Whenever I facilitate a workshop on finance the very first question I ask the participants is WHAT ARE YOUR FINANCIAL WISHES? Most of the participants are stumped by this question.
In The story of Aladdin’s Lamp the Genie once released from his imprisonment in the bottle asks Aladdin. “WHAT DO YOU WISH’ I refer to this fable to illustrate a point. When Aladdin was confronted with this question he hesitated, and like most of us, he did not have a list of specific wishes. He had a vague idea of what would provide the most immediate pleasure and comfort. He did not have a working plan and he did know what he wanted. I ask, the Genie’s question a little differently. What is it you to accomplish financially? The common response is “You know I have never really thought of that.”
At the beginning of a workshop on finance I get those same reactions. So let’s see if I can help guide you to achieve your financial goals
It is Tuesday night and you are watching reality television wishing you were one of those rich people or one of those getting rich doing their show. You wished so hard that the Genie appears, “Give me a list of the ten things you want now and they all will be yours in five years. You will receive the first one in January and the second one in June and every year after this for the next five years. There is only one catch; you must name these ten things in 120 seconds.”
How many of you are able to do this now? Stop reading and get your, I phone, I Pad, purple, yellow or blackberries and begin writing taking only 120 seconds to complete the list. How was that for you, did you complete your list in 120 seconds or were you mystified, dumfounded, and exhausted, well you are not alone you are just like 90% of the population over the age of 20.
Kids know what they want; we have all seen or experienced with a child who wants a particular toy, they know the name of the toy, they know where it is sold, what colour it is, how much it cost and they also know you will move heaven and earth to get it for them.
The Genie feels sorry for you and decided to give you another chance. He tells you “I will be back in seven days and if you have those ten things listed they will be yours.”
What are you going to do, are you going to turn off the television, and get your note-book or one of those berries and begin writing or are you going to do it after this particular show is over? It is all your choice, remember. The decisions you make today determines the life you live tomorrow.
You decided you are starting now. The first list you created you set aside, NO! You say out loud as you jump out of your chair, this is not what I really, want. You start again. This time you date and time the second page and begin, using the previous list as a reference, you look at the list again and will see the things you know you need, also what you don’t want.
Here are some things you might have on that first list.
- Be happy,
- Have good health
- Have a fancy car
- Eat at superfine restaurants
- Have a big House
- Buy designer clothes and shoes
- Want to be comfortable
- Get married
- Have a family
Now here is a list of the things you need and want to accomplish.
- Stop borrowing money to buy things
- Bring my current debt up-to-date
- Pay off all my debt Buy a Home
- Create a small only God knows fund
- Create a Big emergency fund
- Buy a house
- Open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan
- Save my children’s education
- Have an annual vacation
- Pay off the house
A very different list from the previous one. Are these better choices?
Try creating your own list using the above as a reference.
When you have these things in place, peace of mind, happiness and contentment will follow, and your Financial Advisor aka Genie will have guided you to reach your financial goals.
It requires some practice and it will definitely take much more than 120 seconds to get it right but it is worth doing.
Let me know how you felt before and after the exercise.