Book review

Bucketing your way to your ideal life

It surprises me that some financial planning businesses talk about goals based advice like it’s something new. Good financial planners in my experience have been doing it for years. There emphasis has always been helping clients identify, review, adjust and achieve their goals.

So the question for advice providers is really about how do you help clients live the life they want? What’s the process and what’s your value proposition?

That topic is front and centre of Clayton Daniel’s new page book called “Fund your ideal lifestyle”.

Clayton’s book is clearly targeted for DIY types but there’s some interesting insights from this once financial planner turned writer that financial planners might use with their Gen X and Y clients. Gen X and are the primary audience of this book and as member of this demographic, Clayton shares some of his own personal experiences in managing his own financial life. Some of these stories are awkward and cringe worthy, but the honesty demonstrates Clayton’s wish to help others avoid the same mistakes.

At the books core, there are three steps to funding your ideal lifestyle. They include: (1) Clarifying your lifestyle, (2) Automate cash flow and (3) Purchasing capital assets. The book spends a serious amount of time looking at spending using a bucket’s approach. And while bucket theory about managing spending isn’t brand new, the authors approach to describing it and identifying how to manage the budgeting buckets does offer something fresh. Clayton takes a methodological approach identifying the buckets, the key issues and then challenges the reader to review and take action on their own situation. There are many exercises through the book that seek to take the reader on their own journey.

If you’re the kind of financial planner who believes cash flow – earning, spending and saving are the foundations of a sound financial plan and goal achievement, this book might be able to add to your own business thinking on how to educate clients to manage their personal situation better. And while the book is aimed at a DIY market, it’s also worth considering what people in this space are doing as it will allow you to develop and refine your own value proposition.

The biggest challenge to a 333 page book like this is that it requires a highly engaged Gen X and Y person to take action all by themselves and read it. Like so many challenges in life, people are their own obstacles to achieving their success. The helping hand of a financial planner might in some cases make all the difference.

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