Life planning has shaken the financial services industry because it puts the client first, not their money and not products. It does this by asking the client what they really want, not as part of a client questionnaire or data gatherer, but in the context of a profoundly trustworthy relationship dedicated to the client and their freedom. We do this by listening, within a personal conversation that clients often call one of the most meaningful of their lives.
These conversations end with a vision of greatest freedom for the client that has typically at least one of 5 themes and often all five. I call them the five pursuits:
1. Family, or relationship
2. Wisdom, often represented as spirit or values that frequently include kindness, generosity, honesty, integrity, authenticity, spiritual practice and compassion.
3. Creativity, usually in the arts, but often in business.
4. Community, giving back, participating, collaborating.
5. Earth, a sense of place, a longing to live in the country or the city and a passion for a sustainable planet.
These are our values. Clear and simple. But they are not the values of our civilization as we’ve structured it. Where in our institutions of commerce, nonprofit or government do we find support for ourselves as individuals in each of these areas? In how many hierarchies of power across civilization do we find figures of wisdom at the top or all the way through? Could it be none? In a Golden Civilization such wisdom would be everywhere. It is no wonder that society’s levels of distrust and cynicism are sky high. Our values are not the values of those in power. How could they be? If the primary motivator of our economic and political system is self-interest rather than self-knowledge, if the mechanics of our systems assumes our primary value is the freedom that money can buy rather than freedom itself, and maximizing freedom for all, how can we expect to trust or respect the institutions around us? If money is the measure of freedom then one person or an oligarchy can capture it all, and then what kind of society would we be?
Life planning clarifies our values. And it delivers freedom everywhere. Now in thirty countries, we discover that we share much the same values across all cultures. In a democracy, our political lethargy is misplaced. In a democracy, we determine how our systems work. Isn’t it time that we life plan civilization so that it serves who we are and who we want to be?
I think so, and so do many Registered Life Planners across the world who have begun to lead Golden Civilization Conversations. Why are they often the leaders of these conversations? Because they’ve seen what life planning delivers into their clients lives, and into their own lives. It delivers freedom. It maximizes creativity, good heartedness and innovation. It delivers an entrepreneurial spirit that hierarchies of power can’t match, because at the deepest level they can’t touch our hearts. Life Planning maximizes the efficient allocation of human resources because it is dedicated to delivering each client into being the best human being they can possibly be. What better civilization could there be?
It’s time we delivered a sustainable democracy, a sustainable planet, and a sustainable and Golden Civilization everywhere. In short, it’s time to life plan civilization.
George Kinder, CFP®, RLP®, is the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and designer of trainings for client-adviser relationship skills. His new book, A Golden Civilization and the Map of Mindfulness is available now.