The Sound of Money: Curing Financial Pain

by Jaimie Blackman • in
  • Issue Articles
  • May 2018
• Created: May 2, 2018

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Hindsight is usually more revealing than foresight, so when I reread a listing of topics I wanted to explore in my November debut 2017 MMR column, I was surprised to note that I had missed the most obvious and the most important point.

In the November column I summarized six broad themes to help MI retailers explore: 1) Grow and monetize intellectual capital; 2) Train employees to be value creators; 3) How to get profitable customers to keep coming back; 4) Build a culture of knowledge sharing; 5) Implement a customer leaning process; and 6) Accelerate business value now and maximize value when it’s time to exit.

Few would argue that this is an unimportant agenda. Still, is that all? My epiphany was that I omitted the owner’s individual “wellness capital:” happiness. How have the financial obligations of family and business impacted deeply longed-for dreams and heart felt aspirations for the MI store owner? Let’s face it, financial stress can knock us off our path and keep us living with regrets.

The fear of money scarcity, or the confusion of money greed, can derail non-financial goals like physical health, or time deprivation, creating a displacement to value-based priorities.

In 2008, I participated in a workshop presented by George Kinder, author and Buddhist teacher, who is known as the father of financial life planning. Kinder has been a mentor and inspiration to me as I continue to develop the financial life planning aspect to my wealth management practice. Improving my client’s relationship with money is at the core of my philosophy.

In Kinder’s book, Lighting The Torch,he asks three profound questions, which if answered honestly can lead you to a more fulfilled and happier life.

1) I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is, how would you live your life? What would you do with the money? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back your dreams. Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.

2) This time, you visit your doctor who tells you that you have five to 10 years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live? Will you change your life and how will you do so?

3) This time, your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice the feelings that arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do I wish I had finished or have become? What do I wish I had done? What did I miss?

The self-reflection that is capsuled in the above questions could reveal that which you yearn most has been placed at the end of your to-do list.

For example, I asked one of my succession planning clients these questions and she revealed that she had not been taking care of her physical health. She said, “I need time to take care of my physical health. I need to exercise, and watch my diet. Doctor’s orders.”

She went on to say that she had neglected her family in her absence and placed many friends, who she really missed, “on hold.” During the course of this conversation she also revealed a very bad health condition and, if untreated, it could have life threatening consequences.

The obvious question is, “Why wait until you’re 70 to live a healthy and satisfying life?” Intellectually, It just doesn’t make much sense. But of course, most financial decisions are emotional, not intellectual. Just ask the investor who insists on buying when the stock is running up, only to sell when the stock is falling back down.

I’m often surprised how many MI owners have given up their music making moments because of a lack of time. I’m referring to the narratives that place road blocks. “I should do,” or “I ought to do” rather than, “I want to do” or “ It would be fun to do.” Of course, many of the financial decisions we make may not be aligned with our true values. As a result we become trapped with negative feelings like shame, envy, anger, fear guilt, jealousy, anxiety, sadness, depression, and despair.

Financial pain is not just about money. It’s about the lack of meaning we give money and that’s important. Viktor Fankl, Nazi Holocaust survivor, said that everything can be taken from a man, except for one thing: the last of human freedom – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

The cure to financial pain is re-igniting one’s passion. Helping customers connect with their music passion is the “why” we are in business in the first place. For many, money is the real psychic pain that prevents us from lighting our own torch.

So here’s my final MMR theme #7: Helping MI owners create a happy marriage between meaning and money.

Jaimie Blackman – a former music educator & retailer – is a certified wealth strategist and creator of Value-Builder | MoneyCapsules, which capsule value-building activities into 90-day sprints. Blackman helps music retailers accelerate business value now and maximize value when it’s time to exit. Blackman is a frequent speaker at NAMM’s Idea Center. Visit to subscribe to his newsletter and webcasts.

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