CYNTHIA FICK IS a financial planner who decided to approach her business and her clients in a creative way, recognizing that the way women think about money, and about how much or little of it we feel we “deserve,” can make all the difference.
One of the exercises she believes in is insisting that people first figure out their goals in very concrete terms–and then write them down. And not only write them down but do so as if the client has already achieved them. This is a technique used in a lot of goal-setting programs, and it may seem gimmicky, but try it and you’ll appreciate how different it makes the goal feel.
Fick, based in Arizona, has written a book, “The Sisterhood of Money.” In it she expands on this way of dealing with financial goals. The bulk of the book is a narrative based on a handful of women with whom she creates a financial workshop. Each has a slightly different feeling about money, a different way of handling it and thinking about it–and some of those feelings get in their way. The stories in the book may seem irrelevant to my situation or yours. But I suspect we will all see glimmers of ourselves in them. You can find the book here.
Cynthia Fick’s Financial Life Vision Worksheet
Money, the agent of all commerce (other than barter), is connected to just about every aspect of our lives. Now that you have taken a look at your beliefs about money (Stage 1), it’s time to consider what you envision for the various areas of your life, for example, in your career, real estate, vacations, retirement.
The purpose of this activity is to stir up your imagination and lay the groundwork for realizing your goals and dreams. You might be surprised to discover that some of the things you’ve always thought you wanted aren’t as important as they once were and that some of the notions you’ve let fall by the wayside surface here with renewed desire.
Instructions: Look at the suggested categories in the next section. Some may apply to you and some may not. You can add categories. You don’t have to complete a vision for each category, but the more fully you engage with this activity, the more attainable and real it will become. This is the time to let your imagination work on your behalf!
For each category that you want to use in your Financial Life Vision, write a statement or a list about what you want in that area. Examples are provided. Have fun with this . . . once you get a first draft, the idea is for you to update or modify whenever you like. Write as little or as much as you want.
However, you must write it as if it is happening right now.
This is the most important component of this activity because studies have shown that goals written as if they have already taken place have a significantly higher probability of actually coming to fruition (see examples).
Categories: Here are some of the specific areas of your life that relate to creating wealth and living dreams. Some examples of how you might list/state them are included.
Financial Wealth—How much money do you bring in monthly or annually? How much money would you like to have in your portfolio?
- Example: I make $180K annually and have $1.5M in my portfolio.
- Example: My monthly income covers all my expenses and lets me save for workshops and vacations.
Business/Career—What work are you passionate about? What changes would you like to make in your business/career?
- Example: I now have the business partner I’ve always wanted, and our complementary skills are growing our business efficiently and effectively.
- Example: I am doing work I love, and clients are coming to me effortlessly.
Real Estate—What is your dream home? What type of setting do you live in? Do you have a second/vacation home? Rental property?
- Example: We live in a beautiful home, surrounded by the things we love. This 3,000-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home has a separate entrance office. It’s on an acre of land, and the backyard is an oasis with a pool and gorgeous mountain views.
- Example: I have bought 1 foreclosure house and am fixing it up to sell in the next 6 months.
Income Streams—How much money would you like to have flowing to you annually and through what sources?
- Example: We own three rental houses that are bringing in a positive cash flow.
- Example: I am making jewelry and selling it successfully online.
Education—What are your goals for funding or helping to fund educational pursuits for your children, grandchildren, yourself or other family members?
- Example: I’ve graduated from art school and am getting ready for my first gallery show.
- Example: My grandchildren are attending the colleges of their choice through the college savings program we participate in.
Retirement—When and where do you want to retire? What will your life be like once you retire?
- Example: I’m retired and living in a wonderful beach cottage on the Atlantic coast.
- Example: I have retired early and am supplementing my income with a part-time job I love.
Toys/Treats—What special hobbies, avocations or collecting interests would you like to be able to support?
- Example: I bought the vintage 1952, 42-foot Chris-Craft cruiser I’ve always wanted.
- Example: I am attending classes about painting and attending local art shows regularly.
Debt—How do you want to experience debt in your life? How do you want to respond to it?
- Example: I have created a plan for paying off my debt on time and with less interest.
- Example: I typically pay cash for things that depreciate in value and have manageable debt for things that appreciate in value.
Cash Flow—What do your monthly income and outflow look like?
- Example: I bring in enough income on a monthly basis to pay my bills and invest in my portfolio.
- Example: I am so organized that paying my bills is easy and painless, sometimes even fun!
Vacation—What kind of vacations would you like to experience? Where would you like to go?
- Example: We have a log cabin on a New Hampshire lake where we spend every summer.
- Example: I plan a trip that my whole family is excited about every year, and we save regularly for it.
Make a grid and record your statements on it. This part is important.
Anchoring the Vision Tool
Select a category from your Financial Life Vision Worksheet that you want to focus on. Then for each of your statements in that category, ask yourself two questions:
1. Why is this important to me?
2. How will I feel when this is a reality?
These questions help anchor your vision on the level of emotions, enhancing the probability for attainment.
Example in real estate: In the first column is a statement you wrote about the house of your dreams, carefully worded as if it had already come to pass. Then the answers to the two questions appear in the next two columns. For instance:
Statement: We live in a beautiful home, surrounded by the things we love. This 3,000-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home has a separate entrance office. It’s on an acre of land, and the backyard is an oasis with a pool and gorgeous mountain views.
Why is this important to me? I want a custom home with a separate entrance office so I can work comfortably from home, be surrounded by luxury and have a large yard for our children to play in.
How will I feel when this is a reality? I will feel organized, supported and joyous!
Now it’s your turn. Select a category from your completed Financial Life Vision Worksheet. Record the category in a grid. Transfer one of your statements to the first column, and then answer the two questions in the next two columns. Repeat for other categories and statements to anchor your vision.
Excerpted from “The Sisterhood of Money” by Cynthia Fick. Copyright 2015 by Cynthia Fick. Reprinted with permission of the author.