The Pursuit of Happiness
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” — Dalai LamaI recently received a letter from an advisor that talked about how The New Retirementality had profoundly impacted his life. Here’s a brief excerpt:

“Most everyone we knew, young or less young, were letting fear or greed dictate how they lived their lives. We did not want the pursuit of money to interfere with our pursuit of happiness. Left to my own devices, I would have saved us into poverty during our platinum years and been left to wonder what to do with it during our golden years.

We set our priorities before they could be set for us, striving for a balance between our current and future selves. We chose savings goals that were a stretch to begin with but became less demanding as our incomes rose. We eventually chose to purchase a home that was comfortable instead of luxurious. Vehicles that were practical instead of showy.  It was not all about sacrificing early—we chose to travel and take a warm vacation every year (but to resorts a quarter mile down the beach from Sandals).

The future is a dense fog that only begins to clear as it inevitably conveys towards the present. Those early conversions and subsequent decisions have afforded us enviable flexibility that we did not ever anticipate.

We are exceedingly happy and are confident about our present and our future. The New Retirementality provided the perspective we needed in order to have the genuine discussions about what we wanted.”

While I’m always happy to receive accolades like this, it’s his message that really affected me, especially given the fact that this advisor is a Millennial––and nowhere near the traditional age of retirement.

Clearly this advisor gets it, and we need to pay attention: this is the face of the future when it comes to financial planning.

This advisor’s experience is a perfect example of Life-centered Planning™ in action. Here is an advisor who understands early enough in life that living the best life possible with the money you have—Return on Life™—is essential. No one I have come across recently has so clearly illustrated the importance of balance between making the most of the present and planning for the future.

What a great message to give your own clients, many of whom have children who are either graduating from college or getting married over the next few months. It’s also a great message for those clients who may themselves be graduating, getting married, or celebrating another milestone.

If you are looking at Life-centered Planning as the future of the financial services industry—and you should be—this is prime time to deliver your message.

From my perspective, I’m seeing some differences between the different generations. For example, Millennials are less interested in working for money than their parents were, and more interested in working for purpose. They are less laser-focused on accumulating assets and more interested in enjoying experiences. They want to work with financial advisors, but they also want to be actively involved in any decision-making.  Younger generations have seen what their parents went through, and as a result, want to be sure they live a more balanced life.

As we enter the May and June season of what feels like nonstop graduation parties and wedding celebrations, it’s a great time to remind your clients—whether Boomers or Millennials—that while saving for the future is important, and fiscal responsibility is critical, it shouldn’t be anyone’s sole focus. Remind your clients that it’s okay to enjoy life, even if that means putting aside a little less each month—as long as they can do so responsibly. The important thing to keep in mind is that each client is an individual, with unique needs, unique goals, and different transitions. Giving your clients permission to enjoy a balanced life instead of constantly obsessing about the future is a gift they probably aren’t expecting, but one they’ll appreciate and thank you for.

This is a great time to introduce a conversation about the importance of planning for the future, while maintaining balance in the present. The economy is humming along for most of your clients right now, but as we all know, that isn’t always the case. And while a young person might not care about saving for a house right now, chances are that when that same person starts a family, that might change. My point? Priorities change—for Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, and Boomers.

Instead of placing your client’s money at the center of the conversation, Life-centered Planning treats money as the tool needed to get your clients on the path they choose. This perspective is essential because how we view money influences our decisions when it comes to financial planning. What doesn’t change is our innate need to have purpose and balance in our lives. We all want to feel fulfilled in both our personal and professional lives. Here are some questions to ask your clients to start the conversation:

•    Did you wake up today with your health, surrounded by people you love?
•    Are you still challenged by the work you do?
•    Do you have plans and dreams, and experiences still posted on the drawing

From their answers, you can then work together on a life-centered plan that allows your clients to live the best life possible with the money they have—without having to wait until they turn 62 (or older).

And that is just about the best gift you can give to someone!


Mitch Anthony advises financial services organizations throughout the world. An industry pioneer, he is a popular speaker and consultant, and the developer of MyFLPTools, a subscription-based service that provides a suite of discovery tools for financial services professionals. He and Steve Sanduski have developed the Retirement Coaching Program and ROL Advisor to help advisors build a Life-Centered Planning™ practice. A regular contributor to Financial Advisor magazine, Mitch is the author of more than a dozen books including the industry bestseller, StorySelling for Financial Advisors and The New Retirementality, now in its fourth edition. Contact Mitch at [email protected] or visit