Each time I think about Life Planning and how it’s helped me, I can’t help but smile.
I started the Registered Life Planning program in the Spring of 2016 at a 7 Stages of Money Maturity workshop in Chicago. At the time, I was a bit lost in my career. I’m an introvert and early in my career I gravitated toward managing investments instead of working directly with clients as a financial planner. However, I found myself feeling disconnected and lonely. There’s value in optimizing investment portfolios for long-term success, but I desired something more. I wanted to help people by combining financial planning skills with life coaching skills and having impactful conversations around meaning and personal aspirations. That’s how I found the life planning movement, and ultimately the Kinder Institute.
I showed up to the Seven Stages of Money Maturity 2-day Workshop ready to learn how to help my clients. What I received was something more profound. I was life planned. In hindsight, before learning how to positively impact people’s financial lives, everything about my own had to change.
I’ll never forget the feeling of being the ‘client’ in front of the class for our incredible facilitator, Mary Zimmerman, as she went through my answers to the Three Questions. Not once in my life had I been listened to like that, and within a moment of extreme vulnerability in front of my peers, everything became clear.
Within two weeks of that initial training, I was implementing a plan to leave my old firm to start a new financial life planning business. Trailhead Planners, a firm I co-founded with my sister, Courtney Ranstrom, is now nearing its fourth year of existence and we have never looked back.
In my 20s, I recorded a couple of albums of original music. I have played guitar and written songs since I was a teenager, and I loved playing live shows. But a mistake by my producer on my second album led to me unwittingly printing one thousand albums with sound impurities on a few of the tracks. I was a tentative artist to begin with, but that mistake led me to feel great shame, as if my music and my art would never be good enough. I slowly stopped playing live shows and writing new songs. Eventually, I rarely even picked up my guitar.
I attended the EVOKE Life Planning Training 5-day in the Fall of 2016 with Kinder trainers, Rosemarie McKinnon and Ed Jacobson, two wonderful facilitators and mentors. My partner for the 5-day was Christine Macdonald, an empathic and top-notch life planner from Portland, Maine. Once again, I found myself in front of the class being life planned; however, I was more confident this time around. Surely, by now, I had it all figured out, right?
Wrong. During our ‘Obstacles’ conversation, Christine looked at me and said, “I think you’re a blocked-artist. I think you need to put your albums online and let others listen to them.” The room felt crushingly small. I nodded my head. She was right.
A few weeks later, my personal torch statement burning inside of me, I submitted my music to iTunes and Spotify. I cried. And then, in the ensuing days and weeks, the most magical thing happened. I started writing again.
I was originally drawn to the Kinder Institute by reading George Kinder’s books. Though admittedly, as an aspiring author myself, I was concerned that the book I wanted to write on money and meaning had already been written a few times over by George himself! Laughingly, I expressed this to George when he stopped by our 5-day Training to meet us, answer questions, and discuss his latest book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness.
Later, George wrote us all notes. Mine said, “Morgan, I wrote my books. Go write yours.” With my inner-artist motivated and revived, I did just that. Early in 2019, Wisdom Editions published my first book, Money with Purpose: Receive the Dividends of an Undivided Financial Life. The initial response has been incredible.
I owe the seeds of my current life to the Kinder Institute and the life planning process. For that I am eternally grateful.
Morgan Ranstrom, CFA, CFP®
Co-Founder & Financial Life Planner
4816 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Morgan Ranstrom, CFA, CFP®, RLP®, is a co-founder and financial life planner at Trailhead Planners in Minneapolis, MN. He has released two studio albums of his own music (Spotify, iTunes) and is the author of Money with Purpose: Receive the Dividends of an Undivided Financial Life.