Tool Examiner: Personal Insights about Planning and Goal Setting

This “Tool Examiner” article looks at the Personal Insights about Planning and Goal Setting tool.

Many individuals are reluctant to set goals because of prior unsuccessful experiences.  Another common reaction is feeling intimidated or pressured by the goal setting process.  Negative feelings about goal setting can short-circuit the Financial Life Planning process.

Before beginning the goal setting process, it is helpful for both you and the client to uncover his or her attitudes and concerns about setting goals.  Helping the client to recognize his or her feelings about goal setting is an essential step in creating a meaningful and effective financial plan.

Personal Insights about Planning and Goal Setting is a tool that can be used at the beginning of the goal setting process to help your clients gain insight into their attitudes and beliefs about setting goals and making plans.

If working with a couple, give a form to each individual.  Encourage your clients to complete the statements quickly with the first response that comes to mind. After your client has completed this exercise, ask him or her questions such as:  “What did you learn from this exercise?”  “What are your feelings about goal setting?”  “Do you regard yourself as a ‘planner’?”  “Do you like to plan ahead or are you more likely to take life as it comes?”  If working with a couple, also discuss the similarities and differences in their responses.

The conversation around the completed Personal Insights about Planning and Goal Setting tool will provide you with an important understanding of your client’s outlook on creating and sticking to goals.  This may also be a good time to provide your clients with the “When SMART Goals Are Not Always Wise” article.  This client handout can be found in the Practice Management Resources Library, which is located in the “M.Q. Resources” area of your password protected account on the M.Q. website.  The “When SMART Goals Are Not Always Wise” article offers your clients an alternative way to think about goals as well as an engaging, right-brained approach to establishing meaningful life-centered goals.

The completed Personal Insights about Planning and Goal Setting tool is an effective adjunct to the Goals for Life and Clarify Your Goals worksheets.  Completing this exercise prior to introducing the other goal setting tools will increase personal awareness and thus improve the effectiveness of the goal setting process.

Note: The Personal Insights about Planning and Goal Setting tool is included in Money Quotient Licensing Levels 3 & 4.  The “When SMART Goals Are Not Always Wise” article handout is available to Licensing Levels 2-4.  For information about becoming an M.Q. Licensee, please email 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 materials, and provide tips and techniques for successfully using the tool with clients.

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