BOOKS

From the back cover:

Each of us carries within a secret yearning - a yearning that, as time and life march on, often becomes a secret sorrow. That yearning will be different for each of us, as it is the most deeply longed-for expression of self. Only to the degree that we - each of us - are able to bring forth our own heart's core will our lives feel fulfilled, truly worthwhile.

In Life Planning, we call this heart's core yearning the "dream of freedom. A dream of freedom has to do with unfolding our most profound values and richest potentials as individuals and merging them into our daily lives.

What does this dream of freedom have to do with financial planning - with money, investments, net worth, cash flow? At first glance, it may seem an odd juxtaposition. Certainly, our heart's core and our balance sheet both have to do with "value." And both refer to a sense of "worth." Yet we rarely equate financial analysis and strategies with our own most deeply felt and tender passions.

It is our view that financial planning, as a profession, offers clients the most comprehensive opportunity to discover and integrate a financial life plan that in fact melds meaning with money. No other professional can help the client unveil his or her most profound dreams and values, and then articulate a financial strategy that empowers successful implementation.

Many financial planners recognize this unique opportunity to serve their clients, and - intuitively - do their best to help them achieve a life worth living by applying their financial expertise to achievement of purely financial goals. Others build long-term, personal relationships with clients as they guide them through life transitions that have large financial implications. What has not been available to planning professionals until now is training in a methodology and a skill set that can provide a consistent and successful process with clients, leading to that moment that we call "lighting the torch."

COLUMNS

Print Magazines

Advising Boomers

March 2006

Column: Money and Meaning: Money and Happiness

“Money can’t buy happiness.” How often have we heard that belief stated as fact? It’s even been reported that Americans have eight times the wealth of their ancestors, but are no happier. On the other hand, the lack of money doesn’t seem to buy happiness either. Which leads to a simple, but rarely asked question: “Do money and happiness in fact have anything at all to do with each other?" Read it here

December 2005

Column: Money and Meaning... Got Empathy?

“I don’t have any empathy.” THE PLANNER SPOKE DIRECTLY to Susan, nodding his head in the direction of a booth display for the Kinder Institute, where “empathy” was one of the qualities listed in relation to effective Life Planning. He didn’t say it aggressively, or even assertively. It came out more as a simple statement of fact. Momentarily nonplussed, Susan looked him in the eye and saw that he was being quite sincere, and even looking a little sad about it. Read it here

September 2005

Column: Money and Meaning... Listen, Then Inspire

Financial advisors have a delicate balancing act to accomplish, leveraging weighty and emotional life issues in one hand with rational investment and risk management choices in the other as they walk the tightrope of comprehensive financial planning over the abyss of lost dreams and failed expectations. Read it here

May 2005

Column: Money and Meaning...Finding Your Inner Peace

It is in the nature of money to flow. Like water over the earth, or blood in the body, its movements carry the nutrients of life to all parts of the societal body, and carry away what is spent or finished. Where the flow of money cannot reach, our life in the world withers and fades.

Similarly, within us, meaning must flow, to enliven our actions, to inform our choices, to channel our energies. A meaningful life is a life worth living. Otherwise we merely exist, increasingly hollow and lifeless within. Read it here

 

Worthwhile (now MOTTO)

May 2005

Column: Your Money-Life Vision

Without a vision for a meaningful life, we may default to living for money and what we believe it can do for us. Using money to acquire the outer trapppings of a happy and worthwhile life ignores the truth that the life worth living must unfold from within.

February 2005

Column: Finding Real Financial Freedom

How we pay, spend and save (or not) are three big indicators of money maturity. They can reveal money habits that are draining away passion and vigor for a worthwhile life. These habits are usually anchored by resentment, blame or complaint.

November 2004– Premier Issue

Column: Cash Clash

We each have a collection of ideas or beliefs about money: what it is, how it works and how to relate to it - a kind of subliminal software. Because early messages about money contain a kernel of truth, we seldom realize that these are simplistic and guaranteed to fail evenutally. When innocent messages fail, leading to pain, the result is a "structure of suffering" in regard to money. How can we "un-install" this primitive software?

 

 

 

Managing the Transition to Retirement (Podcast)

A new podcast series from Financial Planning magazine featuring Susan Galvan, as an Industry Expert, discussing Second Careers for Retirees.

ARTICLES

March, 2007 – Journal of Financial Planning

Psychology and Life Planning by George Kinder, CFP®, and Susan Galvan

Because of the depth of mutual trust, the sense of intimacy, and the encouragement of positive life changes that occur in the life planning relationship, many planners express concern that such an approach implies that they would somehow be taking on the role or functions of a psychotherapist. This article, adapted from the recently published book, Lighting the Torch: The Kinder Method™ of Life Planning, addresses those concerns. Read it here.

March 2007 - Financial Planning Magazine

Article: The Client-Centered Advisor by Galvan, Anderson, Garrett and Swift

"What matters most?" This question lies at the heart of the four relationships that anchor the client-centered advisor in a richly fulfilling professional practice. What matters most to me, my clients, my peers and my prospects?

A professional who embraces these types of questions is grounded and client-centered. This article will attempt to communicate key philosophies and best practices for client-centered advisors to give financial planners a new way of thinking about fiduciary duties, service delivery and public communications. Read it here

November 2006 – Wealth Manager Magazine

Article: The Heart Piece, by George Kinder and Susan Galvan

It’s the heart piece that’s been missing,” remarked the young planner who has blazed a dazzling career path. Smart, experienced, he has built a business that has been successful beyond the wildest dreams of most of us. He has the knowledge base, the entrepreneurial and management skills, the team-building expertise, and a genuine warmth that leads to client hugs on a regular basis. Read it here

April 2005 – Journal of Financial Planning

Feature: EVOKE™, A Life Planning Methodology, by George Kinder and Susan Galvan

Financial planners have always consulted with their clients concerning their goals, typically from the point of view of money goals rather than life goals. Quantifying future goals and doing a technical analysis of factors such as risk tolerance, age, and retirement income needs have been the norm. Moreover, a client's internal messages about money can sabotage even the best of these financial plans. Today's economic environment is, however, complex, and inspires an approach that is both more nimble and more penetrating. Views of retirement—what it is and how it may look—are rapidly changing. Opportunities to re-vision the future at any age exist for both client and planner, allowing a joint exploration of meaning and purpose in the client's life. To allow this deeper and more realistic approach, the advisor and the client must build higher levels of rapport, a relationship based on trust and greater self-knowledge. Read full article now: Read it here

March 1, 2005 - Financial Planning Magazine

Practice Tips: Improve Your Relationship Skill Set

Financial advisers can be caught off guard when faced with the emotional reactions clients may experience in response to financial life circumstances. Transitions of any type can produce strong emotions. Think of all the important life events where you may be expected to provide advice: birth, death, marriage, divorce, disability, job loss, new job, disaster, new home, relocation, and more. Read it here

RESEARCH

Specific Elements of Communication That Affect Trust and Commitment in the Financial Planning Process

Deanna L. Sharpe, Carol Anderson, Andrea White, Susan Galvan and Martin Siesta

This study used survey data from 554 planners and 128 clients of those planners to examine the relationship between specific communication tasks, communication skills, communication topics, and client trust in and commitment to their financial planner and to the financial planning process. Communication skills significantly correlated with client trust and commitment were identified, providing an empirical basis for best practices in the financial planning process. Results provide empirical support for CFP Practice Standards relative to planner-client communication tasks and for planners taking a life planning approach to the content of planner-client discussions. In AFCPE's research journal, Financial Counseling and Planning. Read it here.