This month’s blog title might have caught your attention. Rather than the stock market or coronavirus, we are talking about crushing dreams and a Valentine’s Day gift. If you stick with me, you will see where we tie these into financial planning.

One Day. Two Meetings. Two Titles.

The day started with a financial review meeting for clients of ten plus years. These clients are also great friends, so our meetings are often filled with stories, laughter, and some (very) direct guidance. Soon into the meeting, the wife shared how her husband referred to me the previous day: “The Dream Crusher.” I burst into laughter as I knew exactly what he meant.

In the early years of our meetings, his dreams, desires and wants were often met with a direct “No.” If you don’t have the cash saved for the purchase, home renovation or trip, then, “No.” Delay pleasure. Delay gratification. Don’t pay for these with interest of 5% to 29.99%. No, you can’t use emergency fund for “the trip of a lifetime.” These decisions so often come back to bite you.

The Dream Crusher. The title is fitting.

Valentine’s Day Gift

Fast forward a few hours that same day. I was meeting with clients I hadn’t met with in several years due to various life circumstances. They apologized several times for not coming in to review their financial plan. Some time into the meeting, the wife shared that this meeting was her Valentine’s Day gift to her husband (I clarified later that our meeting was more of a gift to them as a family). I was silent…and shocked. “Your Valentine’s Day gift?” I asked curiously. How could our meeting together mean that much to her?

She shared that she was continuously thinking about money and worrying about it. Some of the same concerns she had several years ago she still had today. Coming to their financial review meeting brought peace to her as we discussed steps to make financial progress.

I can see financial peace being a Valentine’s Day gift…quite a good one I would say.

Reconciling the Two

I wrote an article three years ago about living in the good and bad of life. We are often prone to paint life as all good or all bad, depending on the circumstances. This can be the case with other people as well. We see a public servant fall morally and can paint them as all bad. On the other hand, we see our life circumstances turn the corner positively and think it’s all good from here. We know there are peaks and valleys of life. Solomon wrote about these instances in Ecclesiastes 3: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

So how do I reconcile the two? Some days, yes, we are the Dream Crushers, advising clients to not take a path they so desire. And sometimes, we are hopefully a gift to our clients, guiding them in financial matters that bring long-term financial peace.

Ultimately, our clients are the decision makers, not us. It’s their money (although I would argue it’s truly God’s money for which they are to oversee and manage).

Through the years, I have found great wisdom and peace by asking for help and guidance from others. I don’t have to have all of the answers. I must lean on my resources just as our clients must lean on theirs. Left to ourselves, we are prone to wander!

Maybe the year 2020 is a year of finding more dream crushers and gifts in our lives. Maybe 2020 is when you realize your dream crushers can be gifts.

*For financial planning clients of Rivertree Financial Planning: Please contact us as soon as possible if you have had any changes in circumstances, objectives, goals or risk tolerance.