How would you describe your relationship with money?
Money can’t buy you love. It’s as cliché as a cliché can be, and so it is also mostly true.
Trying to buy love, or buy happiness, is a fool’s errand. But, as with most things in life, the relationship between love, happiness, peace of mind – take your pick – and money is complicated. Money can’t buy you any of those things off a shelf. But without a healthy relationship with money and an understanding of money’s role in your life, happiness will be hard to find. As financial planners, what we’re really trying to do is help people find that healthy relationship.
What do you really love?
Stop and think about what really makes you happy. What do you really love? Or, perhaps more importantly, what would make you happy if you could just find a way to do it? Is it spending more time with your family? Traveling the world? Learning to read Latin and produce a new translation of The Aeneid? Living alone in a cabin on the side of a pond for two years?
What is holding you back from being truly happy?
Now think about what prevents you from pursuing that happiness. Is it a simple matter of having time? Or having the freedom to just up and leave your job? Do you have obligations to support your family?
In one way or another, almost every objection to pursuing your passion devolves into a code word for money, at least in part.
Do you want the freedom to move to Paraguay for half the year? Well, you’d lose your job.
Do you want to take the time to learn Latin? Well, it’s hard if your job requires that you grade these papers tonight and get up in the morning and go over lecture notes before your first coffee.
Finding the Balance
Don’t get me wrong. We’re not going to tell you to quit your job tomorrow, pack up, and go sit on a beach or build that cabin in the woods. But what we hope to do is help you find that balance where your pursuit of money has meaning and is tied to the activities and ideas about which you have passion and energy. Life is short. How we spend our time needs to be connected to the things we love and want to do and be to make it fulfilling and meaningful.
Improving Your Relationship With Money
Let’s switch gears and look at the problem from the other side: Stop and think about what causes frustration in your life.
Where does stress (bad stress, anyway – there can be good stress, too) come from? We live in a complex world that moves fast. How do you save for retirement (and what does retirement even mean?) while you need to save for college, pay for band camp, and buy groceries for dinner?
Speaking of dinner, if you’re exhausted at the end of the day can’t you just buy take-out instead? There are many priorities chasing your time and your money, and sorting those priorities out requires more time and more knowledge.
As financial planners, we want to sit at that junction where your time, money, and happiness come together. We hope to help our clients identify and go after the things that bring them happiness and love by removing money obstacles, sorting out priorities, and identifying prudent financial actions to make all these things happen.
Getting the Guidance You Need
Sometimes it’s as simple as helping clients understand where their money and time are going so that they can make proactive changes. Often, we are helping to quantify how much should be going into retirement savings as opposed to college savings, or even savings at all. We can help you understand where that balance is between living for today and still being prudent about tomorrow. And while we can’t help you purchase love and happiness off the shelf, we can help you free up time and money to find those things that create happiness.
About Shotwell Rutter Baer
Shotwell Rutter Baer is proud to be an independent, fee-only registered investment advisory firm. This means that we are only compensated by our clients for our knowledge and guidance — not from commissions by selling financial products. Our only motivation is to help you achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. By structuring our business this way we believe that many of the conflicts of interest that plague the financial services industry are eliminated. We work for our clients, period.
Click here to learn about the Strategic Reliable Blueprint, our financial plan process for your future.
Call us at 517-321-4832 for financial and retirement investing advice.