In my quest to constantly learn new ways to help clients, I occasionally come across something that makes so much sense — I wonder why I never thought of it. Such was the case when I was introduced to the term ROL (return on life) by Mitch Anthony, a well-regarded thought leader in the financial services industry, along with its underlying definition:
Work on getting the best life from the money you have — rather than figuring out how not to run out of it.
That’s genius, in my opinion. And it leads to the focus of this blog, the difference between goals and possibilities, and why you should incorporate more of the latter into your financial plan in your quest to have the best ROL.
Goals certainly have their place, especially in the corporate world, where employees are often asked to set SMART goals — meaning they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. In theory, that exercise is helpful when dealing with your personal finances, but that in practice, is rarely so clean cut. Additionally, it discounts what I consider the most exciting part of planning for the future: possibilities.
Most financial planning discussions center on goals like saving a certain amount of money each month, paying for college, retiring, and buying a home or moving into someplace new. But that doesn’t really tell the whole story; it’s not a full picture of your life, since it ignores how you interact with your money and your possibilities.
By possibilities, I mean things like taking care of your family, caring for an elderly parent, paying for weddings or family travel, and even the very lifestyle you wish to enjoy. These don’t typically come up in goals discussions — but they still need to be planned for. For example:
You may have a goal of moving in five to 10 years.
Your possibilities include renting out your home, staying in your neighborhood or leaving it, and remodeling.
Having the goal is fine — but the possibilities surrounding it should also be noted as part of your financial plan. This will go a long way toward helping you live the best life you can with the money you have, ensuring you have the highest ROL possible.
Intrigued by this type of thinking? Let’s get together to start talking about your ROL.
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