"Financial Planning ... it's not always about money."

Design Your Freedom And The Path To Get You There

David M. Brenner profile photo

David M. Brenner, ChFC®, CLU®

D. M. Brenner, Inc.
Phone : (858) 345-1001
Schedule a Meeting

I travel a lot, so people often ask me what’s my favorite place? My answer is always the same: Wherever I am.

I’m not being flippant. That’s something I truly believe. In fact, several years ago, my wife Jeanie and I set out to live what we called “our perfect year.” We defined it as being where we want to be, when we want to be there, with the people we want to be with.


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One of the reasons I think we’ve gotten better at loving and not just living the life we’ve created together is a conscious commitment to our “not to-do” list. That’s helped us carve out more time to spend doing what’s important to us with the people we love, including family, friends, colleagues, clients and stakeholders. When you achieve that, it creates a tremendous sense of satisfaction and confidence that you’re not only where you’re supposed to be right now but on the right path to where you’re going.

A “not-to-do” list is about making conscious choices about how you spend your time each day. Think about each new day as a bucket you get to fill. Will you fill yours with the people, places and experiences that bring you joy? Or will it be depleted by the things that steal precious time, energy and emotional bandwidth? The latter are the things that belong on your not-to-do list. These may be meetings, obligations or tasks you feel you have to do but don’t look forward to. When you find yourself thinking “I have to do this” versus “I get to do this,” that’s when you know you need to find a path toward removing it from your life to allow more time to fill your bucket with the things that give your life purpose and meaning.

I’ve always been a big believer that self-love has to come first before you can be there for others. However, that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind and neglecting personal, family, career, community or other responsibilities that you may not find particularly pleasing. It’s about finding the right balance. By taking good care of yourself, family members, your business and stakeholders, you’re making meaningful deposits in your bucket. Neglecting these responsibilities would result in depleting your bucket. For example, you can choose to view daily exercise as a chore, or you can view it as something you get to do that benefits all aspects of your life by making you healthier, stronger and more physically and mentally resilient.

People often view managing their finances and investments as a “have to do” versus something they look forward to doing. That can lead to procrastination or ignoring certain financial responsibilities altogether, which has serious consequences for your personal and financial well-being. When certain behaviors become ingrained, like overspending, paying bills late, or putting off saving—they can cost you over time. For instance, late or missed credit card payments can damage your credit score resulting in paying higher interest rates on auto, home or personal loans. A poor credit score can also take you out of the running for certain jobs, which could hamper your long-term career goals. Waiting to begin saving and investing can cause financial anxiety due to the lack of an adequate safety net. You also miss opportunities to benefit from the power of compounding. Compound COMP earnings help your savings grow faster, which can make a big difference in how long it takes to accomplish your goals.

Create your path forward

While relegating financial responsibilities to the back burner has serious long-term consequences, you can create a path forward that eliminates many of aspects of financial management that you may find complicated, burdensome or confusing. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to work with a financial advisor who will do the heavy lifting for you—serving as a coach, personal CFO CFO and financial steward.

Working with the right financial advisor can help turn financial management into a positive and rewarding experience for you and your family. You should expect your advisor to educate you on different financial concepts so you can make confident decisions, and help you put a comprehensive plan in place that reflects your individual goals, timeframe and risk tolerance.

Whether you're further behind than you'd like to be in terms of accumulating savings or paying down debt, or simply want to further strengthen an already solid financial foundation, planning provides a framework for pursuing all of your goals. Your advisor will walk you through each step of the process, beginning with identifying and documenting your goals and gathering the financial documents and account statements your advisor will want to evaluate before making recommendations. Over time, your advisor will monitor your strategy to help you remain on track and alert you to new opportunities that may be right for you.

By Ron Carson, Contributor

© 2022 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

This Forbes article was legally licensed through AdvisorStream.

David M. Brenner profile photo

David M. Brenner, ChFC®, CLU®

D. M. Brenner, Inc.
Phone : (858) 345-1001
Schedule a Meeting