Tool Examiner: Defining True Wealth

This “Tool Examiner” article looks at the Defining True Wealth tool.

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.” What does being “rich” mean to you? Financial security is an important goal, but is it enough? Is money the only resource we need to experience the good life? As a Financial Life Planner, you will want to answer these questions for yourself as well as guide your clients to reflect on these important issues.

The Defining True Wealth questionnaire was designed to help individuals to reflect on and articulate their personal definition of success in their work, family, and financial lives. The process of reflecting on the questions and writing their responses will help individuals to identify whether or not their definitions of success in each area of life are compatible. In other words, can they strive for success in each area (based on their own definitions of success) and still maintain a sense of life balance?

The Defining True Wealth exercise will help individuals to clarify their values and to focus on what is most important to them. Satisfaction in life multiplies when an individual “spends” personal resources (time, energy, skills, and money) on what he or she has identified as being most important to him or her. Clarifying values and identifying priorities are essential steps to creating a financial plan that clients will “buy in” to and “own.”

At the close of your initial “get acquainted” meetings, give the Defining True Wealth questionnaire to your clients. Ask them to complete the questionnaire and to bring it with them to your next meeting. It is also appropriate to introduce this exercise with an established client at a review meeting to make sure financial goals and plans support what is most meaningful to the client. If you are meeting with a couple, give each individual a copy and ask them to complete the questionnaires independently.

In completing Defining True Wealth, urge your client(s) to allow themselves enough time to reflect on the questions and to give thoughtful consideration to their written responses. Encourage your clients to be candid in their answers and to respond with their own feelings and beliefs, and not what they think they “should” write. Remind your clients that there is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. The purpose of the questionnaire is to help them clarify what is most important to them, and to guide you in giving financial advice that will support their life goals.

Review the completed Defining True Wealth questionnaire with your client(s) at your next meeting. Ask him or her if the exercise was helpful. What insights about themselves did they gain? If meeting with a couple, discuss the similarities and differences in their responses. Did this exercise increase their understanding of their partner’s values and priorities?

Note: The Defining True Wealth tool is included in Money Quotient Licensing Level 4. For information about becoming an M.Q. Licensee, please e-mail info@moneyquotient.org. “Tool Examiner” articles take an in-depth look at a specific tool from within the Money Quotient suite of Financial Life Planning® 1-on-1 Practice Tools, and provide tips and techniques for successfully using the tool with clients.

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