I was helping someone recently, a newer client. I’ll call her Maddie, sixty-ish and recently retired. What struck me and inspired me to write this was seeing the changes in her in just a few meetings.

People come to financial planners when they’re worried about something. So initially I see people’s trepidation around money and the future. In that state they are mostly skeptical and uncertain. They often realize they could have done better with their money and have some shame and regrets, but they are seeing me because they want to change what has been and make some great choices for the future. Maddie was afraid she’d run out of money in ten or fifteen years.

To see Maddie transition from this stage to someone motivated, excited and confident was a sight to behold! She came in without a spending plan though she had the sense that she was spending too much. Right away we had her gathering up all her monthly expenses and categorizing where the money went. She now knows where she tends to overspend and can make better choices.

Maddie had a few miscues investing and still had some painful memories of the recent bear market. As she was listening to her new investment plan I could see her begin to feel better about the prospects for the future. The value of taking the time to become more educated seemed to have an almost immediate return on investment! Education about investing is one of the best ways to enhance one’s confidence in the future.

What seemed to come together for her was the connection between her spending plan and investment strategy, how in tandem they can help ease the concern about running out of money. And how having a well-diversified investment plan can increase the odds that the money will be there when she needs it.

Best of all is that I was able to witness this transformation and share in her enthusiasm and newfound ease. In just a short time she had gone from regret and worry to excitement and confidence in the future. I could feel her sense of relief and happiness. She expressed great appreciation and gratitude. And I got a hug at the end of the meeting! This is the joy in what I do!