I was lucky to be involved early, although by accident, with the life planning movement started by George Kinder and Dick Wagner, both CFP®s in the field of personal financial planning. I attended a full day seminar led by George Kinder when he was first promoting the idea of goal based planning. Later, I attended a workshop to apply this work to my own personal planning. I found the results for myself rather profound and was launched on a journey towards what he calls money maturity.
We floated the concept of a money maturity event in a survey to clients a few years back. Interestingly, we didn’t define what it meant at the time, but the survey replies were still positive. The rest of the team here had not yet been introduced to Kinder’s work, now under the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. We are currently, as a team, in the process of reading George Kinder’s book, The Seven Stages of Money Maturity.
What was most enlightening for me was discovering what messages about money were imprinted on me in my childhood. This is part of the first two stages, Innocence and Pain, which George discusses at length in his book. Our childhood experiences around money impact us for the rest of our life, and I now know how true that is. It was truly an “aha” moment for me. I will share what I learned about my own childhood messages at the workshop on April 25th, but I do have to say it was startling to realize how it shaped absolutely every decision I made in early adulthood, including my decision to be a financial planner.
The next part of the journey, which will be addressed more in our workshop on April 25th, is about our views on money as it relates to our life goals, part of the ”Adulthood” stages of money maturity in Kinder’s work. As I was guided through these exercises, I came to understand more about where my family, my personal “bucket list”, and philanthropy fit into my relationship with money, or perhaps vice versa. In turn, this reduces the stress of making decisions around money. I believe a mature relationship with money also helps us to reflect positive messages to others, including what we imprint on our own children.
I like that George calls the last two stages of money maturity Vision and Aloha. We are lucky to live in Alaska, where we already understand that there is more to life than monetary wealth. It is interesting how we all make different decisions around money and I often wonder what childhood messages were imprinted on my clients. Our process of goal based planning is heavily founded on the idea that you don’t know how to invest if you don’t know the purpose. The Kinder training notes that as financial advisors, we are uniquely placed to help our clients because we know how to match the technical financial elements with your personal goals.
We are excited to bring Mary Zimmerman, CFP® and Registered Life Planner (RFP®), to Anchorage to lead us in the discussion about money maturity, based on Kinder’s work. Mary is one of the founding members of the Kinder Institute and she travels worldwide as a trainer. Our Empowered Women Smart Money event on April 25th is a guided workshop, facilitated by Mary.
We look forward to seeing our women clients on Monday, April 25th at the Petroleum Club of Anchorage. Doors open with champagne served at 4p.m., email email@example.com to reserve your place. Aloha!
Cathie Straub, CPA, CFP®
Director, APCM Wealth Management for Individuals