MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Your Money or Your Life - What’s Your Choice?

Mark Zaifman   |    Mon, Sep 26, 2011 @ 03:18 PM

creating balance in life

Next time you’re stuck at the airport on a business trip or sitting in traffic on the way to or from work, ask yourself this question. If given a choice between a higher quality of life vs. a higher standard of living, which option would I choose?

As we move into a global economy that moves faster and faster and becomes ever more competitive, the question of your money or your life will become ever more relevant. That’s because the financial pressures will continue to increase as will the demands on your time.

A Balancing Act

Striking a balance between work and play used to be a lot easier.  Although this has traditionally been a struggle for most people, now it seems harder than ever. And with a sagging global economy and a roller coaster stock market thrown in the mix, finding time to just clear your head and think about your future is a daunting challenge.

For all the amazing benefits financial planning brings to people lives, perhaps one of the least understood yet most powerful outcomes is giving yourself the freedom and space needed to step back from your day to day routines and check in with yourself.

Although this seems like such an easy exercise to perform, with busy lives and demanding careers, it’s easier said than done. Usually a task like this gets put on that elusive to-do list, never to be seen from again. And before you know it, 10 or 20 years goes by like the blink of an eye. Yet taking the time this year or even next year to stop, slow down and assess where you are and where you’re headed can reap enormous dividends if done well and with unabashed self-honesty.

Invest Time in the Design of Your Life

One of my new (and favorite) clients this year decided that he and his wife were going to get their financial house in order. After we completed the development of their comprehensive financial plan, they arranged their 1st financial planning summit meeting. No kids, just the two of them.

They headed out for the beautiful Sonoma Coast and booked a room overlooking the Pacific Ocean for the weekend. This is a very busy couple with two young ones at home. He’s a physician and she’s a nurse, so spare time is a precious commodity. Yet without much encouragement needed, they decided they would devote a weekend to discussing their life plan - where they are and where they’re headed.

Share a Little Magic

This 2-day life planning summit/conversation/off-site is the opportunity for you and your significant other to get on the same page when it comes to your money and your life. By being away from the pressures of your day-to-day lives and spending time in a place of natural beauty, you’ll allow your imagination to wander and open the door for sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings.

It’s when you both give yourself permission to dream, again, that magic can happen. So whether this year or next year, invest the time in holding a financial planning off-site for a weekend. Call it a summit, a meeting, or whatever, but as the saying goes - just do it.

photo by aeu04117