The Biggest Money Questions Aren't About Money
Every conversation about your money is really a conversation about your values. It’s never about the money, but only about what the money can do for you. Imagine having a $100 bill but no one will accept it and never will? Is it still worth anything to you? Not likely. The $100 is good as long as it can help satisfy your needs (in all their diverse forms).
We humans are complex, and often our needs aren’t exactly clear. Imagine a scenario where you wake up tomorrow and you’re the only human left living. All of the real estate, all of the trees, all of the animals, all of the gold, all of the classic cars….they are yours. But you have no one to share them with. Are you satisfied?
Those scenarios help us see that while we do have basic needs independent of other humans, a life without relationships is largely void of the satisfaction we crave.
A few years ago, in my pursuit to help clients not only manage their money well, but cause their money to deliver long term satisfaction, I came across three profound questions. If you spend time with these 3 questions and carefully consider each, perhaps writing down the answers, there’s little doubt your approach to handling your resources, especially your time and money, will take on new power.
The questions are taken from The Kinder Institute of Life Planning. Here’s the first:
I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is, how would you live your life? What would you do with the money? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back your dreams. Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.
The next question goes deeper:
This time, you visit your doctor who tells you that you have five to ten years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live? Will you change your life, and how will you do it?
The final question goes deeper still:
This time, your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do I wish I had finished or had been? What do I wish I had done? Did I miss anything?
My hope is these questions will give you a jolt of recognition and a wellspring of motivation to no longer handle your life and money apathetically. There is too much on the line.