If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll see that we are up to the hinge point in the EVOKE process. We’ve covered Exploration, where we identify your deepest life dreams and goals. In the Vision, we ask you three questions that help you identify what is truly important to you, and this sets up your plan. The Obstacle meeting is the next step in our quest for financial freedom. The Obstacle meeting is a careful look at what can crop up to derail you – before it happens. This allows us to put a strategic plan in place.
Why We Called Our Firm Modern Wealth
Before we dive into Obstacles, stepping back to put things into perspective is helpful. Traditional financial planning also identifies obstacles to your plan. But they are things like “you don’t have enough money” or “you’re not taking enough risk.” Traditional financial planning is about scarcity. The objectives you are identifying are about stretching resources, and the process to get there is often unpleasant.
That’s not how financial life planning works. The goal of the Vision meeting is to uncover the motivation you need to take the necessary steps towards your goals. That’s it. The money part is in service of that. The Obstacle meeting isn’t about financial obstacles – it’s about identifying anything that could hold you back or hamper your motivation in any way. It’s the identification of an ideal life in all dimensions. It’s an evolved approach to recognizing that money doesn’t mean the same thing to people it used to and that the way investors want to approach their finances is fundamentally changed.
That’s why we called our firm Modern Wealth.
Identifying Obstacles and Planning to Remove Them
We talked about motivation earlier, and the Obstacle meeting is where it gets real. Motivation only works when it’s engaged, and things that can stop it need to be removed. Since this is about financial freedom, we don’t view obstacles as primarily financial. We don’t look at your money and then outline what isn’t possible. That’s the traditional way.
Obstacles means outlining your day-to-day reality, and then comparing it to your ideal day-to-day reality. The granular nature of the exercise is essential because that’s where change happens. You create your best life and be very honest about what’s missing or what needs to change in your current life.
The process is very tactical, and it begins by creating a dimensional look at your life. First, you build a detailed look at your current life over a day, a month, and a year. Then you detail your ideal life over the same time frame.
The distance between the two becomes apparent. The next step is to delineate the obstacles that will come up as you move from one state to the other. The framework is to think of emotional, time, and financial obstacles to provide a complete picture. Solutions are crafted taking into account each of those dimensions.
Like the two previous steps, a deep look at your current situation can be cathartic. But pairing it with creating an ideal, achievable life is the key. The distance between the two is bridged by a road map that we develop together. The map relies on identifying obstacles and working out plans in advance to neutralize them. People often find this phase the most freeing because it faces fears and inadequacies by embracing them and setting up options to move past them.
The Bottom Line
Financial life planning is radically different than traditional financial planning. We are three meetings into this process, and money has not come up yet. That should give you some idea of what is important and what financial freedom looks like. Taking power away from traditional sources of control – whether institutions, attitudes, or societal constraints – and giving it to the individual to make choices that benefit them alone is why it’s called “financial planning done right.”