February 4, 2010

Financial planning for life…

Posted in Between Us column, Business at 12:54 am by dinaheng

Justin Krane doesn’t just believe in saving money for the future, he believes in spending to achieve the life you want today.

A Los Angeles financial life planner, Krane’s values were clarified in the wake of 9-11, putting him on a personal path to living life to the fullest.

“I had worked in the World Trade Center at Morgan-Stanley in 1994, and had moved to Los Angeles to do financial advising and investment management,” Krane says. “When 9-11 happened, I thought, ‘I could have been killed if I’d stayed in New York.’ I wasn’t happy with where I was in my life at the time.

“So I took responsibility and got my CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certification. My goal is to get into a client’s mind to help them figure out their financial life. Good financial planning is about meaning, purpose and values, centered around money and life.”

Krane says a lot of financial plans focus on investing for the long term, so that clients can do what they want after retirement. But what about today, or next year? How do you balance your financial needs in the present, with investing for age 65 and beyond?

The answer lies in asking yourself what you value.

“I helped a woman adopt a child, because that’s what she most wanted in her life,” Krane says. “We looked at what she needed to earn to adopt and care for a child, and talked about what she would need to do to position herself better with her boss at work. Then we took the money that was going into her 401(k) and used it for the adoption process.”

Most of us give a lot of power to money, thinking that the amount we earn and spend dictates the quality of our lives. We forget that we are the ones in charge of our lives, and that the amount of money that comes to us is influenced by our beliefs about money.

If you grew up poor, you’re likely to fear losing money more than someone who never had to worry about finances. If you felt abandoned as a child, you probably see financial security differently than someone who grew up in a warm, loving family.

Krane says the key to finding the right financial life planner lies not in the questions you ask them, but in the questions a planner asks you.  For Krane, the important questions to examine include:

* Who are you when you’re at your best?

* What would you do if you had all the money in the world?

* If you had five to 10 years to live, and you didn’t know when you were going to die, what would you want to do with your life?

* If you had one day to live, who did you not get to be, or what did you not get to do?

“The answers tell me what’s important to the client, and what they value,” Krane says. “Until you know where you want to go, I can’t help you get there. Financial life planning is all about how to make your life better with your money.”

After all, what else is money for?


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