1 Timothy 6:17-19
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
“I wanted to retire early!” There have been many times throughout my career where I’ve heard this response. It’s usually in response to a question like “What are your financial goals?” or “What does your ideal financial future look like?” Sometimes I’ll get the “I don’t know.” Response as well. With those two responses in mind, how can we tell if we’ve been successful in our financial lives?
With one response being extremely vague and the other being “I don’t know.”, is it even possible to determine whether or not we’re successful? With retirement being an undetermined amount of time from now, one might believe that this must be set in stone first before anything else. Changing “I don’t know.” to “Possibly…” may also be something that most would want to attack first. My perspective may blow your mind.
What if I were to tell you that you don’t have to have either of these answers before being able to measure financial success? What if I told you that you could be closer to financial success than you think or you might already be there and just didn’t know it?
Many people in the “Financial Advice” industry love to show off their financial planning “expertise” by using industry jargon or fancy Financial Planning tools that spit out 60+ page reports. They lean on these tools to justify their worth and why you can’t live without them. I know because I used to be one of “Those Guys”. I used to believe that having the superior firm or tools at my disposal was what clients needed to have all their financial concerns addressed. I’d show all sorts of charts and graphs only to see the eyes of my client’s eyes glaze over in confusion.
Sure, these fancy printouts gave tons of information but what they didn’t do was address two questions. First, how is the client feeling about where they are now? Yes, you have to start from what they are doing now but the focus was on the future. At some point, you will be financially successful. But what about now? Second, are they already successful? Does the client just need to be shown that they are already successful or in other words, do they have enough?
It has been my experience that often, success is determined more by perspective than reality. We’re told that you must have a certain number to have a good retirement. Or that if you save a higher enough dollar amount in the bank then all your financial concerns will go away. The problem is that this advice is more often compared to someone else’s financial situation and not based on your situation.
Here are some questions that we can ask ourselves about our financial situation:
- Are my and my family’s needs provided for?
- Am I able to give to others in need?
- How would having more money bring joy to those closest to me?
- Is my “happiness” dictated by the amount of money I have?
As you can see, these questions move the focus from money itself to something intangible but more valuable.
This is one thing I love most about doing what I do. I truly enjoy helping people see that they may not be as bad off as they think. That they have things that are more valuable than money or possessions. I love the look in the eyes of those sitting across the desk from me when they realize that they’ve been looking at money wrong all along. With just a major perspective change and some minor behavioral changes, they are closer to financial success than they thought.
Don’t get me wrong, money is important. It’s so important that we keep a proper perspective. We also must recognize when things are better than we thought or that we have enough. We live in a society where we always must chase after more and living in the present means you’re falling behind. What you have now is not enough because your neighbor has more. I’m here to say that maybe, just maybe you have all you need and a little left over to help others.
If you want to know if you’re “OK” or how you can be, we’d love to talk.
OneAscent Financial Services, LLC (“OAFS”), d/b/a Provident Oak Financial, is a registered investment adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. OAFS does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by OAFS or any unaffiliated third party. OAFS is neither an attorney nor accountant, and no portion of the presented content should be interpreted as legal, accounting, or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.