Purpose Drives Financial and Life Planning

Do your clients desire to be rich? The word “rich” can be defined as possessing great material wealth, and it can also be defined as that which is abundant, meaningful, and significant. Therefore, what kind of wealth do your clients desire the most? Do they want to experience a life of riches or a rich life? 

Author Pamela York asks a similar question reflected in the title of her book, How Much is Enough? She writes, “The question is deceptively simple, but the answer is critical to integrating money with other aspects of your life and finding happiness.” 

In Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, bestselling author Daniel Pink presents the latest research in human motivation and explores how individuals establish and pursue goals. His review lead him to conclude that satisfaction depends not merely on having goals, but on having the right goals. In other words, Pink learned that everyone (including your clients!) can dramatically increase their rate of success by first determining a meaningful and internally motivated “why” for each goal pursuit. 

...individuals with purpose-based goals experience higher levels of satisfaction and well-being Click To Tweet

For evidence, Pink points to a myriad of studies based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT)―a model of human motivation that is concerned with supporting our natural or intrinsic tendencies to behave in effective and healthy ways. This widely accepted model was developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, psychology professors at the University of Rochester, and is now used in research around the world. 

According to Deci and Ryan, goal pursuit and attainment are highly influenced by “the degree to which people are able to satisfy their basic psychological needs as they pursue and attain their valued outcomes.” These studies showed that individuals with purpose-based goals experience higher levels of satisfaction and well-being, and also reported lower levels of anxiety and depression. 

Pink summarized the conclusions of the researchers in this way: “Even when we do get what we want, it’s not always what we need.” In fact, these studies revealed that what we really need is a sense of purpose. Therefore, taking time to help your clients evaluate their pursuits, based on this essential psychological need, will increase their awareness of the “why” that underlies their aspirations. This will also form a strong emotional connection to their goals and strengthen their commitment to stay on course to achieving them. 

In addition, it is also important to remind your clients that money can provide more avenues or options for achieving their most cherished goals, but financial resources alone cannot produce the essential ingredients of a rich and rewarding life such as happiness, good health, loving relationships, and meaningful activities. 

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