Tell us more about your LifeSpire venture which allows investors to create financial plans for free?
LifeSpire is the container for our free consumer website, LifePlanningForYou.com. On it consumers can create their own life plan for free, or if they want they can find a trained life planner listed on our Kinder Institute website, which lists planners from 30 countries. Life Planning for You is also the title of my latest book which only costs a few dollars on Kindle. Both the website and the book arose from our conviction that Life Planning is something that everyone in the world should have, regardless of their economic means. Every person in the world has aspirations. The site has all our exercises on it to clarify those aspirations, and then to figure out how to deliver on them into the consumer’s life. Imagine a world where everyone lived their lives by living and pursuing their most profound or vital aspirations! It would quickly transform our notion of what economic ‘growth’ actually is.
Tell us more about the ‘Three Questions’ which advisers should ask?
In life planning, we follow a 5 phase process that we call EVOKE, an acronym for the 5 phases of exploration, vision, obstacles, knowledge and execution. Knowledge and execution are classic phases in traditional financial planning. They are the delivery of the financial plan and its execution. The only difference with life planning is that they are much more accurate in life planning and much easier to deliver, with much more vitality for the client in the process. All because the true aspirations of the client have been identified and the life planner’s support has inspired the client into action.
In ‘Exploration’ we listen to the client, in an open ended, empathic and inspirational way that encourages the client to reveal all the things they care about most. The meeting develops a great bond of trust between the adviser and the client.
In ‘Obstacles’ we solve the obstacles to the clients’ aspirations, largely with the clients own excitement and vigour coming out of the vision meeting.
It’s in the ‘vision’ meeting that we ask the three questions and do other inspirational and goal-clarifying exercises for the client, building excitement and engagement with the client and leading to an offer of the deepest and most invigorating and delightful of those aspirations in a moment we call ‘Lighting the Torch.’ The three questions are asked in order, and lead steadily to a deepening understanding of what is most important to accomplish in the clients’ life. But they start with fun:
Question 1: Assuming you have all the money that you need for the rest of your life, what would you do? What would your life look like? What would you do?
The client typically lists lots of fun things, and many material things, perhaps.
Question 2: Your doctor just shocked you with the news that you will only live 5-10 more years. You will be completely healthy during that time, and you will make it at least 5 years, but will not survive the 10th. What would shift for you? How would you live your life? What would you do?
Here the client responses are often more personal, more meaningful and profound. Often more relational, but not always.
Question 3: This time the doctor shocks you with the knowledge you only have 24 hours left to live. Reflecting on your life so far, and on all the things you had anticipated doing, the question is: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do?
It’s in the answer to this life and death question that the most important elements of the client’s aspirations are revealed. Most often it’s here that we discover what is most profound, most meaningful, most impactful that remains undone. From this question, much energy arises to accomplish one’s dreams.
The answers are not in our usual ‘financial categories’ of retirement, investment, taxes, insurance or estate planning. Often they don’t even seem to have financial aspects, although they nearly always do, upon deeper reflection. For they always require time. And dedicated amounts of time must come from somewhere, often from our work life. But their resolution will also bring much more energy, even entrepreneurial, into the clients’ life. The top five pursuits that come up here are: family, spirit, creativity (including business), community and a sense of place or environment.
Can you give us an overview of Kinder Institute of life planning model? How is it different from Money Quotient which also provides life planning training?
Although the leadership of Money Quotient have taken some of our programs, and many of their followers and ours overlap, I’m not that aware of their particular practices. The main differences that I have heard from our registered life planners, are that where EVOKE is a communication process, a relationship process with sometimes intimate and meaningful conversations, money quotient is more data driven, questionnaire driven. Also, we believe the client’s concerns should come first in the exploration meeting before any significant financial work is done. That way it is clear what the client cares about most, and their dreams aren’t squelched by ‘economic reality’, but instead form an inspiring vision that can often burst through ‘economic reality’. Money Quotient, as I’ve been told, focuses first on the money, and then on the goals, the opposite of our approach.
Is there any eligibility criteria for advisers to enrol for your services? What is the subscription fee?
Most life planners are certified financial planners or financial advisers with a similar depth of financial background, but we let anyone come into the courses, so we’ve had coaches, psychologists, estate planners, attorneys and even clients take the programs. There is a wealth of training in listening, communication and emotional skills such that anyone in the world will take value from our work. In India, working with Sadique Neelgund of Network FP, we’ve managed to price our programs at less than half their full value in the US or Europe. Our price for our signature 5-day training is $1995 in India, as an example.