What is the Most Important Piece of a Puzzle?


Most of us have put together a jigsaw puzzle at some point in our life. But if I asked you, “What is the most important piece of the puzzle?” how would you answer?

Well, my co-host Steve hit me cold with that question and it led to a great discussion about the importance of vision and clarity in building a successful financial plan and living a fulfilling life.

iTunes Between Now and SuccessIn today’s episode, we also share a few of our favorite quotes and discuss some of the lessons learned behind them. We even got a few chuckles from sharing some “funny” quotes about money.

As we near the end of the year, I want to thank you for being part of the Keen on Retirement community and taking the time to listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts. We are truly grateful for the opportunity to work with you and we look forward to an amazing 2017.

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Insights From Today’s Podcast

1. Over time, financial goals tend to evolve from broad and long-term to granular and near-term.

I recently met with some folks who were on the cusp of retirement. It brought to mind the idea that how we look at goals changes over time. When you’re just starting out, you might have some broad goals that are long-term in nature as you work towards being independent at some point.

Then as you start to transition into retirement and live in retirement, now your goals have to be pretty granular. You start asking yourself, “What do we need every month in our bank account after taxes to meet our obligations? What do we need in our accounts for travel? What do we need to allocate for our medical expenses? What do we think the expenses are going to be, and then what could the worst case be? What about other issues outside of the box that we’re not thinking of.”

Those are all very important financial issues that we have to answer and have in an updated plan.

2. Three questions can help guide you when trying to decide if it’s time to retire.

As you approach retirement, it might be helpful to think about how you’d answer these three questions.

  1. Do I have enough money to retire?
  2. Have I had enough of what I’m currently doing?
  3. Do I have enough to do in retirement?

I think those three encapsulate what retirement means and how people need to be thinking about it and framing it going forward.

The first question is usually the easiest to answer because we have an extensive way of coaching people through that so they get it right. Once we figure that out then number two is going to be the second easiest to figure out. In doing this for more than two decades, question two can create some anxiety as people do a mental tennis match and ask themselves, “Should I, shouldn’t I? Should I, shouldn’t I?”

Question three is the fun part. It’s figuring out how to spend your time with your new freedom.

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3. Money can change your perspective about what it can–and cannot–do for you.

“Money. Those who don’t have enough of it are only aware of what it can buy them. When you finally have enough of it, you become aware, acutely aware, of all of the things that it cannot buy, the really important things.” That’s from a gentleman named F. Paul Wilson. That really spoke to me as I was preparing for today’s show.

It reminded me that money tends to make you more of what you already are. For example, if you were ungrateful before you had money, you’ll tend to be more ungrateful after you have money – when you realize that money wasn’t your answer.  If you were kind and generous before you had money, you’ll most likely be more kind and more generous as your resources grow.

Also, it’s a good reminder of that old saying about the best things in life are free. Things like relationships. A warm, sunny day. We take so many good things for granted that it’s a good idea to regularly take time out to be grateful for what we have and not lament what we’re missing.

4. Paying attention to the little things puts you in a position to thrive when the big things come your way.

I’ve always said, “You’ve got to take care of the little things first, so you can graduate to the bigger things.” Take lottery winners as an example. Someone could get 100 million dollars dropped in their lap and look up and within 36 months, it’s gone. How is that even possible? It happens all the time.

People who can’t effectively handle a small amount of money are highly unlikely to do a good job handling a lottery windfall. That’s why I’m a big believer in the power of taking care of the little things.

It’s about having the discipline to be a continuous learner so you are ready when new opportunities arise. It’s about paying attention to the details by crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. By consciously paying attention to the little things, you’ll be in a great position to handle the big things when they come your way.

5. You tend to only see what you look for…and that could cost you.

A lot of what we do at Keen Wealth Advisors revolves around the psychology of investor behavior. We can get the facts right, but if we make an emotional mistake it can upset the apple cart. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the noise related to investing and make a bad decision.

There’s a part of the brain called the reticular activating system that decides what it’s going to weed out, or not see. If you focus on things that are negative, negative things will grow. If you focus on things that are positive, positive things will grow. It’s just like planting a rose bush in fertile soil, or planting something that is poisonous. The fertile soil will grow either. I try, on most days, to plant positive things in my “fertile soil”.

Just for fun, take a couple minutes and watch this video.

Simon and Garfunkel were right, “A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” It’s so important to make sure we’re focusing on the right things.

Bill Keen on the Holiday Season…

We hope everyone can enjoy this Holiday Season, really relax, and take a moment to reflect back on the things they’re grateful for.

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Got a question or comment? Email it to me and we’ll get back to you or call our office at (913) 624-1841. 

Bill Keen is the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, an independent Registered Investment Adviser serving affluent clients preparing for retirement and the host of the Keen On Retirement podcast. Bill brings more than 20 years of financial services experience and holds the CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR designation. Bill created Keen Wealth Advisors to build one of the country’s most personal and trusted wealth and retirement advisory firms. 

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