Three Questions

Over the last week I have been reading George Kinder’s book “Life Planning for You: How to Design & Deliver the Life of Your Dreams”. I wanted to share one of the main ideas of the book that I think is spot on, yet all too often missed in conversations with financial advisers.

Too often, reasons to seek out a financial advisory firm center around the investment planning area. Maybe a client has an old 401k that needs to be managed into an IRA, or quite possibility there could be tax issues that need to be managed as a client transitions into retirement – these reasons are good reasons to meet with a CFP®, don’t misunderstand that.

However, one of the most overlooked, yet invaluable reasons to meet with a financial planner is to begin to discuss the type of life you want to live and how to fund that life.

Think about it as part therapist and part strategist.

I want to introduce three questions that George created that can begin to give you an idea of the types of conversations that can take place, to provide you great feedback on your ideal integration of your future and your finances.

George first introduced these questions in his 1999 book “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity” and they are now being widely used across the globe in many different languages, helping to facilitate great conversations of discovery.


Question 1:

I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to satisfy all of your needs, now and in the future. The question is…how would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams.

Would you change your life and how you would you do it?

George Kinder and the Kinder Institute of Life Planning © 2010

Question 2:

This time you visit your doctor who tells you that you have only 5-10 years left to live. The good news is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live? Your finances remain as they currently stand.

Would you change your life and how would you do it?

George Kinder and the Kinder Institute of Life Planning © 2010

Question 3:

This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Reflecting on your life, both all your accomplishments to date and all the things that you will leave unfinished or undone, ask yourself:

What did I miss?

Who did I not get to be?

What did I not get to do?

George Kinder and the Kinder Institute of Life Planning © 2010


Establishing a relationship with a financial planner should be about receiving clarity on the logistics of getting you to live your best life. You should accept nothing less. What’s amazing to me is the number of firms that don’t think that this is their ‘job’ or what the client has hired them to do.

Trust me, those firms that ‘think this’ will either die a slow death as their assets continue to decrease, their growth rate stalls, and competition for clients only gets tougher, or they will be sold at a very low multiple to a firm that is leading in this area.

Times are changing within the advisory business and it will be interesting to watch these changes take place over the next decade or so.

Ryan