As 2015 comes to close, work slows down, and we get to spend time with family and friends, it is a great time to take a moment to reflect on the year.
As I am sure you know, I am a huge fan of Carl Richards sketches. You can see his sketches weekly in the New York Times or at Behavior Gap.
Today, I want to share one of my favorite sketches as we take a moment to reflect on 2015.
As a financial planner, young families and entrepreneurs usually come to me looking to invest their money and plan their financial lives. While I do ultimately help invest their money, first we take a look at what they truly value in life.
By taking the time to look at what they value most, we are essentially looking at where they really want to invest their time, money, and energy.
Investing in skills usually folds into the conversation since honing your skills can increase your income and, in many circumstances, it can also free up your time and energy.
As you look back on your year, what did you invest in?
To me, money is simply a tool that we all use. First, we use money to take care of our most basic needs; food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare.
Once our basic needs are taken care of, things get interesting. We get to use money as a tool to live our version of a great life. This is also where we start asking important questions since most of us don’t have unlimited funds. How can we use money as a tool to create a great life?
Money isn’t finite. We can use our other resources; time, energy, and skill, to create more of it. We can also use money to free up time and energy for things that we feel are more valuable than money itself.
For instance, if your weekends with your kids are precious, hiring a housekeeper to come and clean so you don’t have to may be money well spent. You are literally trading money for more quality time with your family.
Time is finite. To me, it is the most precious resource we have. Unfortunately, we cannot buy more time. But we can use money to free up our time.
This works in business and in life. In business, the most successful people I know understand that time is more valuable than money. They thoughtfully look at where they spend their time. When they find that they spend time on something that someone else could do, they hire someone else to do it. This frees up time for them to spend on more valuable projects where their expertise is being fully utilized. In business this idea is driven return on investment (ROI).
If life, we can do the same thing, but instead of ROI let us think instead of what we value most. We can hire people to do so many things to help us free up time and energy to live a more fulfilling life. As an advisor, I can free up time that clients would otherwise spend on their finances. I cannot however work out for them or spend time with their family.
What you could you move off your plate to free up time for you in your life?
Energy is something that we can be very thoughtful about. Where to do we want to spend our energy and how do we care for ourselves to create energy. This is an area of life that I know I need to work on. I won’t be surprised if many of you feel similarly.
We can control how much sleep we get, make time to exercise, be thoughtful about what we put in our bodies. Most of the things that help us create energy take up our time, not someone else’s.
To me, skill is investing in yourself. Thoughtfully taking time and energy to improve our skills can help us free up time, energy, and create more money in the long run.
Take a moment to look back on your year and think about where you invested your time, money, energy and skill. The idea is not to beat yourself up if you feel your investments don’t align with your goals and values. Instead, celebrate the fact that you have truly taken a look at where you stand. Now you can start to thoughtfully plan where you would like to invest in the coming year.
Happy Holidays to you all!