Ep #116: The Flourish Milestone Meeting: Reimagining What’s Possible

Benjamin Haas |

Our clients going through different phases of planning requiring different advisor focuses over time. There are times when we need to help “fix” problems and other times when we work behind the scenes to make sure the plan is intact while you’re feeling “fine.” There’s a third, less discussed phase though. Listen to Adam and Ben discuss the milestone “flourish” meeting – a special time when clients have the financial and emotional capacity to reimagine what’s possible after working hard to get to a place of contentment.


0:38 Introducing the Financial Lifecycle: Fix, Fine, Flourish
2:11 Diving Deep into the 'Fix' Phase
3:22 Transitioning to 'Fine': Stability and Contentment
5:46 Exploring 'Flourish': Beyond Financial Stability
9:30 Imagining the Possibilities: From Financial Planning to Life Planning
12:43 The Cycle Continues: Adapting to Life's Changes
13:31 Conclusion: The Importance of Flourishing Financially

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00:00:04 Benjamin Haas:  

Hi everyone and welcome to A/B Conversations where we will help you CFP your way out of it. A podcast where you get into the minds of a couple of Certified Financial Planners on how we think and feel about everyday financial planning questions and what should really matter most to you. A healthier financial life starts...now! Hey Adam. Welcome back. Podcast time yet again. How you doing? 


00:00:34 Adam Werner:  

Yeah, doing great. How about you? 


00:00:36 Benjamin Haas:  

Excellent, excellent. I'm tasked with introducing the topic so here goes. Okay, and I will tell you, I know I sometimes say this as an intro to other podcasts but I do have some excitement around this because I think we're going to be talking about something and we'll frame what fixes, but we're going to be talking about something that isn't super technical. It's not a specific situation. It is a way of having relationships with our clients and I think this can help really speak to why we say our job is to align money to what matters in our clients' lives and that really can go through its own life cycle, right? Not just depending on age milestones but the emotional side of our client's relationship with money, from things that need to be fixed to now I feel fine to, we're going to use the word flourish. Thank you, Meghaan Lurtz. What's now possible? So, let's talk about this life cycle and the ways that we as advisors can help our clients through fix, fine, flourish. 


00:01:45 Adam Werner:  

Yeah, it is an exciting one because I think, you know, we've talked a lot about the behavioral side of what we do and planning and finances and all of that and the industry in general is starting to make that tilt as well. I think people are becoming more aware of just kind of what's out there from an advisor perspective but we'll start on that front end with the fix, right? It's the fix, find, and then flourish. The fix is what I think we mostly always, I shouldn't say always, but what we mostly talk about on the podcast. It's, here are the themes, here are the questions, or here are the problems that we see for a lot of our clients or people that are coming to us for the first time. Here are the things we try to help people fix, the fires that we help to put out. It's making retirement decisions. When do I start social security? Am I saving enough? All of these really big picture questions and in that sense, that's usually clients or prospects are proactively reaching out and kind of seeking that help. I identify this problem in my life. I need somebody to help me figure it out. That's on the front end and I think that's what a lot of people are kind of used to when you think about financial advisors or financial planning in general. 


00:03:06 Benjamin Haas:  

Right, and so that's the job for us to put out the fire, fix things, make sure a plan is in place, you know, try to help them implement these things and then I think in the life cycle, especially if we've been working with someone for a little while. You know, you hopefully get to this place of just contentment and comfort. So, this is not a burning issue anymore. Things are going as they should. You know, I'm imagining that this is the time where here we are trying to be proactive with clients and be like, hey, we haven't touched base in a while and they're probably cringing at the idea of a scheduled meeting because, and that's okay. It's because they do feel okay and even in that space, we could probably do a better job articulating to our clients articulating the process that still goes on behind the scenes, right? Even if we're not meeting and I'll toss it back to you. Maybe you have a thought there. It doesn't mean that nothing's going on. It doesn't mean that you're not auditing a plan, but it is important to identify with that emotion of I'm fine. So, you know, we're in an okay place. 


00:04:15 Adam Werner:  

Yeah, it's interesting because I'm trying to think of it from both perspectives, not only our own, but then also on the client side. So, to your point, even if it's, I'll say in that sense, the client is fine, we either send that email or it's a phone call or whatever that outreach is to, hey, we haven't talked in a while, let's just check in. Is there anything you need from us? And then oftentimes the answer is, we're good. Nothing new. We don't need anything. If there's something you think we need to do, then sure, we'll have a conversation. But otherwise, we're fine. But to your point, it's a good problem to have. Right? Because theoretically, there aren't fires to put out. But then, as you said, from our side, there's a lot that happens behind the scenes. It's not that if we haven't talked to somebody in quite a while, it doesn't mean we haven't looked at the accounts, reviewed information, double checked, you know, that everything we have is kind of current and updated on our end. There's still a lot that's happening behind the scenes. But if on our end, there's nothing that really institutes, I'll say a full-on meeting, or if there's not something new to kind of bring to the table that we feel needs to be implemented or needs to be updated, we could be in that fine range too. Again, there's nothing wrong with that. It is a good spot to be in, but I think it does just open the door up to then that next portion. If the client is feeling fine, we're feeling fine. Yeah. Then, what's next? 


00:05:46 Benjamin Haas:  

And that maybe should be the meat of this podcast, because if we think about our goal as planners, it is to check in on your goals and sometimes we found it's too much to try to have somebody think about what do you really want to accomplish or what is the purpose of money in your life while you're trying to fix things. While things don't feel right for you. So I almost want to move our conversation. This idea of flourish, let's look at this as our goal was to get here. This was the destination. We don't want you to live in fine. We don't want to accept fine. This is now a milestone. Let's be excited about this and let's go all the way back to the beginning and go, if you're content, if you are in a place of peace with money and its role in your life, then now is probably a great time to imagine what's possible. What's next for you? How can we take the idea of money in your life to a new level? 


00:06:48 Adam Werner:  

And I know we've talked about, I guess, that idea of aligning people's resources, right? It's the whole tagline aligning people's values, vision, and wealth. Just that whole idea of we're at that point where things feel fine, but then really explore, I'm thinking of particular clients, that it's very hard and I think we just did one recently. It's flipping the switch from saver to spender or in retirement and I think people, a lot of people struggle with that. It's what got me to that comfortable spot, what got me to fine was living within my means, being frugal to a certain extent. You know, all of these things, being a saver, being an investor, all great traits that kind of got them to that point. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with just, I know you said we don't necessarily want people to just kind of live in that fine. Some people will be perfectly content to be there, but I think that's where, to your point, we just want to kind of push the boundary a little bit if there is that nagging sense. Again, I'm thinking of a client that would love to take the kids and grandkids to Disney World in this, big blowout trip, but I'm just worried that we can't afford it or that we shouldn't do it. And they, I think people will just kind of talk themselves out of it financially because of the what ifs. But then our role in that process is to maybe give a little bit of context, give a little bit of perspective and kind of illustrate if you did that, here's what we think the projections may look like and if it's not affected and based on your entire situation, we don't think it's going to make a dent. We really think you have the permission to do what you want to do. We hope people take that and actually then do the things that matter to them with the people that matter to them and not just save those funds for the rainy day that may never occur or again, you can't take it with you when you're not here. This is all under the assumption that people are fine, right? That the fires are put out that they're in a good foundational spot for sure, to be able to do some of these other things. But I think just, I use the word permission. I know we've used that before, but just giving themselves the permission, kind of do these things without fear of negatively impacting their future self is really important. 


00:09:27 Benjamin Haas:  

Oh, there's so much to unpack in there. Good job. So, I look at this as permission was a really good word, but I look at our job as we need to get better at not just giving the permission by saying you have the financial ability, maybe now to let yourself go this way, but to actually create the space for somebody, to go through that thought exercise of what are those things that would just very simply enhance your life, right? It's easy for us to talk about the money spends. It's this extra trip or that's this experience, but you could probably dumb that down even further to just, what are the things that make you happy with the people that you love? And if you had the capacity, whether that's time, whether that's headspace, whether that is money, and maybe it's needing all three of those things. 


00:10:13 Adam Werner:  



00:10:14 Benjamin Haas:  

What brings your life to that next level where there is deeper engagement, there are more meaningful relationships, there's sense of accomplishment, whatever that means to you. It has to be the space where we can really take, I would say that the financial planning gloves off and not, you know, deal with this in terms of dollar and cents. But truly, I mean, we're sounding like we're therapists here and having this conversation, but, and we're not, be careful, but truly give them the space to just talk that out. Like, if you could, what would that mean? And what do you envision? Think of yourself 10 years ago, you admit we're probably a completely different person. We don't really want to admit that. If we can look into the future, what is going to bring you more meaning? And then how can we reevaluate then this purpose of money in your life? If it's not just to fix things. 


00:11:09 Adam Werner:  

Yeah. It goes back to and I know we did a podcast on this. I don't remember which one or what exactly the title was, but just the idea of the line of questioning that is, if you had all the money that you could ever need, what would you then do with your time and with your efforts? Where you just completely open it up without constraint and we all know that resources and savings and money are finite, but it is at least a starting point to explore. If I really felt that I could do whatever I want and money was not an issue, what would I really do? That we can back our way into maybe what's based on your financial situation, what could be possible? Maybe everything that you would want to do is very possible or maybe there's some compromises that need to need to occur, but I think that is just kind of the starting point. Maybe for some people that could, maybe for some people that can be a little bit depressing and thinking, here's all the things I would want to do. And then when you look at the situation as well, but you can't, that may not always be a fun conversation, but I think it's what allows us to do our job of planning and strategizing and taking what they have and trying to align what is important to them with the resources that they have. I think there's oftentimes there's all, there's a lot of easier connections than I think either we or clients may think is possible. 


00:12:36 Benjamin Haas:  

Yeah. It puts us in the driver's seat then, right? Cause if we have that information. Let's not think of this as just completely linear. It's not like at some point you're going to have these fixes, then you're going to be fine, and then it's going to be flourished. There are going to be things that happen in your life that's going to take you through the cycle more than once or back and forth. I'm fine, but now career change, or I'm fine, now a health band had happened. Like now we're back in fix, but if at some point we see you in fine. Then this is our way of kind of asking permission, your permission to just open the door to better understand what could we do? How could we support you to then not just live there, but imagine what's possible so that when we see those things as financially possible, we come back to the spot of putting a plan together that now supports that. 


00:13:26 Adam Werner:  

Yeah, so it sounds so easy. 


00:13:30 Benjamin Haas:  

It sounds so easy. But I hope if there was a takeaway here, I hope it's just to highlight whether we're working together or not, getting you to think about in that flourish space is part of the job and we need to do a better job recognizing that that probably can't happen at the front of the relationship. 


00:13:50 Adam Werner:  



00:13:51 Benjamin Haas:  

You may not be in that space. You're probably either in fix or fine. But when we see you getting to that spot of contentment, then permission to have a deeper conversation on the purpose of money in your life and how we can support that. 


00:14:03 Adam Werner:  

Yeah, and those should be the fun conversations to really just explore really like what matters to people and let's see if we can make it happen. 


00:14:19 Benjamin Haas:  

Appreciate you, pal. Thank you for the help. Hopefully people get a little out of this and again, if we haven't, if you're feeling fine and we haven't had that conversation yet, let's do it. 


00:14:29 Adam Werner:  

It's coming. You got it. 


00:14:31 Benjamin Haas:  

Have a great weekend. 


00:14:33 Adam Werner:  

You too. 


00:14:34 Benjamin Haas: 

Bye! Hey, Adam and I really appreciate you tuning in. Please note that the opinions we voiced in the show are for general information only, and are not intended to provide specific recommendations for any individual to determine which strategies or investments may be most appropriate for you. Consult with your attorney, your accountant and financial advisor or tax advisor prior to making any decisions or investing. Thanks for listening! 



Investment Advice offered through Great Valley Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor. Great Valley Advisor Group and Haas Financial Group are separate entities. This is not intended to be used as tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax or legal professional for specific information and advice. 

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