Your Meaning of Money

August 14, 2020 | Paul Chapman


Money matters. Most of us recognize (or try to!) that success isn’t defined by money alone. We often hear and confirm that ‘money isn’t everything’, but we have to admit that money is always deeply personal and emotional to almost all of us. Financial philosopher and director of the Integral Finance Center, Richard Wagner, offers a concise definition: “Money is an agreement on how we exchange the best we have to offer. Money is the most powerful and pervasive secular force on the planet.” And, quite often money is an agreement of the most sacred sort. “I am trading what has been paid for with my heart and strength for a promise you are making in return.” What price was paid to gather this money? This is where we begin to discover the meaning of money.

Numbers and facts tell us what clients have. But they don’t tell us how hard they worked, what they had to sacrifice, who has and will benefit, who inspired them, the hardships they overcame, the pain and joy they’ve experienced in the journey, partnerships made and broken, the amazing breaks and bad fortune navigated in gather the assets those numbers represent.

There is usually a multi-generational and dramatic story linked to each individual’s money – stories of hard work, sacrifice, risks taken, miserable failure, and fortuitous breaks. There are stories of fortunes lost and fortunes found and obstacles overcome. There are other stories of traitors and benefactors, adversity, and peril. Each personal money story has its roots in the lives of our antecedents and the price they paid to help us gain a footing in this life and continue on through our lives to our heirs and the shining hopes and ambitions we carry for their betterment. These dramatic stories continue on through them and the generations and dreams they spawn.’

Money goes deep.

Investment Advisors aren’t about selling a simple product or service anymore, or shouldn’t be. People want you to understand the depth and meaning of their money. Most advisors fail to get to the heart of what is really important to people and what their money really represents. Financial planning is largely quantitative in nature, but one needs to grasp the larger context in a client’s life – it’s about them, not just their money.

An advisor shouldn’t be there to challenge – challenging someone’s darkest fears about money is not a place we need to go. Giving choices and guidance is the preferred path.

So, the time has come to address each client relationship at a higher level – as a deep and lasting connection with a life story in progress.

Money means something different to every individual. And it’s integral in everything they do, we need to define what it means and what it can do for you. I can help find and define that with you - through genuine curiosity and empathy. And with process, we will find the best path forward, together.