August 18, 2014
We have all dreamed about it. What would I do if I won the lottery? Mr. George and his family in Rifle get to answer that question in a big way. For the rest of us, we may be the recipients of other financial windfalls during our lives.
Whatever the sum involved, the impact on one's psyche and spirit cannot be undervalued. Whether in the form of an inheritance, insurance settlement, business sale, divorce, or lottery, there are determining factors in whether you blossom and build on this windfall or end up worse off than before.
First and foremost, we need to manage the emotions. If it is an expected event, you have time to assimilate what this transition will look like. But for some, it is a freight train that screeches to a stop at your front door. Time and space to process the gamut of emotions which range from numbness, elation, fear, distrust, guilt, possibly even shame is necessary in handling newly acquired wealth wisely. It is important to identify these emotions and move through them in a healthy way. Do not make any immediate decisions based solely on your feelings.
Stay connected to your values. The world will throw an arsenal of enticements at you. It is imperative that you know to the core what is important to you and not let money get in the way of it. Step away from the chatter, take a deep breath and do some meaningful reflection. It is vital to know who you are, how you feel and where you want to go.
Asking for directions is a good thing. You are in new, unchartered territory, heading to an important destination. When you are traveling, it is easy to ask Siri how to get from point A to B. From personal experience — sometimes it works, other times, the destination was not at all what we had requested. Pick your counsel of advisors prudently. You will need legal, tax and financial advice that is deep and broad in scope. You may also want to have a good therapist to walk alongside you through the emotional side. Build a team that works together for your benefit.
The precepts of life planning and financial planning converge to create beautiful harmony. Unless you define your life goals based on who you are and what is important to you, you will feel unfulfilled with pure numbers crunching and monitoring account balances. Author John Wasik in his book "The Late-Start Investor" encourages people to create a "flexible life plan that provides for financial, vocational, physical, emotional and spiritual needs" and explains "Unless you look at your future holistically, merely saving up a pile of money will be a meaningless act." Thomas J. Stanley, author of "The Millionaire Mind" points out that the most satisfied wealthy people have more than financial goals, they have intrinsic life goals.
Keep dreaming! Create your "bliss list." If money were no object, what would you have or do for yourself, your family, your community or world at large? I encourage you not to look only at what you could afford, but what would add meaning, purpose and fulfillment to your life. Look deep into your heart. What cause fires you up? What in life ignites your passion? Let these dreams be the foundation for your financial choices in the area of earning, giving, saving and spending. Then, if or when you receive a windfall, no matter how large or small, you are much more likely to blossom and grow from the experience. Let me know if I can help!
Danielle Howard is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ practitioner. Wealth By Design, LLC, her financial life planning office is located in Basalt where they take a personal interest in your financial well-being. Visit her at http://www.wealthbydesign4u.com or call 927-3909. Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., A Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.