One of the challenges facing financial planning is that, as useful as it is, it has an inevitably boring vibe. Sure, the big financial companies have tried to wrap it up in a veneer of golf courses, sailboats, and sea mammals, but beneath the surface are spreadsheets, assignments, illustrations, and boilerplate plans that lack a certain… je ne sais quoi.

It’s a challenge that even we as financial planners face. In a recent conversation with my colleague and friend about his own planning, one of the best advisers I know chuckled through an apparent financial goal footnote: a genius idea of ​​owning a food truck on the beach with his favorite cuisine. When I asked him to tell me more about it, he replied, “Well, I’m not No serious about it.”

As we dug a little deeper, I came to believe that this was precisely the kind of goal that, while seemingly small and unserious, could infuse your entire financial plan with a thread of vibrant color. While all of his goals, most of which were in service to his family, community, and work team, were deliberate and purposeful, the food truck was the one that put a smile on his face. The one who revealed the fullness of his personality. The one that made his financial plan truly unique and different from other successful plans.

So what’s that “no”? No serious” that would make your financial planning more… you? What is the goal, big or small, that puts a smile on your face, that you almost have to laugh when you say it out loud?

For one of my clients, renting a Slingshot trike for a week to scratch that itch. On the other hand, he was taking the sabbatical that would allow him to finally write that book. On the other hand, she was withdrawing from a successful but stressful career to fulfill a dream of teaching at the university level. On one hand, it was about downsizing the primary residence and buying a beach house, while on the other hand, it was about selling the beach house to spend more time with the grandkids.

Hedge fund manager and author Bill Perkins is regularly asked by media friends, “Is this a good investment?” His response will almost certainly surprise: “Forget about the money… and let’s talk about what you’re going to get.”

Perkins suggests that “life is the sum of our experiences” and insists that the sole purpose of money is to finance those experiences. Yes, we can use money for live today, we can grow our money to finance our tomorrow, we can choose to give our money to others, and we can dedicate a part of our capital to protect all of those other goals, but ultimately it’s all in service of funding experiences.

Perkins implores us to consider not only our Return on Equity, but also our Return on Equity. Experience—because when the money goes, it goes, but the memories derived from the experiences pay dividends compounded in perpetuity. He says there’s nothing special about earning an extra 3%, especially if you’re already on the right track financially, but “investing in experiences, on the other hand, could really change your life.” And the lives of those you love, I will add.

Therefore, I invite you to consider how your financial planning might change if you looked at it through the human lens of living, growing, giving, and protecting in order to maximize your life experiences. Or start even simpler:

What is one goal you could consider and/or discuss with your financial advisor that could fall into the “no No seriously” to make your financial plan more interesting?

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