Moving from Financial Planning to Financial Life Planning 

Elizabeth Jetton, CFP®
Principal, RTD Financial Advisors

August 2009 |

Financial life planning is an integrated and humanistic approach to address personal financial issues. Financial life planners help individuals focus on their values and motivations, determine the goals and objectives they have, and then use these values, motivations, goals and objectives to guide the planning process and provide a framework for making decisions that have financial and non-financial implications. The objective is to help individuals to make decisions that support their ability to maintain a quality of life at every stage of life. At the core of financial life planning is the process of “discovery,” with an emphasis on asking meaningful questions. A thoughtful open question will generate deeper thinking on the part of the client, unleash new insight or inspire clarity and direction. It is this type of interaction and planning that is particularly valuable as an individual plans for retirement, as well as considers whether to retire.

To be truly client-centered is to view the individual in terms of all of his or her resources. Financial life planning is a holistic process that applies traditional financial analysis within a framework of the individual’s life and total resources. This involves consideration of the geo-financial, bio-medical and psycho-social components of life. Like financial assets (geo-financial), other aspects have a direct relevance in financial life planning once considered. Expanding questions about retirement preparation to include the individual’s environment highlights planning possibilities and possible additional constraints.


© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017