Brené Brown writes, “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” Are you chasing a moment in the future? When you retire?

A couple of years ago, I met with two new clients – both who had Ph.D.’s and were quite intelligent and financially successful. These busy doctors engaged me for a retirement plan. But to get there, they first needed a Perfect Day Bootcamp. I was nervous over not just taking the data and cranking out a plan. I wondered how they would receive my opening exercise – the Gratitude Exercise?

I sensed they wanted a bottom line in dollars and cents for all they had accumulated – not a lesson in self-help. Over a working lunch, I explained that day one of our engagement involves very little about finance. It was all about identifying what they really want in life. 

“It’s not about a retirement plan or being financially secure. It’s about an all-encompassing picture of what is most dear to you. This picture is your Perfect Day, and the first step in crafting this picture is the Gratitude Exercise.”

I asked them to list ten things they were grateful for and their top five experiences they’d had in the last year. Once the lists were complete, I asked them to share what they had written.

I will never forget what followed: As Dr. Husband put his fork down, his posture changed. I thought for a moment that he was choking but he wasn’t. He was “choked up” in a different way. When he regained his composure, he explained just how grateful he was for his wife and the things he had been taking for granted.

In an instant, I realized that part of my job description was tomove clients to new depths of gratitude. A new version of my Perfect Day emerged: it was no longer me climbing a mountain and celebrating. It was the time I spend with my clients, who are grateful for one another and also grateful for a process I designed that turns traditional “retirement planning” on its head.

Excellent retirement planning should focus on time, resources, money and also the things you are most grateful for. Usually these include love, health, family, and yes, travel, boats, and a mortgage-free house! 

It involves taking inventory of your core values and what these mean to you. It also means having an advisor, who aligns your financial plan and retirement roadmap so that these are in sync with the items you’re most grateful for in your inventory. 

Are you ready to define your Perfect Day? If so, sign up for your free 15-minute consult. I promise it will be a life-changing.