How to Uncover Your “Aha!” Money Moments  

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. Today, I’m here with Rick McDonald, President of the US Advisory Group – a private financial management company in Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about “How to Uncover Your A-ha Money Moments”. Welcome, Rick.

Rick McDonald: Hi, John. How are you?

What is an “A-ha” Moment?

John Maher: Good, thanks. So, Rick, what is an a-ha money moment? What do you mean by that?

Rick McDonald: An a-ha moment is one of those things we’re all of a sudden, the light goes off. All of a sudden, there’s understanding and purpose of what it is you’re trying to get accomplished, whether it’s money, whether it’s anything. We all get those a-ha moments when all of a sudden, wherever we might be – we might taking a shower in the morning, we might be driving somewhere in long distance at a million miles away, and all of a sudden, things just come together, and you get it.

How do you discover that money moment?

John Maher: Right, right. Okay. So, what’s the process for trying to uncover that money moment?

Rick McDonald: Well, with regard to money, most of us have a disconnect. We put money to work, we manage a portfolio, we’re just kind of vague, ubiquitous thoughts as to why we’re doing what we’re doing with it. And there’s no clarity to it.

An a-ha moment is when all of a sudden, you get what it is you’re supposed to do with a portion of money, and you see that pathway to having that goal, that vision come into fruition. And all of a sudden, there’s clarity of purpose. There’s more objective. It’s purposefulness. And that’s really the issue with money. Most of us don’t have a sense of what the purpose of money is because we really haven’t thought a lot about what it is we’re trying to get accomplished in our life.

John Maher: Right. So, this is — Okay, ‘I’ve got this money but I don’t really know what it’s for or what it means to me in my life.’ And so, the a-ha moment is that moment at which you realize, ‘Okay, I want to have this money for this particular reason.’ Is that right?

Rick McDonald: Yes, it’s all of a sudden, you’re getting what you’re supposed to do. You understand what the goal of finish line is. You can see the resources you’ve got, the money in this case. And you can deploy them away that’s going to give you credibility; credence, confidence that what the money is supposed to do is going to, in fact, happen. And all of a sudden, the clouds clear up. All of a sudden, the sun comes out. And you’re living there with confidence. You’re getting the anxiety that money brings to so many of us just dissipates.

John Maher: Right, right.

Rick McDonald: And that’s the cool part. See, the problem is most of us, as I mentioned — Most of us don’t have purposeful portfolios and just have this vague notion that we need the money to grow to get bigger.

John Maher: Right.

Rick McDonald:  And it’s kind of like running a race.  If we don’t know where the finish line is, we just keep running and running and running. There’ s no sense of accomplishment. There’s no confidence. They were gaining and approaching our finish — where we feel good about what we’re doing.

John Maher: Right. So, you want to try to come up with a plan for what your money is going to be used for, whether that’s what — putting your kids through college, and then, having enough saved up for retirement. Is it ‘Oh, I want to have enough for my retirement and to support my lifestyle, but I also want to have some left over after I’m gone to hand on to the next generation,’ all of those types of things. What are maybe some examples?

Rick McDonald: We’re all different but you’re right. It could be anyone of those or a combination of those. But what we really need to do is think a lot about who are we, what are we trying to get accomplished in our life, what matters most to us?

And from a financial standpoint, some of those goals are going to require money to put up resources, so let’s figure out how much on the realistic expectation, looking at time, looking at growth rates, looking at events that we can control. How much of our resource or the financial resource, in this instance, do we allocate to that specific goal? How do we measure and monitor its progress? So we know that we own the goal. We’re on track to get it accomplished. And that’s what gives us a sense of accomplishment of purposefulness. Confidence.

And again, as I mentioned, alleviating anxiety that so many of us walk around with, knowing do we have enough? Will we ever have enough? Most people are never satisfied? They never surely have enough? They don’t know what that means, and that’s half the problem.

John Maher: Right.

Rick McDonald:  So with a-ha moment, it’s really understanding goal by goal, what is it you really want. Why is it important to get that accomplished. We need very clear sense of the meaning, the purpose, what we’re going to get personally for accomplishing that goal, and then, execution.

John Maher: And how is it that you help your clients to find they’re goals and what they’re trying to save up for?

Rick McDonald: Well, it’s a great question. Most people think that financial advisory is about managing portfolios, building portfolios, managing money.

John Maher: Right.

Rick McDonald: That’s fine. That’s the end result. But let’s back up a lot. Let’s go down deeper. The way to get to your a-ha moment, the way they do this is basically, first and foremost, getting a clear sense of who you are, what you are, what’s important to you, what inspires you, what matters most to you.

And then, from that breaking down a series of goals that are going to give you that satisfaction of having done what you needed to do, should do, ought to do, whether it’s for you and your spouse, food, shelter, clothing, retirement, whatever it may be, for your kids. Helping your kids and support them to the extent you’re willing to, want to, and desire to.

And then, in a larger context, that you live a life that matter to you via supporting your community,  your things that are important – religious, whatever it may be. If we get those all accomplished, now we can come back into the picture and say, ‘Okay, how do we put the money to work?’ ‘How do we structure things in a way that have a likelihood of giving us this completion?

John Maher:  Right.

Rick McDonald:  And that’s really the goal. It’s planning. And when we get that all organized. We get the architecture set up. Then, we can go back into building a thoughtful portfolios that have purpose and objective.

John Maher:  Right. I think that sounds like a great plan. Well, thanks for speaking with me today, Rick.

Rick McDonald:  Thanks for having me.

John Maher: And for more information, you can visit the US Advisory Group website at usadvisory.com or call 781-246-0222.

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