Dreams of Wealth

Look beyond money to find meaning. What do you want from your life? Love, inspiration, connection, security? Getting your finances in order breathes life into people’s stories—their dreams. A little heart and a little math create rich possibilities.  

The Dreams of WealthTM series reflects my thirty years of helping people overcome obstacles to build a life where success is defined by them. Where they create their best lives.

Enjoying your wealth happens from a shift in attitude. It’s colored by the way you view the world. It’s a head game you can win through your heart. Wealth can mean lots of things. Money, sure. Security, yes. But it also means living a life that is rich in meaning and purpose.

If you want to transform your relationship with money, it starts with intent.  Anybody can do it if you have the courage and follow-through to overcome the challenges you’ll undoubtedly meet.

I decided to write four companion books about financial planning. Shorter books are easier to tackle and not everyone needs every topic. Each book focuses on you and what’s important to you. Combined, they serve as a reference library of personal finance topics as seen through the eyes of an experienced financial life planner. Several of the books include a Glossary in case you need help with the terminology. All the books come with a Playlist in Spotify to inspire you as you follow your dreams.

Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is lays the foundation for a journey through personal finance. This book speaks to the philosophy of aligning money and meaning. It also covers organizing your records, envisioning your financial life through a Mind Map, setting meaningful goals, creating a disciplined approach to investment management, understanding retirement vehicles, charitable giving, and how to build an estate plan.

Financial Planning Diagnostics helps you ask the right questions to follow your dreams to financial success.  You’ll find tools to analyze your Net Worth Statement and Tax Return as well as a personal finance self-assessment, budgeting templates, year-end planning guides, and checklists for job loss, divorce, college funding, aging parents, charitable giving, retirement and estate planning.

Financial Planning Literacy opens the door to financial independence. Empowerment through knowledge. Once you know what questions to ask, you need a knowledge base to educate yourself on financial planning topics including risk management, life events, education funding, charitable planning, executive compensation, retirement income streams, tax bracket planning and health care concerns in retirement.

The Financial Bridge focuses on leaving your legacy. Whether through estate planning or charitable giving techniques, you’ll learn more about how to share your dreams of wealth with others. End-of-life planning focuses on what you need to know as you approach the latter years of your life.

Ultimately these books are about you and your own financial journey. Aligning how you manage your money with how you choose to live your life can bring congruence, peace of mind and a sense of well-being. You don’t need a million dollars to do that.

Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

Wealth can mean lots of things. Money, sure. Security, yes. But it also means living a life that is rich in meaning and purpose. If you want to transform your relationship with money, it starts with intention. Anybody can do it if you have the courage and follow-through to overcome the challenges you’ll undoubtedly meet. I want to share not only the technical aspects of building wealth, but also the very human experiences we share along the way. I believe your financial life should reflect your philosophy for all of life.

Stories matter to me. When you listen to people’s stories about what they value in life, it’s about deeper meaning, hopes and dreams.

  • A young man in his 20s putting his life in order so he can propose to his girlfriend and buy her that $15,000 engagement ring.
  • A couple in their 30s trying to prioritize buying a house, starting a college fund for their kids and putting something away for the future.
  • Parents and grandparents trying to sort through what type of college savings plan to use to create opportunities for their kids and grandkids.
  • A successful retired couple in their 70s navigating how much is enough for themselves, their heirs and charities they love.
  • A couple in their 50s planning for a new adventure as they build their dream home in Big Sky country.
  • A couple in their 40s leaving the corporate world as they cash in their equity compensation to find more meaningful work while spending more time with their kids.

These are all dreams of wealth. As an advisor, I have had a uniquely intimate view into the lives of many very successful people. And what I’ve observed is that having more money does not necessarily correlate with having more joy. But when you get financial planning right, it’s the perfect combination of heart, mind and soul.

Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is focuses on what’s truly important, gives you the tools to get organized, shows you how to analyze your financial situation and take the next steps in your own financial journey. By envisioning what you want your money to do, you can find deep satisfaction in how you lead your life. When you know you have everything you truly need and you can extend that sense of fulfillment to enrich the lives of others, you will find a sense of joy. You can choose to do that personally or charitably or perhaps both.

Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is speaks to the philosophy of aligning money and meaning. It introduces several important concepts: organizing your records, envisioning your dreams through a Mind Map, creating a disciplined approach to investment management, understanding retirement vehicles, and how to build an estate plan that leaves your legacy.

Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is goes beyond just number crunching and recognizes the important role you as a person play. I’ve always said financial planning is half number crunching and half psychology. If you don’t have your heart in it, you may amass a lot of money but it might not have the same meaning as it would if it brings you and your loved ones joy. Wealth is about more than just money.

Ultimately this book is about you and your own financial journey. Aligning how you manage your money with how you choose to live your life can bring congruence, peace of mind and a sense of well-being. You don’t need a million dollars to do that.

When you build a financial life that reflects your heart, you honor your soul. You follow your dreams.

Financial Planning Diagnostics

Asking the right questions is critical to thinking through many of life’s challenges and opportunities. Over the years, many people have asked me if there is a resource that might help them as they tackle their own personal finance issues. I’ve developed all kinds of checklists and diagnostics to help me as an advisor be as thorough as possible when serving my clients. Now I want to share that with you. When I was first starting out as an advisor, I had a book of checklists that I found very helpful, especially in special situations.

Financial Planning Diagnostics focuses on asking the right questions and doing some excavation work on your own financial situation. You’ll find tools to help you explore Analyzing Your Net Worth Statement, Mind Map, and Tax Return in more depth.  You’ll also find checklists on budgeting, year-end planning, job loss, divorce, family meetings and much more.

This book is more analytical than the other books in the Dreams of Wealth™ series. Just like a doctor runs a series of tests to understand what the body is telling you, these financial diagnostics tell an advisor (or you, the reader) more about what is going on in your own financial situation. From there we can begin to build a plan to prioritize what needs to be done next. Once you’ve identified your questions, you can find answers through other books in the Dreams of WealthTM series like Financial Planning Literacy. Or working in partnership with your own financial advisor.

Most schools don’t teach financial planning. We learn it by experiencing life. The Dreams of Wealth™ series can help you get organized, envision the future and take your financial planning to the next level. Use this book to get your brain working on what questions are important for exactly where you are in life. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Financial Planning Literacy

Empowerment through knowledge. If we don’t teach it through schools (yet), then we need resources to learn it no matter where we are in life.  We all know teaching someone to read will change their life. That’s true in the financial world too. People are reluctant to admit what they don’t know. But as financial advisors, we have a passion for helping others follow their dreams. Part of that is education. Part is really listening to what people want and need. Part is reading between the lines to see with our hearts as we help others articulate and plan for what they find truly meaningful.

Why talk about money? To me, it isn’t about amassing a great deal of money per se. It’s about using what money represents to feel better about life. Maybe it’s security for you and your family. Maybe it’s being able to afford something that brings you joy. Often it’s to invest in yourself so that you can be of greater service to others through increased skills and abilities.

Can money buy happiness? It all depends how you use it and what you value. That’s why all of the books in the Dreams of Wealth™ series focus on values like appreciating what you already have, finding freedom through controlling your own time, simplifying, and connecting with others. When we spend our time doing what we love, we find happiness. Financial planning is all about understanding how to use money to support those dreams.

Financial planning literacy is about a lot more than number crunching. One thing you may find different about this book—a book about your stories—is that we talk about soul. Because when you listen to people’s stories about what they value in life, it’s about deeper meaning, hopes and dreams. That gets to the heart of soul. Here’s a glimpse at how this looks through my eyes:

  • Listening as a long-time client shares that she has been diagnosed with leukemia. Thinking through what happens to her family over time and what life will look like going forward.
  • Helping a new retiree adjust to a corporate downsizing after forty years of work. Recently he was shown the door—an all too true way of life now for so many.
  • Getting a photo of the birth of a new child and all the joy that the moment brings. Naming the baby after a much-loved grandparent who passed away unexpectedly.

The value of human-to-human relationships where caring and trust are our first priorities make all the difference. Life brings many challenges. Health, financial setbacks, and unbelievable opportunities. I know through experience, that having a large amount of money doesn’t guarantee happiness. It does guarantee a whole new set of challenges. A certain amount of education about how to frame your financial decisions can help.

Financial Planning Literacy expands on the knowledge base you need to educate yourself on a wide expanse of financial planning topics including risk management, life events, education funding, charitable planning, executive compensation, retirement income streams, tax bracket planning, and health care concerns as we age. If you’re ready to take your financial planning to the next level, this book can help you learn more about what you need to know.

While it’s important to organize your financial records and do some analytical work, it’s just as important to surround yourself with what brings you joy. Think about why that’s important. Think about what you want more of and what you want less of. Now let’s go figure out how to change your life for the better. That’s financial planning literacy.

Ready? Let’s start this journey of possibilities. Your life is what you envision it to be—given all the constraints and roadblocks you’ll have to contend with. Look for the joy along the way. It doesn’t have to be in grand gestures. It can be in little simple moments that you don’t want to overlook. I’ll be cheering you on and hoping you find inspiration through compassion, humility and serving others.

The Financial Bridge

The Financial Bridge from this life to the next life is a gift you give to your family. You take the time to put instructions in place so your heirs are not left with a financial mess. On top of grieving.

As financial advisors, we also act as a financial bridge. From you to your family. We are there to support your loved ones as they go through incredibly difficult transitions. To give them peace of mind that at least the financial part of their life is under control.

The final book in the Dreams of Wealth™ series is about leaving a legacy. It focuses on end-of-life issues like planning your estate, better understanding how to share your wealth and how to think about decisions that typically come later  in life.

The concept of a Financial Bridge is that we cross over from this life to the next. No one particularly likes to think about death. That’s what makes this hard sometimes. But you do it for the people you love. The organizations that you want to see live on. Because you know that death is not really the end. In some ways it’s just the beginning.

The Financial Bridge will give you some tools like the Estate Planning Inventory to help with practical solutions so your heirs can find your important documents and passwords. It will help you get organized with your financial records. Anyone who has been an executor or trustee for someone else knows how important this process can be. We even include a template to help care for your pets after you’re gone.

You’ll also find tools for your survivors. We’ll help you think through what you need to do to prepare the way for them. Part of this is an organization exercise. Part of it is looking deep inside your heart about what is truly important to you. It’s how we use our money through our lives that leaves a legacy. It ensures your legacy represents your values and long-held beliefs.

The Financial Bridge will walk you through the things you need to think through. Before you do your estate documents. After you do your documents. When it’s time to update your documents. It a process that continues as your life gets more complicated both personally and professionally.

Now let’s address one more unspoken fear. When I observe procrastination with completing documents, my more candid clients will sheepishly express that they fear that once the documents are done, they will die.

We will all die at some point. Creating an estate plan does not speed up that process. This is a gift you are giving your heirs. And just like your closets, it will need cleaning up from time-to-time.

Death is a part of life. Although it is frequently feared and often misunderstood, we can’t outrun it no matter how much money we have or how virtuous our lives. Instead, think of it as a bridge between this life and the next. Let’s talk about the issues that are important to all of us—what happens to a lifetime of cherished memories and loves when we cross that bridge to a better life.