rose to the surface. Certainties became unknowns. We all had the time and motivation to re-evaluate our lives and lifestyles.
What are your post-2020 goals, dreams, and values? Do you have a new or reinvigorated Purpose in life? What does it mean to Live Well?
Your financial plan should support the life you want to live. True financial planning is really life planning.
I encourage you to think beyond mere financial “objectives.” What is your ultimate endstate? What does happiness mean to you? Here are some examples:
Standard goal: “Save enough for retirement.”
The same goal through a personalized Live Well lens:
Standard dreams are long-term, constantly delayed, and often ephemeral.
Through a Live Well lens, we strive to find ways to accelerate and implement your dreams. Has the experience of 2020 crystallized a dream or created an urgency to live your life to the fullest? Whether it’s buying an RV, international travel, quitting your job, starting a new career, buying that sports car, or philanthropic giving – we’re here to re-assess your personal finances and create or revise a holistic financial plan.
Traditionally, financial advisors don’t discuss aligning your finances with your personal values.
Through a Live Well lens, we believe that aligning your finances with your values leads to greater personal satisfaction and can increase your impact. Your values drive your goals and dreams, so values should actually be the foundation of any financial plan. For example, your values can help clean up your budget – use them as a guide to cut out extraneous expenses and spend more on your passions. Can you maximize your charitable giving by adjusting your budget or more proactive tax planning? Do you want to divest of certain companies or overweight investments in certain sectors or causes? We can help.
January is also an appropriate time to re-assess another element of your financial plan: your “human capital.”
As a holistic planning firm, we strive to go beyond mere “investable assets.” One aspect that we consider during the planning process is human capital. In fact, you are arguably your own greatest “asset.”
The first aspect of human capital is your ability to generate income. Are you maximizing your earning potential? Is your career progressing appropriately? Do you need additional education or skills? Should you change companies or careers? Should you add a “side gig” to increase income? On the other hand, maybe it is more valuable for one spouse to quit a job due to taxes, child care expenses, or family care-giving needs.
The second aspect of human capital is your physical, mental, and emotional health. Are you maintaining or improving your health (to increase happiness and decrease medical expenses)? Are you making good lifestyle decisions? Can you eliminate sources of stress?
The final aspect of human capital is your happiness and well-being. We all know there is more to life than money. However, we get distracted by unexpected events, stress, and “life.” How can you adjust your finances, commitments, and schedules to spend more time with family, accomplish a goal, or pursue a passion? What change can you make today to Live Well?
Planning for the Future
Hopefully we can use the experiences of 2020 to forge a better future. As you re-evaluate your goals, dreams, and values, let us know how we can help. If you know someone striving to improve their financial resiliency or make a greater impact, we can be a resource. If you have an example of how to Live Well right now – please share!