My husband and I have decided it’s time to get focused and organized when it comes to our family financial planning. We have lots of plans and need help working toward those plans. As entrepreneurs, our focus has primarily been on building companies and paying bills. We are more than behind when it comes to 401s, 529s and IRAs.
We recently enlisted the help of the most amazing, talented Jude Boudreaux of Upperline Financial. In the two meetings we’ve had with him, my husband and I have had conversations we’ve never had before. Prior to our meeting, Jude asked us to think separately about our own personal vision for ourselves and our family. For example:
If we had everything we needed and all the money in the world, what would life look like?
We took turns sharing our visions with each other. As the chatty one in the family, it felt good to shut up and just listen to what my husband’s hopes and dreams for himself and our family are. He is so hopeful and optimistic–an unexpected reminder of why I fell in love with him in the first place.
Then it was my turn, and he walked away with a greater understanding of where I’m coming from and an appreciation for why it’s been harder for me to articulate my hopes and dreams lately. You see, I’ve been in the trenches running the home operations and haven’t had quite as much mental freedom to dream big.
Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the diapers, the carpool, the doctor appointments, the playdates, the parenting.
Jude reminded us that in a relationship, there is a Ying and a Yang. The heaven (the dreamer) needs the earth (the grounder) and vice versa. Both are important and energize each other. This made me feel less inadequate. If we were both dreamers, we’d never land anywhere. My role is just as important as his, and I am grateful for his dreams because they inspire me. I think he is grateful that I’m here to make sure his feet touch the ground every once in a while.
The most exciting part of these preliminary exercises about our vision for our future was that we discovered a lot of similarities, shared goals and values. I think we’ve always known in the back of our minds that our ideas for the future were similar, but we never really put them down on paper and discussed them in a safe, nonjudgmental way.
One of the exercises was to think about what we would do if we knew we only had 5-10 years to live. This was my answer:
- I would start writing letters to my children.
- I would spend time with my family.
- I would make things, sew things, be more creative.
Jude was curious about why I would start writing letters to my children.
If I were to leave this earth early, I want my children to be able to read my letters and hear my voice so that they will always have me near. I want them to know how I feel about them and what my hopes and dreams for them are. I want them to know my thoughts on everything from perms (as in don’t get one) to the importance of buying good sheets (even if it’s the only set you’ve got). I want them to know that time heals everything, that tomorrow is always a new day, that love is the only thing that matters and that tattoos are permanent. I want to prepare them for breaking hearts and broken hearts, that the body is a temple and that it is to be honored. I want them to know that in our family, we work hard for everything we have, and that everything we have is to be shared. I want them to know that we are stewards of this earth and that when they feel they are just a drop in the ocean, they can be certain that the ocean would be less without that drop (to quote Mother Teresa).
Because my husband and I both expressed a strong desire to ensure our children are prepared for a world with or without us, Jude thought the idea of writing letters to our children would be a great way to do that.
Our “homework” was to start writing letters. I created gmail accounts for each girl and I wrote my first letter. I share it with you today in the event you feel this might be something worthwhile. Email is so easy and you can even attach links, photos, videos, etc. Obviously, technology changes so quickly, so I suspect I will have to “upgrade” things to microchip clouds or brain scans but it’s a start.
How do you share your hopes and dreams with your children?