April 2023 | Can spirituality and wealth co-exist?

Apr 1, 2023 | PSL Newsletters

Money epitomises wealth and possessions. But on the other hand, spirituality focuses on letting go. So, can wealth and spirituality co-exist?
Money epitomises wealth and possessions. But on the other hand, spirituality focuses on letting go. So, can wealth and spirituality co-exist?

They can, and I noted last month that a good relationship with money could accomplish this. In this newsletter, I explain how to achieve this in practice.

I spent over thirty years advising clients about their lives and money. As a result, my client’s relationship with their money became central to my work. Helping clients achieve a good relationship with their money also became instrumental in the evolution of my career from a financial product salesman to a financial planner, financial life planner and finally, a life coach.

The alternative to greed and fear

I was inspired and encouraged first by my clients (the older ones in particular) who told me that, whilst it was vital for them to become financially well-organised, they wanted to achieve a less money-oriented, more spiritual life, one where their money stayed in the background and was a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Then, around the same time, I began to connect with colleagues from the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and the informal Nazrudin group. They showed me how to help clients become more aware of money’s humanity and reconcile the often conflicting emotions that money precipitates.

And during my early career, I had treated money as an end in itself, and greed and fear dominated my life. However, with the help of colleagues, friends, a counsellor and mentors from my church, I worked out how to live a less material, more spiritual life. In so doing, I developed a process for achieving a good relationship with money and balancing wealth and spirituality which became the foundation of my practice.

My process helps you ensure your money makes your world go round without becoming the centre of your universe. In particular, my technique enables you to understand what it means to have enough and be enough, to define success in your terms, not those of others, and to achieve meaning and spirituality by focusing on making a difference to others.

THE FUTURE PROCESS

FUTURE stands for Foundation, Utopia, Transformation, Utilisation of Resources, Roadmap and Engagement. It consists of six evolving stages ideal for helping empty nesters who have survived parenthood to organise their money and lives so they can grow wealthy and thrive spiritually in the years to come.

Foundation

This stage is about self-discovery and self-awareness. Indeed, the scientist in me still believes in the power of data, and I recommend you begin by collecting as much information as possible about yourself, your family, your life and your money.

In the meantime, develop a clear awareness of who you are, how others see you and how you fit into the world by examining your thoughts, feelings, values and behaviours.

Draw up financial statements of your assets and liabilities and your income and expenditure. Then, use a spreadsheet to project these into the future to see if your liquid assets run out before you do. You can use this lifetime cash flow to model your options and alternatives later.

I know from experience that “guesstimates” of key life metrics such as expenditure, health and networks are often inaccurate and worthless. However, today, there is a plethora of inexpensive technology to help you measure essential metrics and build an accurate foundation of personal and family data.

Utopia

During this stage, often the most difficult, you create a picture of your future life and a timeline of when you want to achieve specific goals.

It is now that you begin to define what success means to you. Spirituality is about letting go; this is your opportunity to reflect on what it means to have and be enough. Spirituality and happiness also come from focusing on others, not yourself, so think about finding meaning and spirituality by using your resources to make a difference to others.

Start to cost these out so you can put them into your lifetime cash flow. Remember that daily living needs to be costed out. You may decide to live more frugally or extravagantly or stay as you are.

Transformation

You will encounter obstacles as you begin to make changes. Overcoming these challenges leads to personal growth and transformation, which is why this stage is essential. Roadblocks may be practical, financial and emotional, internal and external. Your plan begins to form around your solutions to these obstacles.

Developing resilience and cultivating a happy and positive mindset will help. Resilience covers all aspects of your life and will ensure you can survive life’s fastballs. Carrying out our resilience self-assessment is an excellent place to start. Similarly, keep a gratitude journal and list three good things that happen daily. And if you find yourself using ‘but’ in your speech or writing, try replacing it with ‘and’ and see how your mindset becomes more positive.

Emotional or internal obstacles, fear especially, are often greater than practical or financial obstacles, so be imaginative and creative in your approach. Build a professional support team, be bold and ask for help. Your team could include a life coach, therapist, spiritual adviser, careers adviser, personal trainer, business coach, financial planner, accountant and solicitor.

Utilisation of resources

Money does make the world go round and is an essential resource. However, tools such as your lifetime cash flow and the cascade will help you determine what is enough so that money does not become the centre of your universe.

Work out how your other resources, such as your skills, experience and connections, can best further your goals. Some resources, such as your skills, may need upgrading or further development. Therefore, you may want to spend money to make them more useful.

Change is at the heart of FUTURE. You will need to change and create change in others to make a difference, so understanding the change process is essential.

Roadmap

Create your roadmap for change, which will include aspirations, goals, activities, dates and priorities. In addition, have a personal development or mind, body and spirit plan. Finally, develop your financial plan, consisting of your projected lifetime cash flow and lifetime liquid assets charts, and decisions about asset allocation and financial products.

Engagement

Most people begin to make changes from the moment they begin the process and start to measure their situation in the foundation phase.

However, expect change to happen in stages. FUTURE is an iterative process in which you often return to your plans, review, adjust, and revise them. Execution involves living your plan daily, monitoring progress, checking your expenditure of time and money, and keeping sight of your goals.

Engagement may be in phases, especially if your starting point is one of weakness rather than strength. In this case, you can spend time consolidating and rebuilding within limited boundaries before moving on to a second stage of real goal achievement and expanding boundaries.

Engagement also involves a formal review of your plans, at least annually. Return to Step 1 and start over. Each time you do this, it becomes easier. Your self-knowledge is in place and gets more profound. Your goals may or may not change. Your resource plan needs maintenance rather than full-blown restructuring. Your roadmap needs updating. Engagement is ongoing.

RIGHT MONEY, RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME

You can read more about life, money, meaning and spirituality in my book. Right Money, Right Place, Right Time is a wide-ranging, personal book in which I advocate treating money as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Using perspectives from life coaching and financial planning, I describe how to always have the correct money in the right place at the right time to live and breathe, find freedom, and transform our lives and the lives of others.

The book will help you to

  • Achieve a meaningful lifestyle now, and financial security for the future
  • Understand how fear and greed influence decisions about life and money
  • Make your money work as hard for you as you do for your money
  • Rethink what “wealth” really means to you, and understand what it means to be enough and have enough
  • Sleep at night free from anxiety and live meaningfully and purposefully by day

With its unconventional approach, quirky illustrations by Tim Bulmer and Clang and real-life stories, this book will transform your relationship with money.

NEWS FROM CRAZY FOR CHANGE

Finally, you will see some changes coming up. These are mainly changes of style rather than substance and will reflect a move to a more personal brand and away from the Crazy for Change and Living Money product brands.

I will still focus on providing coaching, courses and a community to help my audience find meaning and grounded spirituality by using their resources to create change and make a difference.

However, as I respond to demand, and being conscious of my experience with personal finance, my knowledge of the spirit and humanity of money and the trailblazing work I have done to help clients develop a good relationship with money, you will see a shift towards dealing with money as a starting point to a more fulfilled life.

After all, money does make the world go round. Just don’t let it become the centre of the universe.

References and acknowledgements

Photo: author

Deedes, Jeremy. Right Money, Right Place, Right Time – Personal Finances to Transform Your Life and Secure Your Future. Rethink Press Limited, 19 Jan. 2015. (See also https://wordsnotdeeds.co.uk/rmrprt/)

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so share your thoughts in the comments box below, and thank you for your time and generosity.

What do you think?

Your views are important, and your fellow readers would love to hear your opinion, so share your thoughts in the comments box below, and thank you for your time and generosity.

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