The Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed over 2,500 years ago that life itself is all about change.
Just think about the many changes we have faced, or will face in our life; death of a parent, change in the market, career change, change in homes, children changing schools, change of health, change in relationships, change in cash flow needs, change of purpose, change in marriage, change from divorce, and of course the change which results from transitioning business ownership.
In fact, the only constant is change. Yet self change is difficult at best. Just think about the problems people have overcoming problems of smoking, alcohol, over eating, to name a few. Let’s face it. Whether we are fearing it, or managing it; CHANGE CAUSES STRESS.
Fewer than 30% of business owners have a written succession plan. In the end, most music retailers will fall short of their ideal exit plan for reasons that are well within their control; yet poor behavioral habits derail their long-term success.
Psychologists tell us the obstacles to change does not stem from lack of motivation or sheer willpower; it is the lack of having the right model to change behaviors.
There are two valuable books I routinely refer to which does a great job in articulating the psychological issues of change; Changing For Good (Prochasak, Norcorss, & DiClemente) which explains a theoretical basis of what allows people to change process; and Facilitating Financial Health (by Brad Klontz, Rick Kahler, Ted Klontz), which explores the emotional impact of money.
Below, Dr. Klontz summarizes the six – stage change process as follows:
1-Pre-contemplation. At this point clients don’t know or believe there is a problem. They simply don’t know that they don’t know.
2-Contemplation. In this state, clients acknowledge that there may be a problem. They begin to understand that their current painful situation might not totally be someone else’s fault.
3-Preparation. This is the stage when clients make a commitment to change. Dealing with their financial problems, or at least one aspect of their financial life, becomes a priority.
4-Action. This stage is the one that most facilitators would recognize as “real change.” It involves a client able to implement and carry through with a plan for change.
5-Maintenance. At this stage, clients are learning how to consolidate new behaviors and make them a part of their lives. The facilitator’s role includes helping them use their new tool consistently.
6-Termination. Another term for this stage, describing what actually happens, is “integration.” By now, clients have little or no temptation to revert back to old behaviors. They have integrated a healthier self-image and have made healthier financial habits as part of their lifestyle.
The Certified Financial Board defines financial planning as a process of determining whether and how an individual can meet life goals through the proper management of financial resources. In my view the definition is too narrow because it shifts much of the decision making power and potential for positive change to the financial planner.
A better definition for financial planning I coined several years ago is a values-based conversation to help individuals organize & understand all aspects of their financial life, necessary for making sound financial decisions.
In this paradigm, the financial planner is a guide, or as the mental health profession likes to call a “facilitator.” This model transitions financial planning to financial life planning. In 2009 I created a tool to help communicate your financial self, called MoneyCapsules®, which is at the heart of our succession planning process.
A financial planner which places personal values before dollar values can help you better respond to change by helping you harmonize money with all parts of your life.
As the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said: Making a big life change is pretty scary. But, know what’s even scarier? Regret.