This is going to be a little bit different today.

I tried so hard to write this article. I have three different drafts that are 80% written. But they all fell flat. None of them conveyed the excitement that I truly feel about this. So I recorded the article. And I got Jordan to join me. Because it’s a process we both went through separately and then together and it’s a process that we’ve both learned so much from.

Financial Life Planning: What we did and what we learned

Have you ever asked, “what do I want to do with my life?”

I used to ask that weekly. For years. It wasn’t really healthy. I had ideas but nothing really ever felt right.

Six-ish months ago, Jordan and I went through a process called “Financial Life Planning” created by George Kinder. It consisted of a series of questions (there are 3 very important, main questions) to help us listen to our inner voices, identify our values, and create a vision for how we want to live now and in the future. After that, we identified obstacles to this vision that are preventing us from living it right now and did a bit of number crunching to help us figure out the money side of things.

This process was amazing. Even the word “amazing” sells it short.

The concept behind financial life planning is that you plan your life first and your money second. In doing this you create a vision for the life you want to live now or in the near future and then figure out how to create a financial plan that makes it happen.

This reframe has changed how we spend and save our money and our time.

Kinder has created a full website to help with life planning and has written a book (which I’ve read!), but to get you started easily here are the three questions that are most crucial to this process:

Question 1
Imagine you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. How would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams. Describe a life that is complete and richly yours.
Question 2
Now imagine that you visit your doctor, who tells you that you have only 5-10 years to live. You won’t ever feel sick, but you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life and how will you do it? (Note that this question does not assume unlimited funds.)
Question 3
Finally, imagine that your doctor shocks you with the news that you only have 24 hours to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?
 

Take a listen to the audio “article” above and set aside a time to go through these questions yourself. Once you do, I’d love to know if you found it as motivating and life-changing as we did!

Erica Gellerman Bio The Worth Project

Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project: personal finance and family travel. website. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom, and Lifehacker. When she's not writing about personal finance you can find Erica exploring Europe from her temporary home base in London.

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