As a life planner, my business proposition is to help clients achieve a degree of freedom they have probably never known before in their personal lives and their dealings with money. However, freedom definitely does not mean being able to do anything, anywhere, anytime, any place.

Rather, freedom means being able to achieve what is important in one’s life, free from the pain and suffering so often associated with the money that, to use an old expression, makes the world go round.

In the life and money context, freedom is not necessarily achieved by wealth, although there is no doubt that money can move things forward. It is achieved by knowing where you want to go, putting in a financial and life structure to get you there and, most importantly, setting boundaries that are not crossed.

Structure and boundaries can be seen as the equivalent of a cage, but within that cage, there is freedom to move and grow. Structure and boundaries are more equivalent to the transport network. They limit your freedom to go anywhere and everywhere, but help you to get to where you want to be.

In financial and life planning, the most important structure we need is a spending plan, which also provides the most important boundary. Keeping the boundaries sacrosanct ensures we don’t end up in trouble later.

But staying within one’s self appointed structures and boundaries is often difficult. It can seem easier to tear down the structure and cross the boundaries when the going gets tough. But actually, going through the pain, maintaining the structure, preserving the boundaries can and will result in greater freedom than jumping ship, something that both St Benedict and the Buddha (two key influences on my life and thinking) recognised.