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Where is your freedom today?

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If you had to rank how free you feel today, as a number between 1-10 with 10 being the highest level of freedom, where would you rank yourself?  What does that freedom mean to you?

For me, my freedom meter lays in my ability to choose how I spend my time on a daily basis. Am I able to wake up in the morning and devote my day to doing the things that I am passionate about and gain happiness from? Do I get to spend my time with the people that mean the most to me? For me a perfect 10 would mean that my entire day is devoted to these things and the people that fill my life with happiness. This is the holy grail.

Every day, Endeavour’s Network's Director of Branding, Junice Savares, sends me a text and asks me where my freedom is that day and I ask her the same.  Today as I am writing this I am at a 7 because I have blocked off the day to work offsite on strategic projects that are important to our business and in particular the aspects of our business which give me the most joy. Throughout the last year, when I have responded to Junice’s texts, I would say that my average freedom level has been somewhere between a 3 and a 5. Why so low? Well I would say that like many people I have let the external forces in my life dictate how I spent the majority of my day vs. being intentional about utilizing my time as effectively as I want to on the things that matter most to me.

But finding your freedom isn’t going to happen overnight and that shouldn’t be the expectation. It’s certainly a process which begins with discovery and remains a constant pursuit. For me, I have committed to trying to achieve a freedom level of 8 for myself this year and I have asked Junice to hold me accountable on that, as I will be for her in her pursuit. But despite the fact that this process is a marathon, what I can say is that my feeling of freedom and my ability to accomplish more, both increased immediately as soon as I took the first steps.

So what are those first steps? Well the only way to get to where you need to be is to first determine where that is that you want to go.  In this case, if  you are not feeling like you are living the life the way you wish to, you need to define what that freedom looks like.

Just a few days ago, a client of mine paid me one of the best compliments I could receive. She said that for the first time, after reviewing her financial plans and projections, that she finally feels free. She feels free to think beyond the basic needs she will have for the rest of her life, knowing that she will be financially able to live the life she has dreamed of. What’s really special is that now that she has achieved and feels that freedom, her mind has been opened to the possibilities. She no longer asks the question, “am I going to be ok” and instead asks “what else can I do?” “What other impacts can I have in the community and for the people I care about?”

For many people, the largest barrier to achieving their freedom is financial stress. It can stem from a variety of sources, such as high debt levels, job loss, unexpected expenses, or a decrease in income. In my experience, I would summarize the route cause of financial stress as the fear of the unknown. The fear of not knowing whether or not you will be ok in the future. If you will be able to retire when you want to. If you will be able to provide for your children’s education. The uncertainty of simply no knowing if you are on track. The effects of financial stress on a person's life can be significant and can include increased anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and even physical health problems. This stress can also have a detrimental impact on relationships, both personal and professional, and can lead to decreased productivity at work.

Source: https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/private-company-services/images/pwc-9th-annual-employee-financial-wellness-survey-2020.pdf

This is one of the reasons why I became a financial services professional in the first place. There are very few professions out there which have the ability to have such a positive impact on the quality of peoples lives. To not just help people to live a better life today, but help people to achieve their life’s ambitions. What is special to me about this is the fact that we know that these impacts don’t just stop with one person. If we are able to successfully help one person to achieve their dreams and goals, that has an exponential impact as it in turn helps the people around them. As financial professionals we need to continually remind ourselves of the importance of this responsibility which we have to the people we serve, and never take it for granted.

Source: https://www.theexperience.work/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/pwc-2019-employee-wellness-survey.pdf#page=1&zoom=100,0,0

Despite the challenges posed by financial stress, there are steps that financial planners can take to help alleviate these concerns. One of the most important things a financial planner can do is to help clients understand their financial situation and provide them with a clear picture of their financial situation and help them to make an informed decision about their future.

Before I close things off, I want to make one last point about the pursuit of freedom. For too long the focus in personal finance has been around safety, protection and putting off ambitious goals until a later date. All of these things are important and need to remain part of the conversation, but we also need to make room for more. We need to work hard to achieve and move on from the questions of “am I going to be ok” to “what else am I capable of?”

One final anecdote. Every morning before my daughter leaves home on her way to school I get her to say “I can do anything!” At 2 years old I hope that she believes it. I have the same hope for all of the other people I serve.

Grant White, CIM®,CFP®

Grant White is a Portfolio Manager / Investment Advisor at Endeavour Wealth Management with iA Private Wealth Inc, an award-winning office as recognized by the Carson Group. Together with his partners he provides comprehensive wealth management planning for business owners, professionals and individual families. This information has been prepared by Grant White who is a Portfolio Manager for iA Private Wealth Inc. and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of iA Private Wealth.

The information contained in this newsletter comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. The information contained here in may not apply to all types of investors. The Portfolio Manager can open accounts only in the provinces in which they are registered. iA Private Wealth Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. iA Private Wealth is a trade mark and business name under which iA Private Wealth Inc. operates.

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