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Paradigm Shifts from Toasters to Finances

The funny internet meme, “I was today years old when….” Is wholly based on the fact that a person was introduced to a new perspective to an old thought. If you haven’t seen it, it goes like this “I was today years old when I found out the L in the Staples logo was just a bent staple .”

My personal favorite revelation is that the numbers on a toaster represent minutes, not some vague toasting levels. This little nugget of wisdom resonated deeply with me. Imagine something you engage with nearly daily suddenly reveals a fresh dimension of use or understanding. This is a paradigm shift in the most mundane aspects of life.

This shift can often be exciting and give the subject a renewed purpose.

Finding the bent staple in the name or what the numbers on a toaster mean is not a hefty dose of said “freedom and purpose,” but it’s something.

We, humans, love routines and familiarity. If you don’t believe me change your sleeping cycle every week. See if you greet the day with the same amount of enthusiasm next month. Loving routines is not bad because it allows us to become experts in our particular fields and gives us predictability in relationships. But the danger of only staying in the circles of familiarity is that we can become indistinct in thought. Instead of missing the forest for the trees, you only see the forest and trees become undefined. We should have interruptions and shake-ups, that give us new thoughts and new ways of doing things. We shouldn’t wait for these things to show up (which they do), but we should look for them and put out the welcome mat.

Now the only area that I can truly speak with any authority on this issue is the world of finance.

We have more ability now to explore beyond our day-to-day than generations past. We have more opportunities to save through our employers, more personal plan options for retirement or basic savings, and more diverse options to explore your path through the freedom of information. All of that speaks to this topic, but we can dig deeper.

What areas of your life, family, or community do you want your financial plan to improve upon? Like a root system on a tree, a good plan can go to varying depths, feed specific areas, or move roadblocks over time (think of when a tree root breaks concrete).

The exercise will take time and effort. I would first start by interviewing your spouse, if you have one. What do we want our money to do over the next 5, 10, and 20 years? What do we want our money to do when we die? The death questions always seem to be the most difficult.

Then I would move to interview my children. Which is a fun practice because you can hear what they value no matter the child’s age. Then I would ask your closest friend what they think you value financially, where are they excited for you, and where are they concerned. Then have your spouse do the same with their friend. You may have to ask your friends the questions in multiple different ways during the same sitting to get the most truthful answers. This conversation is like a personal 360 review. You’re not trying to get a good grade, but rather an honest assessment of what your financial plan looks like from the inside and out and invoke a paradigm shift away from old, dated perceptions.

Take the information and then start the groundwork of laying out the priorities and timelines. What do you want to accomplish, and when? This is where a financial advisor can really show their value of helping prioritize and showing a path to success.

There are many meetings, where I am a sounding board and facilitator for family goals.

Financial plans can be just successful retirement planning. Still, I think it’s more fulfilling to consider setting up the generations behind you for success by reflecting on the matters close to your heart and planning for them to bloom in a future era you might not live to see. You could even consider paving the way for your descendants to overcome financial obstacles that have haunted your family line for generations. A deviation from the conventional plan can dramatically transform your approach to saving for the future, and it’s remarkable how such a change can impact another’s life in a day yet to dawn.

August 2023

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