Are “Goals” In Financial Planning Helpful Or Hurtful?

In an effort to inspire clients and prospective clients to action in the realm of financial planning, we see an endless stream of commercials featuring exotic golf courses, beaches, sailboats, and marine mammals. Words like “hopes,” “dreams,” and “passions,” are often invoked. And for the smaller subset of people in this world who regularly use these terms, such a reference might be helpful.

But what about for the rest of us?

In reality, many of these words fall on deaf ears because of a lack of resonance—because they seem a bit more sensational than the reality we’re pursuing. Even common phrases like “estate planning” and “wealth management” can feel distant to people with millions in assets because they still don’t feel like the words “estate” and “wealth” really apply to them.

Heck, even some of the most common words referenced in financial planning—like “values” and “goals”—aren’t exactly every-day language for most. Could you imagine your crazy uncle busting out a “mission statement” while getting a third helping of stuffing at your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner?

Let’s be clear: There is nothing wrong with the utilization of any of these terms and phrases. Indeed, many of them are well applied in the practice of financial life planning. But we must recognize two things about the language of financial planning:

1) Different words will motivate different people differently.

2) Words…

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