Most of us have heard of financial planners. They help you manage your money. But is that enough? Life planners offer to merge your financial hopes with your life goals. Which planner might better serve you? Sound Money Host, Kai Ryssdale, finds out from George Kinder, author of the book “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life.” Listen to an audio of the interview. Link
November 2004 – CBS MarketWatch “The Sophisticated Investor”
Feature: A Life Fulfilled by Thomas Kostigen
Are you a Wall Street banker who really wants to teach history? An accountant who yearns to become a rabbi? An insurance saleswoman who wants to own a charter boat? Or a corporate manager who wants to start a catering company? If there are secret sorrows to your life, you’re not alone. The question is and always has been how to balance passion and pay. Financial life planning claims it can help you accomplish a major shift in your life within two to four years. There’s more to life than money. So it makes sense there should be more to financial planning than padding the portfolio, says writer Thomas Kostigen in his “Sophisticated Investor” column. “That’s the idea behind financial life planning, an emerging discipline that combines aspects of traditional financial planning with what can be considered a mix of family counseling, career coaching, goal setting and motivational speaking. Sure, money is a part of most of this. You can’t really be free to explore the more meaningful sides of life unless you are financially capable of sustaining yourself through some paycheck downtime.” Read this insightful column to learn why more and more people are embracing financial life planning. “You often hear admonitions this time of year to get your finances in order. Maybe you should spend time getting life issues straightened out as well,” says CBS MarketWatch editor, Steve Kerch.
September 13, 2004 – FPA Annual Conference Life Planning and Interior Finance: 10 Years and Running Strong
FPA Super Session with George Kinder, Dick Wagner and Ross Levin
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the life-planning movement, the Financial Planning Association asked George Kinder and Dick Wagner, two of the most prominent financial life planners in the industry, to share their thoughts on the evolution of the financial planning profession. Fellow planner Ross Levin moderated the discussion and facilitated questions and comments from over one thousand financial planners in attendance. Click too obtain a copy of this lively audio program.
Feature: One on One with George D. Kinder by Rick Miller
Ten years ago, the life-planning movement was born. George D. Kinder, founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning in Pleasant Hill, Calif., and chief executive and president of Kinder & Co., a financial planning and coaching company in Littleton, Mass., is recognized as the movement’s father. The seminal moment came at a national planning conference when in 1994 he and Richard Wagner, then president of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners in Denver, gave a landmark talk on money and the human experience.
September 2004 – Financial Times (London)
Feature: Design for Financial Wellbeing: Life Planning by Sarah Ross
Draw up a design for financial wellbeing: LIFE PLANNING. Sarah Ross looks at a system based on three questions, devised by a Buddhist financial planner, that could change the way people get advice and set them on the path to money maturity. Let’s say you’ve gone to the doctor, and you learn you’ll be dead within 24 hours. Ask yourself: “What feelings am I experiencing? What regrets, what longings, what deep and now-unfulfilled dreams? What do I wish I had completed, been, had, done in this life that is just about to end?'” You might be surprised to learn that this request comes not from a psychoanalyst but from a financial planner. His name is George Kinder and his Life Planning movement seems likely to change the shape of financial advice in this country.
September 2004 – Morningstar Advisor.com
Column: Client Communication Skills by Marie Swift
In a series of articles centered on helping financial advisors improve their client communication skills, Marie Swift interviews Martin Siesta, an advisor who has studied with George Kinder. “The EVOKE™ methodology taught by the Kinder Institute maps out the entire process for planner and client,” says Siesta. “Before taking the Kinder courses, I had used the traditional approach to planning with my clients – and I have to admit I had not been terribly successful during the implementation stage. By using the Kinder approach, I’ve been able to successfully help clients implement and stick to their plans. It’s just an easier process – with long-lasting commitment – when the client sees that they are embracing their most heartfelt aspirations. And when people are empowered by their relationships and the choices they’re making, they just naturally want to tell other people about the experience. As a result, referrals are plentiful and business is good,” he says.
March 1, 2004 – MSN Money Central
Article: Overcoming your Money Demons by MP Dunleavey
Ever feel like you’re stuck in a money rut? You vow to do things better — and it works. For 36 hours. Then you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again, as if you were possessed by . . . A DEMON. “These are ways we don’t move forward with vigor,” says George Kinder, a financial planner and founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. To combat the money demons, Kinder says you need to tap into whatever gives your life meaning – whether it’s your family or playing jazz guitar. Only by keeping your eyes on the prize, as he calls the bigger financial picture, will you find the energy to move forward. Read more of Kinder’s advice now. http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/SavingandDebt/P82341.asp
June 2004 – Money magazine
A Fresh Approach: by the Financial Planning Association
Not long ago, when financial planner Gary Witten, CFP®, ChFC, was working with clients, he felt something was missing. “I wasn’t getting to the essence of their dreams,” says Gary. So he sought out a fresh approach. He found it with “financial life planning,” a growing philosophy within the profession that goes beyond conventional quantitative number crunching. “What people really want is to talk about their lives, not their money. This is about creating a life, not an investment portfolio,” he says. Gary’s clients report that they are “thinking differently about how to plan for financial life events.” Financial life planning was pioneered by George Kinder and a handful of other committed financial planners. It takes a holistic, qualitative approach and includes the client’s priorities and values. People examine major life events, such as having kids or starting a business, and make financial decisions that reflect their own emotions about money.
May 3, 2004 – Investors Business Daily
Article: The Face of Money by Thomas Kostigen
“Money, like or not, represents us, individually and as a culture; praise or criticism is bound to offend,” says writer Thomas Kostigen in his article Putting the Proper Face on Money. “Money represents, in a way, how we manifest whatever we have … inside ourselves into the material world,” adds George Kinder, author of “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity.” “When our belief system conflicts with another belief system, that’s when wars arise.” Or at least heated debate, says Kostigen. “Indeed, there should be more of a debate over what our currency looks like, or whether we should even have paper and coin currency at all. More of a national debate over the design and look of our money might just get a few more people to pay attention to their pocketbooks,” the writer concludes.
May 2004 – Morningstar Advisor.com
Column: Communication Success Tips by Marie Swift
Advisors who wish to communicate in the most effective way possible with their clients are encouraged to use a proven communication cycle. “Good interpersonal communication will improve your ability to get the business results you want,” says practice management expert, Marie Swift. Advisors who wish to boost their emotional intelligence might consider taking a course that can help them improve their active listening and empathic communication skills. The Kinder Institute is noted as a place for advisors to obtain this type of specialized training.
April 2004 – Morningstar Advisor.com
Column: Generate Profits, Passion and Purpose by Marie Swift
Industry expert, Marie Swift, provides coaching for advisors who wish to generate profits, passion and purpose in 2004. She encourages all advisors, no matter what their business model, to attend the Kinder Institute of Life Planning’s Seven Stages of Money Maturity workshop. “Incorporating a more holistic Life Planning approach can bolster client relationships and give advisors an attractive differentiating quality going forward,” she says.
April 2004 – Investment News
Letter to Editor: Life Planning Did not Sustain a Split by George Kinder, CFP®
George Kinder takes issue with an article published previously by Investment News that alleged there had been a “split” in the Life Planning movement. “For over thirty year’s, I’ve worked with clients to improve their financial affairs,” says George. “As I developed my life planning methodologies, I began to see how I could make a more profound difference in my clients’ lives. Instead of just focusing on their money goals, I set my sites on helping them achieve a fuller sense of happiness, fulfillment and meaning in their lives. After drawing out the client’s most heartfelt dreams, we’d collaborate on creating a vision for the future. Only then would we develop and implement the financial plan. Clients were not only enlivened by the process and happy about the results, but empowered to stick with the financial plan itself. Through this multi-phase planning process, they bought in and owned the plan. This buy-in reinforced the plan’s long-term success. I still work with clients, using this process, empowering them to move powerfully ahead and live a life they truly love.” Kinder is considered by many to be “the thought leader in the financial life planning movement.” He has been named “one of the Top 25 most influential people in financial planning” by Investment Advisor magazine (May 2003). “Life planning has not sustained a split at all,” he emphasizes. “To the contrary, life planning as a whole is still growing in healthy leaps and bounds, and there is a broad and cordial sense of support between the leaders of the various life planning circles. Some of the industry’s best-known leaders embrace this growing body of knowledge and participate with us in promoting a deeper level of interaction between client and advisor.” Visit www.KinderInstitute.com to a list of over 300 Kinder life planning course participants.
March 1, 2004 – MSN Money Central
Article: 20 Tough Questions for an Easier Future by Liz Pulliam Weston
The typical financial strategy demands that you cut current spending to set aside money for some distant future that you may not even live to enjoy. For many people, the idea of slogging away for 20, 30 or even 50 years before seeing any reward simply doesn’t appeal. They either never get going, or they abandon the plans pretty quickly.
A small group of financial planners is wondering whether we haven’t got the whole thing backward.
These planners, specialists in the emerging field of “life planning,” say that most financial strategies would work better if people concentrated on getting what they really want out of life as they live it. While some delayed gratification is needed to reach any goal, life planners suggest that more people would be able to make the necessary trade-offs if they were living happier lives that authentically reflected their true values.
Advocates of life planning say they’re looking for a more holistic approach to financial planning, one that considers a client’s most deeply-held values instead of focusing exclusively on how big a pile of money they can accumulate. Figuring out what you really want, though, can be a daunting task. One of the founders of this movement, George Kinder, of Littleton, Mass., came up with a series of questions to help clients uncover what is most important to them. Full article at:
What if money could be a learning tool that helps you see what you really want out of life? It can be, according to George Kinder, but most people simply see its purchasing power and the lure of more, more, more. Each person’s financial journey follows an archetypal path in the form of a V; you start out innocent, then descend through pain and suffering. If you can break free of a cycle of injured innocence, you move back upward to adulthood by seeking knowledge of the practical skills needed to accomplish your financial goals. Eventually, you move to the next level, and develop “ease in the midst of difficult feelings about money” and eventually reach a state of vigor. Beyond that comes maturity, which Kinder calls vision and aloha. You are able to take visionary action to tend your community, and to be able to pass on blessings without regard to economic consequences. It is not enough to settle for the usual wish-list: a house, a college education for the kids, a comfortable retirement. Financial Life Planners, says Kinder, are really like nutritionists who care deeply about the general health; they ask go deeper to find out what is keeping the client stuck, and help them create the future they envision for themselves. “This is revolutionary thinking in the planning world,” says Veres.
January, 2004 – Financial Planning magazine
Feature: The Life Journey, by Nelson Aldrich
George Kinder is on a quest to bring a revolution to financial planning–and to Americans’ tangled relations with money. Our writer explores the rites of passage.
A Fresh Start: Many Resolve to Change Spending, Saving Plan as New Year Resolutions, by Caille Millner
There is a major crisis brewing in America: people are deeper in debt than ever and ill prepared for the future. Many don’t even realize that they’re digging themselves a hole, said Susan Galvan, executive director of The Kinder Institute of Life Planning. “Credit cards weren’t easily available 25 years ago,”‘ she said. “Debt was shunned as unacceptable. It’s very easy to get in over your head these days. In practical reality, people in their 20s tend to spend their money on indulging their desires,” Galvan said. “`And this is where the conflict comes in, because saving could have such a huge impact.” To save money, Galvan said, it’s necessary to shut out the noise of advertisements and peer pressure and ask: What do I really want from life? Most people would rather have intangibles – love, safety, freedom – than possessions. With some thought, Galvan said, it becomes easy to see which purchases are necessary and which are negotiable. “This is how Kinder-trained financial life planners work with their clients – going beyond ‘just numbers’ to what they really want out of life and how a holistic financial life plan can make that a reality.”
Life Planning Helps Young Couple: Credit Caution Pays Off, by Caille Millner
It takes a lot of money to live in the Bay area, and some young people are not sure where to start to build a sustainable future. “`This is one of the biggest challenges for people in their 20s, just learning how to manage money for their goals,” said financial adviser, Mary Kay Wright. Wright is a financial planner in Walnut Creek who has trained with The Kinder Institute to assist clients with “life planning,” a goal-oriented, client-centered approach to money management. The young couple profiled in the article said they were pleasantly surprised by Wright’s approach. “She helped us think about what we want to do with our lives, not just our money.”