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Your Definition of Success: Lives of Significance

From President Matt Kane

We’ve been reflecting recently on our mission statement and how it informs our day-to-day work. It’s a simple yet motivating statement.

“To free families to lead lives of significance…”

This is how we define our ultimate success in our work with you. It’s not the accumulation or appearance of wealth. It’s practicing wise stewardship and being focused on freedom so that you might create and grow in your experience of true contentment.

As food for thought, here are a few questions we like to ask about priorities in planning.

  • What did I learn as a child that contributes or detracts from my view of the financial world today?
  • How do my family and I define financial success today?
  • What brings me the most fulfillment in my life right now?
  • What do I wish I had the freedom to do more?
  • Have I spelled out the foundational values that ought to govern our decisions about giving, saving, spending, investing, etc.?

Speaking of Priorities: A poll conducted last year by the Wall Street Journal shows an adjustment to priorities from previous generations:

Our current society’s “get rich quick” focus is taking its toll. Some point to the 1980s as the biggest jump in this attitude towards money being the most important value—by the onset of the Great Financial Crisis, the finance industry accounted for more than 8% of GDP, which is roughly where it stands today. A decent chunk of that growth started in the 1990s as Wall Street financed the IT revolution.

What do you think? Does money reign as a primary value in our present-day society? Where does it fall as a value for you? We would love to join the conversations you are having!

$600 Summer: 

From Erin Radano, Client Service 

I have three girls, aged 12, 11, and 5. As we thought through this summer and what goals we wanted, our list of “have to’s” (which was primarily about friends and swimming), we also discussed the idea of hard work, money, and investing. The discussion revolved around things they wanted to save for—things they wanted to buy or do. I had heard an idea about setting a saving goal for the kids and giving them the freedom and creative space to figure out how to make that money. So, we introduced the idea of the $600 summer (at least to the older two!). It’s simple in concept: make $600 (give 10%, save 50% and spend 40%). Immediately, the ideas were churning—dog walking, babysitting, lemonade stands, weeding. Creative ideas began to surface—taking people’s trash cans to the curb before the trash truck arrives, for example. Here’s the takeaways:

  • Success: If they succeed, they will be proud of what work they did. They will work together on most things, learning how teamwork can often be more productive. They will learn what ideas worked better than others. They will learn that making money can be challenging. They will (hopefully) learn that the value of money isn’t in the money itself but in who they become in the process.
  • Failure: If they fail at meeting their goal, they will still be proud of their work. They will still have learned that working together is valuable. They will learn in greater measure what ideas worked and which didn’t. They will (hopefully) learn that being a Radano doesn’t mean you will automatically succeed but that we value the process of learning in failure and success. They will know that they haven’t failed in what we value most, only in reaching a financial goal that we will continue to work towards.
    This summer will be one of learning in very real and practical ways. We will be talking about money, entrepreneurship, planning, creativity, opportunities, and time management. My uncle will do a short investing course with them to teach them the basics of investing. Why? Because involving others in the discussion to learn how others relate to money has value.

When they reach their goal, we plan to buy them one thing they want and take them out for a celebratory dinner. It’s all very simple in concept but has significant lasting value in how they relate to money. (And for those worried about them—95% of their time will be spent playing!)