Trainer Spotlight: Scott Frank

Scott Frank, CFA, CFP®, RLP® has revolutionized his practice since earning his Registered Life Planner® designation in 2018. As the founder of Stone Steps Financial, he is passionate about helping his clients align their money with their life, freeing up their time to enjoy what matters most. He is also a co-host of the Real Personal Finance Podcast, where he helps break down listener’s questions on personal finance. Scott is part of Kinder Institute’s North American training team and can be found co-training the EVOKE® Life Planning Training, and assisting with The Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training and the Life Planning Mentorship.

We caught up with Scott recently for our Spotlighting Trainers series and here’s what he shared:

How has Life Planning changed your personal and professional life?

Life Planning taught me that I am not the Hero, I am the Guide. My role with clients is to deeply listen and then help them put their resources to work once we know what is essential to them.

What was a meaningful interaction that you had with a client as a result of Life Planning?

So many. A recent one was a client leaning into their dream of becoming a writer. They have left their previous profession and we have aligned their finances so they can live into their dream!

What made you interested in becoming a trainer with the Kinder Institute?

I wanted to deepen my understanding with Life Planning. The best way I know of to deepen my knowledge is to teach.

What piece of advice would you give to new Life Planners?

Be attentive to I, Me, Mine thoughts. The challenges that come with learning EVOKE® often come back to allowing yourself to listen deeply and allow your I, Me, Mine thoughts to go, while letting the feelings be.

What is one practice management tip that you would give to new Life Planners?

Pace yourself. Life Planning all of your clients at once can be a heavy lift. Find a cadence that works well for you and stick with it.


Scott Frank is the founder of Stone Steps Financial, a financial planning and investment management firm located in Encinitas, CA that helps families and professionals align their money with life. He is passionate about pursuing a life-long learning model in order to best serve his clients and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), and Registered Life Planner (RLP®) designations. Scott was named to Investment News 40 under 40 in 2019 and has contributed to numerous articles on personal finance for the Los Angeles Time, CNBC, the Washington Post, and USA Today. When he’s not helping clients pursue their financial goals, you’ll find Scott co-hosting, Real Personal Finance, where he and another financial advisor break down listener’s personal finance questions into easily digestible answers, training advisors the EVOKE® process at the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, surfing, or hanging out in Cardiff, where he lives with his wife and two boys.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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Trainer Spotlight: Thom Boot

Thom Boot RLP®, has been a Registered Life Planner® since 2008. As the founder of Thomorrow Life Planning, based in the Netherlands, Thom helps his clients find what matters most to them and then helps to deliver it. He also works with both advisors and entrepreneurs. Thom is a Kinder Institute trainer and can be found co-leading a 2-Day Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training, an EVOKE® Life Planning training, or coaching Life Planners during a Mentorship Program or Life Planning Mastery. A native Dutch speaker and fluent in both German and English, Thom assists with trainings all over the world!

Thom Boot, Registered Life Planner®, of Thomorrow Life Planning

We caught up with Thom recently for our Spotlighting Trainers series and here’s what he shared:

How has Life Planning changed your personal and professional life?

I live my life with more confidence, trust and meaning–both personally and professionally.

What was a meaningful interaction that you had with a client as a result of Life Planning?

The client dared to quit his job and gave himself a year of discovery and reflection. As a result, he is working his dream job now and his personal life has improved significantly. In other words, he is happy!

What piece of advice would you give to new Life Planners?

Your work will never be so fullfilling as it will be as a Life Planner.

What is one practice management tip that you would give to new Life Planners?

Trust the proces of EVOKE®, go out there and choose it or lose it!


Thom Boot, RLP® studied International Economics at the University of Tilburg and became involved in financial services in the early nineties. Starting as a financial advisor, Thom became an entrepreneur in 2000. He first met George Kinder in 2003 in the Netherlands and became an RLP® in 2008. From then on his focus was on Life Planning and founded his company Thomorrow Lifeplanning. He co-founded the Association of Life Planners (VLPN) in the Netherlands and inspires others to work in this wonderful profession. In joining the Next Step Factory Collective (NSF), Thom is also helping entrepreneurs to make a difference. His own next logical step was to become a Kinder Institute trainer in order to share and inspire others. Last but not least: Thom is living his life plan! Thom is co-trainer on both the Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training and the EVOKE® Life Planning Training and hosts the Mentorship program in the Netherlands.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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Practice Management Tip: Integrating Life Planning into Your Business

After a training with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, you are full of inspiration and energy and excited to share what you have learned with your clients. A successful way to introduce Life Planning to your audience is tell your own story of attending the course and how it is impacting your life.

We are always thrilled to hear from recent graduates who jump right in, start living their own Life Plan, and invite their clients to experience their journey.

Check out how Michael Morton, who recently completed The Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training, shares his story in a newsletter to clients. We thought it was a great example of how to connect with clients, share a personal reflection from the training, and invite clients to consider how they could benefit from getting Life Planned.

See the main text from his newsletter below:

Ask not what you can do for your financial well being but what your financial well being can do for you

By Michael Morton, ChFC®

We all know the importance of saving for the future. Retirement planning, budgeting, saving – most of the financial planning industry is focused on the future. Delaying gratification means that you can live out your last days comfortably and engaging in all the things you always dreamed of doing such as traveling, gardening, golfing… or whatever it is that makes you happy.

We also feel the need to carpe diem: seize the day! Tomorrow is not promised. It is likely you know someone that retired only to develop a fatal illness shortly thereafter, rendering his or her savings and retirement planning futile.

What’s the best plan? Suffer today in the hopes of a comfortable tomorrow? Spend what you have now because the future is not guaranteed? Surely there is a way to balance the scales.

I had the pleasure of attending a 2-day training with the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. It is a program designed for financial planners to help their clients build a Life Plan. How can financial planning help you live your best life both now and in all your years to come? Through financial life planning, you can discover if your resources (time, money, energy) are fully aligned with your values. Maybe buying a house, driving a nice car, and having 2.5 kids is your goal, but for most that is just an expectation.

During the training, I had the opportunity to reflect on what’s truly important to me. One thing became clear: I value my time and want to ensure I spend it doing things I love. My “ideal day” was a vision of hitting the ski slopes with my kids for some exercise, bonding, and fresh mountain air. It was easy to step into that dream, I made it happen the following week.

Think about your Life Plan. What can you make happen in 2021?

What I’m reading

What I’m Listening To


Mike Morton, ChFC® loves helping busy entrepreneurs and tech professionals with careful, smart, and custom advice so that you can enjoy life now and grow your money for the future. Mike is Founder of Morton Financial Advice, where he works closely with only a small number of clients to provide year-round financial planning and wealth management. Together, we define your goals and implement a plan to reach them successfully.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in Kinder Institute of Life Planning’s blog, Money and Meaning.

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Trainer Spotlight: Mary Zimmerman, CFP®, RLP®

Mary Zimmerman CFP®, RLP®, has been part of the Life Planning movement since its early days. As the owner of PATH Financial Strategies, based in Arizona, USA, she uses her skills as a Life Planner to find out what is most important to her clients and builds a financial plan to support that. Mary is a Kinder Institute trainer and can be found leading a 2-Day training, co-leading an EVOKE course, or coaching advisors during the Mentorship Program.

We caught up with Mary recently for our Spotlighting Trainers series and here’s what she shared:

How has Life Planning changed your personal and professional life?

I had afternoon plane tickets for FPA National in California on September 11, 2001, having signed up for an interesting pre-conference training entitled “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity®.” By that afternoon, planes had been grounded and the entire conference called off. Therefore, I was determined to attend in the fall of 2002. And, oh my! It was a particularly potent year for change and this training propelled many of us forward. I made friends for life in those two days.

The 2-Day training resonated with me in a deep and profound way. I learned a new framework for understanding the impact of money in our lives and a new process for talking to clients about it. But more importantly, I experienced for myself just how much emotion and meaning we all attach to money. These insights made sense of the intuitive promptings I had been receiving for years. With this newfound knowledge, I felt I finally had the tools and concepts I needed to create the personal life and business that represented me and my thoughts on how clients should be supported.

In addition, my life has been enhanced by the stunning quality of relationships within our Life Planning community. I am constantly amazed at the caliber of people who are attracted to this work. I am never at a loss for ideas to toss around, books that have meaning, or lives that inspire. That rocks!

In my own personal Life Planning exploration I discovered, or perhaps re-discovered, that I have a passion for talking to people about money and meaning—the MORE the better. That is why I went through the rigors of becoming a trainer with Kinder Institute. In this position, I get to connect with financial advisors and share my love of this work. Each time I lead or co-lead a Seven Stages or EVOKE training, I transform a bit. It is a privilege to witness effort and change among participants. The model has stood the test of time and seems more relevant as the years go by.

I count myself fortunate to have been part of the Life Planning movement since the early days of its formation. While there has been an evolution, the core elements have remained. In Life Planning, there is a relational, not transactional, alliance. Life Planners find out what is most important to their client and build a financial plan to support that.

What was a meaningful interaction that you had with a client as a result of Life Planning?

Years ago, Tom and Nancy came in to discuss retirement. Tom had decided on a retirement date and, together, they wanted to talk about how that might look. I took them through the classic Three Questions exercise which stimulated a thoughtful discussion about their future. From their answers, dreams were put into place. A Life Plan was made.

Unfortunately, shortly after his designated retirement date, Tom was diagnosed with a brain tumor and for almost four years following his diagnosis, Nancy cared for him as his health worsened. Born on the 8th day of the 8th month, he died on the 12th day of the 12th month.

Shortly after his death, I sent Nancy an email and reminded her of our Life Planning sessions. I sent along Tom’s answers to the Three Questions, which reveal what a person considers to be most meaningful and important in their life. Nancy and their two daughters were in the core of each of the three answers, in his handwriting. It was such a gift to his family that these questions had been asked and answered so that they knew with even greater certainty how much they had been cherished. After his passing, the family followed up on the dream of having a cabin in Colorado, as well as hiking the Colorado Trail together in Tom’s honor. Sticks were gathered on the hike and were arranged in his name off to the side of the trail.

We never quite know where we are going when we enter into a Life Planning engagement. Each appointment is original and real. Life Planners are in an honored position: you see the beauty that comes to light in these meetings. My practice has been rejuvenated by the hope and vigor that this process helps to inspire and release in my clients.

What piece of advice would you give to new Life Planners?

If you are looking for meaningful work, this is it! Your own life will change as you work with clients. Feel into your feelings and enjoy the ride!

What is one practice management tip that you would give to new Life Planners?

Bring your authentic self into each meeting. Trust yourself and the process. And breathe!


Mary Zimmerman, CFP®, RLP® has a passion for talking about money and meaning. This passion has taken her around the globe, including twice to India, where she led The Seven Stages of Money Maturity® 2-Day Trainings, based on the work of George Kinder. She is the owner of PATH Financial Strategies, LLC, in Chandler, Arizona. PATH is an acronym for “planning at the heart.” Mary is one of the founding members of Kinder Institute of Life Planning and was the first trainer with the Institute in the United States. She is a former board member of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Phoenix and is trained in The Art of Hosting Conversations about Money. She is certified in Levels I and II of Spiral Dynamics. Mary is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Society of Accountants, American Mensa, and the Nazrudin Project, a global think-tank of professionals, many with the CFP® credential, dedicated to the human and spiritual aspects of money.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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Courageous Conversations

By Spencer Sherman, MBA, CFP®

When I was 10 years old, my aunt and uncle and their children, who had lived across the street from me my whole life, disappeared. Suddenly, I no longer saw Aunt Lilly on my walk home from school. I never saw my cousins again. I didn’t know it at the time, but a money conflict led to my family’s division. The inability of the adults to have a courageous money conversation (CMC) caused a rift so great, my father found out about his sister’s death two years after the fact and 40 years after he last spoke to her.

When I became an adult, I asked my father about his sister. He said “I’ve come to a place of forgiveness for all the money that my brother-in-law stole from me and my business. But when I finally extended the olive branch to them, they had both already died.” That motivated me to reach out to my first cousin, Steve. Without any contact information, I hired a private detective — the most fruitful $500 I’ve ever spent. I agreed to fly to NYC to meet him. Over a pleasant lunch, I was aware that the conversation didn’t venture beyond safe and superficial topics.

Suddenly, I felt terrified (my knees were vibrating); when would I address the elephant in the room? What if I left without bringing up the topic? And then, in that moment, I remembered my father’s regret and inability to have a courageous conversation with his brother-in-law. I knew I had to say something, but how?

“Steve, do you know why our families have been completely out of touch for the last 35 years?”

“We just drifted apart. It happens.”

Did he not know? Or was he dodging my question? This was my moment to take a risk.

“Steve,” I began. “My understanding is that your father was stealing money from my father.”

He looked down and then slowly lifted his gaze and said “It’s true.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“My father confessed to me before he died.”

In that moment, I realized that we had broken the family’s solemn rule to never speak about money. We were free not only to speak about taboo things, but to heal our family. And then I realized there’s a good reason why I’m helping people with money: I’m both healing myself and being a role model for others to address their money afflictions.

That was one of, if not, the most courageous money conversations I’ve ever had. What about you? Is there a conversation with a friend, child, parent, sibling, business partner, boss that you think about initiating, but keep postponing? Of course, there are times when a CMC might not go as planned. But, when I look back at my life, I can’t name a time when my intentional, well-planned money conversation didn’t produce more positive than negative outcomes. To me, this is a risk with outsized potential rewards. We have a bias to ignore the topic of money, but I’m suggesting you challenge yourself and do the opposite.

There’s a lot at stake with CMC’s. Here’s a list of potential conversations that could release blocked vitality and lead to a transformed relationship with the other party and with money itself:

  1. Tell your adult children that you’re going to leave them less than they might be expecting. Or that you’re going to leave one child $1 million and the other child $500,000 [you’re going to leave one child more than the other] because of their different circumstances. From my experience, not having these conversations before death often has unintended consequences. Your children will assume that you left less money because of love. But, when it’s done in advance of death, it can be neutral at worst and connecting and empowering at best.
  2. Tell your friend that you can’t afford the vacation trip or restaurant they’ve proposed. This again, is a chance for real intimacy with your friend, and to lower the stress to your body and to your wallet.
  3. Tell your boss that you want to earn more money. If you don’t have this conversation your resentment might affect the quality of your work.
  4. Tell your parents that they will run out of money if they don’t change their current lifestyle (or that they can spend more and not worry about leaving their money to you). This is an opportunity for intimacy and straight talk about the future.
  5. Tell your spouse that you want to make financial decisions jointly. Despite that appearance of unity, you don’t feel like an equal partner. Again, not having this conversation, will likely lead to more resentment and a further erosion of connection.

Here’s how to have the conversation:

  1. Write down your positive intentions for this conversation. Maybe it’s to get closer to your children, spouse, or friend. Maybe it’s protecting the financial wellness of your parents and yourself.
  2. Role-play the conversation and ask a neutral person to act out the role of the other person. This neutral person will be much more objective and probably offer you some sound suggestions for what to say and not say. Experiment by asking the neutral person to reply with your biggest fears. When you debrief after the roleplay, listen to their feedback as well as to the feelings and intuition in your own body.
  3. Set up a time to speak without interruption with the other person. Let them know the amount of time so you don’t feel rushed. Make sure it’s a comfortable space.
  4. Start the conversation by saying something you appreciate about them. Next, say your intention and how you’re hoping that this conversation produces something positive for both of us. Stick to starting your sentences with the word “I” instead of “you.” In other words, say, “I’m concerned about you running out of money,” instead of “You’re terrible with money and almost broke.”

I cherish my belated relationship with Steve. Having a CMC, like any risk, might not produce a specific outcome, but it can heal and energize any relationship. It can also help you to feel powerful and effective with money.

Steve and I can’t recover the lost years, but when I called him last week, he told me he loved me. Hearing that made me see that taking risks can yield great rewards.

This article has been adapted from one originally published in Mindful Magazine.


Spencer Sherman, MBA, CFP® is a Search Inside Yourself mindfulness teacher (sourced at Google). He founded a sustainable financial firm and has an MBA from Wharton Business School. He is the author of The Cure for Money Madness and The Money & Spirit Workshop, and believes that all of us can feel ease and purpose with money, regardless of how much we have. His 30-year meditation practice supports him in helping others create an equanimous, powerful, and spacious relationship with money. He is a graduate of the Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Training and he has had a profound friendship with George for over 25 years.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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RLP® in Social Work

By Trèske Heere, RLP®

‘Confidently go into the direction of your dreams.

Live the life you have imagined.’

Henry David Thoreau

This is what Financial Life Planning essentially means to me.

My financial life planning journey began in 2006 when I first met George Kinder at the 2-Day Seven Stages of Money Maturity® Workshop he was teaching in the Netherlands. The training was very inspiring to me and a lot of study followed. I earned my Registered Life Planner® designation by completing the EVOKE® Life Planning Training and the 6-Month Mentorship under the inspiring and warm leadership of the late Ed Jacobson. By 2007, I was one of the first to earn the Registered Life Planner® designation in the Netherlands.

Through my work as a Life Planner, I was very motivated to follow where my own life plan was calling me and sought to learn more about human behavior through the study of ‘Integral Human Sciences,’ which covers disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, religions and much more.

Now 14 years later, after following my own life planning path, I recently realized my long-term goal of establishing a foundation with no profit targets. I opened my own ‘store’ called DE DREAMFABRYK (Dream Factory). It is a physical space, in the middle of society, where people with little or no money, or even those experiencing debt problems, are given the opportunity to work on their dreams, goals, and desires in an accessible way.

I believe in the uniqueness of each individual and that each person has a dream. It is the mission of DE DREAMFABRYK to give every person that enters the opportunity to be heard. I take the time to really listen to what the person sitting across from me would really, really want with their life and guide them through on how to achieve this, no matter their financial circumstances and even when life shows its heavy sides.

I am excited to bring this new blend of Financial Life Planning and Social Work to the Netherlands! Every person deserves a customized life plan, no matter the circumstances.


Trèske Heere, RLP® is money & life coach. Originally, she started her career in market research, followed by several sales and marketing positions in the financial world.  In 2006 she changed course and choose for a career in the psychosocial world and studied Integral Human Sciences.

She is the owner of her own company Wijs & Water, director and founder of the foundation Opdynpaad and recently opened the doors of De Dreamfabryk, in a nice, accessible location in the middle of a shopping mall in the Northern part of the Netherlands.

She believes that a more beautiful world starts with the autonomy of every individual.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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How Life Planning Has Impacted My Business and My Life

Ariadne Horstman a Certified Financial Planner and Registered Life Planner, is founder of Appreciate Finance in Palo Alto, California.

By Ariadne Horstman, CFP®, RLP®

I signed up for the Kinder Institute’s EVOKE® Life Planning Training in Hawaii after reading on the FPA messaging board that the course was a “life-changing experience.” I was eager for just that because it would tie in with my financial planning business. I hesitated because of the cost, the time commitment, and the distance of the Hawaii training location. Now, when I recall our early morning meditations with the sound of the sea in the background, it is a vivid memory that I can take with me the rest of my life.

The class was held at George Kinder’s home in Hana, Maui and made for a very special adventure. Considering the current pandemic and other factors, I’m not sure it will be possible again, but I am hopeful that others will be able to have this opportunity in the future.

The initial 5-Day training in the EVOKE® method was intense. We role-played each client meeting stage in front of the full group again and again to ingrain the practice into muscle memory. The 6-Month Mentorship that followed was essential to master the integration of Life Planning into my work and my personal life. The mentorship helped me figure out how to actually use the process with clients in different situations.

The RLP® training program provided clarity in my own life and helped me refine what I wanted to achieve, how I wanted to live, and what I wanted to focus on. My husband and I have been able to make our individual visions work together in our lives. The training made me think a lot more about implementing important life changes right away and not putting them off or dreaming of them for later in retirement. The simple fact is that we never know how long we have in this life. The current pandemic illustrates that life is very precious and can be shorter than we think.

Similar to how I made changes in my personal life, I’ve integrated those same concepts into my financial planning practice, Appreciate Finance, and it is working well. While it is rare that I carry out the full EVOKE® Life Planning method in the exact, multiple meeting process illustrated during the training program, I’ve chosen to use parts of the process or a shortened version wherever I can.

I have noticed, and other Life Planners have told me, that clients generally don’t start working with us because we use the Life Planning process, at least most of them don’t. Instead there is a completeness to the experience that the clients only recognize later. Prospective clients don’t realize how important Life Planning can be for them when they are looking at the website of a potential financial planner. I believe Life Planning is one of the most important parts of the financial planning process. To educate the public more, I’ve begun to share more information on Life Planning through my social media accounts, marketing materials, and website.

I’ve had prospective clients tell me in the initial consult meetings that Life Planning will not be useful or necessary because they already know what they want. They only want to focus on the financials and the numbers. In working with these clients, my approach is, by necessity, more subtle. However, whether they recognize it or not, Life Planning is incredibly useful for the whole process of financial planning and I try to incorporate elements into their meetings. How else will I know that their financial resources are really working for them? Other prospective clients are excited about the concept of Life Planning and embrace it wholeheartedly. In these cases, I can go about the process in a more straightforward manner.

By working with clients and guiding them through the changes that they want to make in their lives, I have discovered that this emotional side of the process – uncovering and working with clients’ goals and dreams, is much more important than anything else. Occasionally when I show my clients that they can achieve their goals right away, they don’t necessarily choose to make the changes they thought they wanted, but just knowing that they can make those changes is both freeing and exciting to them. These clients realize that they’re able to live their lives in a different way knowing that they could leave their job or change their situation at any time and go and live their dream. It seems like the knowledge that you have a choice is often enough to feel free, even if you choose not to act.

I learned recently that there are almost 500 Registered Life Planners® in the world; I feel part of an exclusive society! I wish more people did this. Even more than the process, the communication lessons that I learned through my Life Planning training are critically important, such as how to be an active and empathic listener and the importance of pausing during conversations. I can still see our trainer Louis Vollebregt demonstrating the pause and hear him saying with his finger raised and a gentle smile “wait… wait… wait….”

Sometimes I’m not able to put all the Life Planning skills into practice seamlessly, but I know it’s important. I understand the techniques I’ve learned through the Kinder Institute are valuable for both my clients and for me as their planner. Every day I’m learning to use the method more and more. The skills are useful in my life and relationships in addition to my business. Ideally, I’d like to do the 5-Day EVOKE® Life Planning Training again in Hawaii with George and Louis and hope that will happen one day in a post-COVID world.


Ariadne Horstman, CFP®, RLP®, is the founder of Appreciate Finance. She has practiced as a financial planner since 2008.  Prior to her financial career, she worked in Silicon Valley’s tech industry and before that in Europe. Ariadne has lived in India and France and is fluent in French. Her international experience is an important part of her work. In her time as a Registered Life Planner®, she has found that starting with discovering clients’ most essential goals for a fulfilled life is the best way to make sure their finances will be channeled to fully support those objectives. Ariadne lives in Palo Alto with her husband and two teenagers, enjoying travel (local at this point), hiking, yoga, horseback riding and meditation. A graduate of Smith College, she completed her financial planning coursework at UC Santa Cruz.

Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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Living My Life Plan…Delivering Life Plans to Others

By Donna Rasile, RLP®

When I was young, I knew helping people was my passion; however, I did not know how that would translate into a career. Could I earn a living helping others? The simple answer is yes. Typically, when you think of careers that focus on helping people, you might think of jobs in the service industry like healthcare instead of those involving numbers. What many do not realize is that investment advising is more than just numbers. There are people behind the numbers. We are providing a service. And for me, it is the people who have become my passion, not the numbers. I feel so fortunate to have discovered and lived my purpose and passion throughout my career; my own life plan is helping other people discover and live theirs!

This became even more apparent when I participated and earned my Registered Life Planner® designation with the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. Through experiencing their signature methodology firsthand, I enhanced my interpersonal skills. At the heart of the training is an emphasis on really listening to clients and helping them to discover what is truly important, not just for their financial goals, but for their life goals. My goal as an investment advisor and Registered Life Planner® (RLP®) is to become an extension of my clients’ families, someone whom they can trust, confide in, and receive peace of mind from.

Training with George Kinder and his talented team taught me that in order to help clients live their Life Plan, I had to live mine. Part of the training was to go through the Life Planning process myself: to feel the emotions evoked from answering the “Three Questions,” to have those difficult conversations where you address your Obstacles, and ultimately develop a Vision that portrays a beautiful painting of the best version of your life. And yes, numbers do play a part of all of this, but as I like to say: they are only the backdrop.

Becoming an RLP® has many rewarding effects on my work as an investment advisor. It is so gratifying to know you have asked the “right” questions, not just the finance-driven ones, and learned the importance of listening—and I mean really listening. To “Pause” is an underrated skill and when used, you discover an authentic way to connect with others.

Thank you, Kinder Institute. You taught me to provide the space to invite deeper conversations, and thus positively impact the lives of my clients. You showed me that part of living my Life Plan is guiding my clients to develop and live their own.

Recently in a reflective period, I spent some time identifying my values and narrowed them down to three—not an easy task! After hours of pouring through numerous words and their definitions I decided on the following three:

  1. Trusted
  2. Compassion
  3. Purpose

What I realized is, these values resonate with me not only personally, but professionally. As Senior Vice President, Investment Advisor at FinTrust Capital Advisors, our mission is to deliver financial peace of mind with unequaled confidence and conviction. We hope to help our clients live “A Richer Life.” We have customized our Life Planning process by utilizing the knowledge gained from the Kinder Institute. It is truly an honor to help navigate clients through our process of “A Richer Life.” As we like to put it—it’s not about being “rich,” rather, living a richer life!

In closing, as John D. Rockefeller once said,

“If your only goal is to become rich, you’ll never achieve it.”


Donna Rasile is a Senior Vice President, Investment Advisor at FinTrust Capital Advisors and a Registered Life Planner®, RLP®. She has over 30 years of experience in the investment industry. Donna focuses on helping clients achieve their financial and life goals by employing her holistic and customized approach. She prides herself on developing a deep connection with her clients and her goal of delivering the best in client service. She has been recognized in Fortune Magazine, Wall Street Journal and Charlotte magazine.

Donna Rasile, Registered Life Planner®

Senior Vice President, Investment Advisor | FinTrust Capital Advisors

5428 Carmel Park Drive, Suite 100 Charlotte, NC 28226

Phone: 864.626.5784 |704-519-8284 Fax:  864.288.5218 

drasile@fintrustadvisors.com | www.fintrustadvisors.com


Do you have a story to tell? We want to hear your Journey in Life Planning. Email lora.woodward@kinderinstitute.com, to express interest in being featured in the Kinder Institute blog.

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

By Scott Malcolm, CFP®, SSA, RLP®

I am still working on the answer to that question. At the age of 20, I stumbled into a Financial Planning Assistant position, where I performed research and technical elements for an adviser. At first glance, many would think that this wasn’t my version of “living the dream,” but it sure ticked a lot of boxes for that point in my life. I was a kid who didn’t know what he wanted to do, but I was okay with maths and enjoyed computers.  

Around this time, my mentor had embarked on incorporating financial life planning into his business. At age 25, I had a few years of experience doing face-to-face work with clients and I was fortunate to be introduced to this new method. In 2005, I traveled to the US to attend the EVOKE® Life Planning Training with The Kinder Institute of Life Planning. Having taken the 2-Day Seven Stages of Money Maturity Workshop with George Kinder in Australia in the early 2000s, I thought I knew what I was getting into. As I flew over, I mentally prepared for another course on how to better serve my clients. I had doubts around being so young and working with clients as their financial planner. The experiential training wasn’t what I expected, but it was exactly what I needed. The course allowed me to look closely at my own life and how learning to better serve myself could be extended to being a better financial planner to my clients.

Going through the 5-Day training program and the subsequent Life Planning Mentorship was life-changing, both personally and professionally. I began to step into and live a more authentic life. I gave myself permission to focus on my own personal aspirations, including my desire to find a life partner. The inward focus led to outward changes that my clients, in particular, could feel. Living this more authentic life allowed me to hold space for my clients to explore their own life ambitions, empowered by a new relationship with money.  

I often say that the one commonality all of us human beings have is that we are all born into the financial system in which we live. The system is far from perfect, but when we choose to engage with the system, we can learn how to live, be, and thrive in it!

Part of the Kinder training is exploring the client’s responses to the “Three Questions”. We do this with all of our clients, and the responses provide insights and depth when building new relationships. I find the questions useful for checking in and assisting clients as they embark on their life transitions. I also use them myself as a personal reframe and focusing tool for my own life journey.

Fast forward a few years and the Global Financial Crisis hit. I was going through many life changes: I had just connected with my soon-to-be life partner (we’ve been together 12 years now) and while beginning to establish our lives together, I found myself without a job. Contemplating my next step, I redid my “Three Questions” and was confronted with the realization that I wanted to  run my own business, along with a few other dreams and experiences, including living in another city. (I still have “live in NYC” on the list but that will have to wait until a post-COVID world.)  

And so, my practice, Money Mechanics was born. My mission is to bring together human elements and technical expertise to help clients achieve their life and wealth goals. In practice this has meant finding the clients who want to go deep. I align with clients that want to gain a better understanding of what brings their life meaning and how their money can support that journey. I also love planting seeds with those clients who are not aware of these deeper elements in their relationship to money.

I am still working on the answer to the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?,” but the EVOKE® Life Planning method has taught me that living a more authentic personal life is the key to professional success, even if you still haven’t figured out all of the details. I still have many professional goals to set, plan, and achieve, but I have reached a level of comfort–regular new client referrals and professional and personal relationships and engagements–which does leave me thinking I am “living the dream” or at least the current COVID version of it!  


Scott Malcolm has been awarded the internationally recognised Certified Financial Planner designation from the Financial Planning Association of Australia and is Director of Money Mechanics.  Money Mechanics is a fee for service financial advice firm that partners with clients in Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle, and Sydney to achieve their life and wealth outcomes. 

Money Mechanics Pty Ltd (ABN 64 136 066 272) is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 336429) of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 47 097 797 049) AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523

The information provided in this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. 

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A Message from George Kinder Regarding the Recent Protests

Dear Life Planners,  

I write to you full of empathy for communities of color, who feel the impact of the coronavirus disproportionately and are subject to the effects of a racist system that disadvantages them economically and socially, endangering their very lives upon contact with law enforcement.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless many who came before them have exposed deeply set, systemic racism still at work in American institutions. 

It’s time for us to bring an end to racism all over the world. I think all of us as Life Planners, grounded in empathy, deep listening skills, and a sophisticated understanding of economics, have a role to play. 

I ask all of you to please consider ways in which you can take action during this time. I might suggest starting with listening, empathizing, and learning from others. If you feel compelled, take leadership and gather people together in your community to share experiences during this time. Certainly, signing petitions, writing letters to lawmakers, attending protests, engaging in community conversations, supporting organizations and causes you believe in, and committing to seek out wisdom when you find your experience limiting are all of value.  

Personally, I think that without addressing the issue of economic justice, racism will never be eliminated. It is one of the reasons that I have always supported a basic income and free, hour-long life planning sessions to anyone that needs them. 

We will be thinking of ways to offer support and resources at this time and would welcome your suggestions. In the meantime, we invite you to our other platforms: Golden Civilization Conversations and Mindful Engagement, which both have ongoing meetings that are meant to provide conversation, inspiration, and healing. 

We know racism is not simply an American phenomena and we welcome your insights. We are profoundly moved by the expressions of concern by those outside the United States. Please continue to share your support. We need it. 

I just want to say again, much though you may not feel it, with your skills of listening, empathy, and leadership, you are the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Please don’t hesitate to share these skills now with your communities.

Much aloha,

George

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