Habit Binge

Steve Conley: The rise of whole-person planning post-Covid

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Have you found that suddenly everyone is rethinking everything – jobs, lifestyle, partners, where they live? Has the pandemic created a sense of urgency to address issues in life people really want to change?

Do you agree that people are lost in figuring out how they might change? It takes a year-plus and needs to be well thought through – and what impact will change have on their future finances?

Perhaps you are following the pre-pandemic review process reassuring clients that their finances are on track, only to find that the client has moved the track with a new life plan.

Possibly, your client is questioning whether to remain working towards the happy retirement, and instead wants happiness now. The long hours, the commute, the stress are no longer worth it. The haven job turned out to be not so safe, and that wasn’t the deal.

Maybe, the frugal living and extreme saving strategy to financial independence retired earlier is burnt up by the need for more health and happiness. The true cost to a young family stinting in those early years revealed.

Potentially, priorities have changed, and you are finding that more wealth is less important, and health and happiness are more important.

If you think priorities have changed, picture this: You give your client a plan for health and happiness from today, with a forecast of sufficient wealth for a lifetime.

The client does what they are good at, they love, the world needs, and they get paid for. Work that doesn’t feel like work, work that creates an annuity from which they never wish to retire.

Imagine you provide your client with a strategy to create passive income. To move from exchanging their time for money, to exchanging their knowhow. They can spend more time improving health and happiness.

What if you planned wealth, health, and happiness – the whole person?

If wealth planning is where you are and wealth, health, and happiness planning is where you want to be, then I’m sure you would agree – you need a new approach.

It’s important because, wealth accumulation strategies now need to include immediate health and happiness. These considerations can no longer be deferred to later life.

The wealthy got wealthier during the Covid-19 pandemic. Perhaps they are less healthy or happy? Expenditure lines fell. Surplus income was not so easy to spend on luxuries. Travel, holidays, shopping trips, eating out, spa days, sports events, concerts. Maybe your client no longer has to work so hard, for so long.

Non-financial things have suddenly become more important. Clients want purposeful living, a reason to get up in the morning more than to binge watch daytime TV. They want social bubbles, not social isolation. They want to learn new skills and avoid stress. They want to lose the “Covid stone” and enjoy good health.

Now’s the time because people have taken time out to think things through and are looking to build back better for themselves and their families.

Now you can help them make more informed decisions with “what if” scenarios on a lifetime wealth forecast. Showing them the impact change has on their finances both now, and in future.

People realise that poor life choices could mean the difference between a few years of passive retirement and a few decades of active retirement.

Stephen R. Covey explains the whole person paradigm in his book The 8th Habit, first published in 2006. He shows you how to plan a life of physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual wellbeing. Then you put in place the financial architecture to support it.

Steve Conley is chief executive at the Academy of Life Planning

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