Financial Planning As Life Changes

Financial Planning As Life Changes

June 08, 2016

By: Michael and Toby Goostree

The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” Though most of us agree that change is inevitable, we often live our lives wishing he were wrong. We tend to be creatures of habit, uncomfortable with the unknown, so we dread and resist change, even when it is positive.

Change Is A Gift

Change is not a bad thing. Change is a gift. How so, you might ask? The change brought about by the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss; how can any of that be a gift?

Even when it is heartbreaking and uncomfortable, every change is often followed by an opening and opportunity that would not have presented itself if things had stayed the same. Even the saddest events can lead to a stronger sense of meaning, a new direction or a rekindled passion in our lives. Change creates the space for transition, which translates into the opportunity for learning, growth and a new outlook. Many aspects of our lives actually open up during times of transition. A change in one area can open new and unexpected doors in relationships, career, residence, hobbies and dreams.

Change often comes with a built in “time out.” It allows us the chance to take a step back and evaluate our lives and how they are progressing. Instead of keeping our heads down in the daily grind of our usual routine we have a moment to look up and ask ourselves, “Is this really the direction I want to be heading in?” Transitional moments provide us with the opportunity for soul-searching, where we can take a step back and discover something about ourselves and our relationships and choices. Not everyone takes advantage of the opportunities that times of transition allow. If you don’t purposefully stop and reflect the moment can pass you by.

It can be hard to pause our lives in such a way. It’s in our human nature to be uncomfortable with uncertainty. We are conditioned to seek quick fixes and immediate resolutions. We Americans, especially, want to constantly be seeing forward progress and positive results. We are too impatient to wait to see how things unfold, we want to know how the story ends ASAP.

This is precisely the attitudinal danger that leads to financial mistakes and heartache. Inappropriate decisions made in haste can have lifelong effects in every area whether it’s moving across the country to avoid being alone or making a poor investment just to feel like you’re doing something. As Susan Bradley says, “When life changes, money changes; when money changes, life changes.” Any time you face a major life change it will affect your finances. Managing the effect can be crucial.

Financial Planning During Times Of Transition

Often, when life throws you a curveball, your financial planner will want to meet to rewrite your comprehensive financial plan in light of your new reality. They will want to sit down and discuss re-titling accounts, risk tolerance, time horizons, and taxes.

But who really cares about those things when their life has been turned upside down? If you are mourning the loss of a life-long companion are you really in a state of mind to be making investment decisions? When your life has been newly turned upside down, are you really in a position to be making 10-year forecasts?

Though most financial planners are well-meaning, they fail to recognize the mental and emotional state of a client going through a major life transition. Instead of developing a full comprehensive financial plan, most people should be doing just the bare minimum to get by until they are in a better emotional and mental state to be making decisions.

Transition Planning At Goostree Financial

Bill Bridges, in his book Managing Transitions: Making The Most Of Change, says, “Change is situational, transition is different, it’s psychological. Transition is a process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of a new situation that the change brings about.” If change is a gift, then Financial Transitions Planning is the art and science of helping people “unwrap” that gift and make the most of it.

At Goostree Financial, we recognize that most financial decisions should not be made in the midst of a transition. During change, a client is rarely prepared to make all the decisions that the change may seem to bring, much less to make the best decisions for their new life. We believe it is best for a person to take the time to fully transition, internalize and come to terms with their new reality, before making important decisions.

You shouldn’t feel guilty that you aren’t prepared to make major decisions immediately after a life change and you certainly should not feel pressured to do so. Usually, at such times your focus is not on your finances and your time and energy are best spent elsewhere until you are in a place where you can clearly focus on financial matters. Until that time, you should do the least possible.

Instead of a fully updated comprehensive financial plan, what you really need is a simple organization to allow space for you to breath until you are more able to tackle some of the myriad of decisions that change brings. We work with clients to set up a simple plan that allows them to do what must be done immediately while putting off what can be done later, so as to avoid the harm that rushed decisions can bring.

Remember, the only given is that there is change - we can’t control it, but we can control our reaction to it.

If you are experiencing a life change and need someone to help with the financial side of things while you process the rest, give us a call at (913) 663-1144 or email We would love to sit down for a complimentary consultation with you to discuss your situation and how Goostree Financial Group can help you through it.

About Michael Goostree

Michael Goostree is the founder of Goostree Financial Group, an independent, father-son financial consulting firm serving individuals, families, and business owners in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. With more than 45 years of experience in the financial services and insurance industries, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the table in regards to retirement planning, wealth management, and insurance. Believing plans are the key to success, he focuses on building comprehensive and personalized plans for every client he works with. To learn more about how Michael may be able to help, connect with him on LinkedIn, call his office at (913) 663-1144, or email him at

About Toby Goostree

Toby Goostree joined Goostree Financial Group in 2006 after completing his graduate degree at the University of Arizona. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ professional with over 10 years of experience and has worked, over the past two years, to become a Certified Financial Transitionist™, an expert in the stages of transition as well as the way to approach it. His ideas have appeared in The Wall Street Journal. To learn more about Toby, or how he can help you, connect with him on LinkedIn, send him an email, or call him at 913-663-1144.