Financial Planning for a Meaningful Life – 5 Planning Tips

Sep 5, 2023

“Wealth, by contrast, is funded contentment. It is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life – however one chooses to define that.” – Brian Portnoy

Should you work with a financial advisor who vows that their only mission is to make you as much money as possible?

“Yes, of course!” seems like the obvious answer.

While making money is essential, Dr. Ron A. Rhoades, the Director of the Personal Financial Planning Program at Western Kentucky University, takes a broader perspective– highlighting the importance of “facilitating greater happiness.” 2

At Credent, when we say financial freedom changes lives, we mean it. How can you start planning for a happy, meaningful life?

1. Plan intentionally

Planning for a meaningful life is not abstract. We believe all Americans benefit from setting financial goals, developing a written plan, and working with a partner toward those goals. The process is systematic, structured, and includes regular reassessment.

A product is not a plan. A plan empowers clients with a decision-making framework, a mindset around money, and actionable steps for implementation.

2. Plan realistically

We believe all investment strategies work some of the time and no investment strategies work all of the time. Stay grounded in your planning. To live a meaningful life, you’ll want to understand where you can go and how you can get there.

There’s no use relying on “snake oil” strategies or rules of thumb that don’t work for you. Educate yourself and work with an expert to understand the best course of action.

3. Plan for the experience

Life is a series of important financial events, and your plan will affect your experience of these events. Build the right plan to create the best experiences.

As we plan, we ask our clients many questions – what they want to do in retirement, what loved ones they will support, what causes they want to donate to –because these are the Great Goals of Life, the experiences that matter.

Life isn’t about accumulating possessions that will ultimately deteriorate. It’s about viewing our possessions as tools to accomplish more of what we’re called to do.

Even the experience of hardship – loss, divorce, relocation, job loss – can be eased with the right plan and partners.

4. Plan to eliminate fear and greed

The fear of the future and the greed of consumerism are the roadblocks to financial independence for all Americans.

These forces will keep you from spending more time with your grandkids.

They will glue you to the couch instead of sending you on that long-awaited cruise.

They will trap you in a job for years longer than you ever intended.

They will disorient your decisions about what to buy, where to put your money, and how to invest.

A good financial advisor dismantles fear and greed, helping you understand what is happening in the market, whether or not you need to be concerned, and how you can use your money well to do the things you want.

5. Plan with someone you trust

There is zero regulation of the term “financial advisor.” Virtually anyone can brand themselves as one. Many of these individuals are actually transactional salespeople, with a significant number marketing their ability to generate “superior” returns.

More financial institutions than ever claim to offer clients financial planning (when they don’t).  Plan with a fiduciary who puts you first as they help you plan for a meaningful life.

If you have any more questions about your financial plan, reach out to your advisor or email us at [email protected].

  1. Brian Portnoy, The Geometry of Wealth: How to Shape a Life of Money and Meaning (Petersfield: Harriman House, 2018), 2.
  2. Ron A. Rhoades, “Exploring the Real Value of a Fiduciary Financial Advisor: ‘Why?’,” Professor Money Bear, February 8, 2022,

By Brian Remson, CFP®

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