Changing the Conversation From Money to Vision™

By Joan Sharp, CFP®, RLP®, CeFT™, CAP®, MSFS

In my work at River Family Advisors, I refer to myself as a Family Advisor rather than a financial planner. Every person is part of a family; this is where money stories and life expectations start. I work with clients on their vision paying close attention to a person’s beliefs, to what inspires them, and to their imagination for the future. This exploration involves considering a person’s vision before resources. I also work to discover the values that guide their decision making. 

This approach didn’t come out of thin air. It is the result of the amalgam that was my childhood and the education and experiences I’ve lived since then. From learning about art to seeing money or lack thereof dictate choices, the early years lent too much power to money. I didn’t want finances to be the primary driver, the excuse or reason for any decisions I was going to make for myself, or anyone else.

The Registered Life Planner® process, taught by the Kinder Institute, gave me tools to be a better listener for my clients, prompting me to ask questions, and to guide individuals on their discovery of their life vision. The Kinder Institute training showed me how to put a process together to start walking toward that vision and how to adjust the journey, narrowing or expanding the path, as the vision evolved.  

I believe there is more than one way of achieving your vision for the future. Using education and professional experience as an example, armed with a degree in Economics, I used my work in marketing and sales for major consumer packaged goods’ brands as a way to understand the broader business world. I studied businesses and tracked their stocks decades before moving into Financial Services, long before earning an MS in Financial Services. I also fulfill my life vision when I endeavor to make philanthropy benefit both parties. I invest time and experience in exchange for education and fulfillment with a non-profit whose mission with whom I identify.

I know first-hand what it is like to work with personal accountants and investment advisors who have a lack of understanding of my vision. In the early years of my career, I learned to self-advocate – that identifying and voicing my intentions brought inner harmony. Utilizing the Kinder Institute Evoke process is a helpful tool in determining a path ahead for my clients. I take it one step further and look at these questions as a means of identifying a vision – a continuous journey that is about a process, not a goal.

I’ve built River Family Advisors by pointing out the underlying vision and values of my clients, by helping to plan resources, and for clients to communicate that vision to others.  I want to transform what was previously an unusual occurrence into a conversation that is commonplace. I hope to leave a legacy of empowerment, where people are living and communicating their vision and purpose – changing the conversation for years to come.

Joan Sharp is the founder and visionary behind River Family Advisors, Changing the Conversation from money to Vision. Joan serves in philanthropy by sitting on the boards of Easter Seals, DE, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Delaware Historical Society, and is a Trustee of the Christiana Care Hospital System.

Joan L. Sharp CFP®, MSFS

Registered Life Planner®
Certified Financial Transitionist®
Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®
W: (302) 427-9888
C: (302) 383-9678

About George Kinder

George Kinder is known globally as the leading thinker in the financial Life Planning movement, dedicated to deliver freedom with integrity to consumers worldwide. Also known for his photography, poetry and spiritual wisdom, he is described in Professional Adviser's annual review of the "50 Most Influential People" in the world of financial advice: "George Kinder, Founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning, is widely recognized as the pioneer of the life planning model. The creator of an original concept which puts peoples' core life values at the heart of the advice process, he is a true visionary. His institute's training, which focuses on the human aspect of planning, is regarded by advisers as the gold standard. A life sector legend, the Harvard-educated industry veteran has been an adviser and tax planner for over thirty years and has won many industry awards. Kinder is a regular as a keynote speaker at industry events and conferences and his knowledge and know-how of the life planning sector is second to none. But Kinder's expertise stretches way beyond the adviser realm - he is also an artist, photographer, poet, spiritual leader and author. " Kinder's website lists nearly 3,000 advisors on 6 continents who have taken his programs. He views his mission as bringing a deserved reputation for integrity back to the financial services sector and making the core ethos within financial services the delivery of a process for freedom to every human being on the planet. Visit for more information.
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