Episode Number: 375

Episode 375: Life Planning for Fulfillment Beyond Finances & 3 Questions To Help You Live a Meaningful Life w/ George Kinder

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Life Planning for Fulfillment Beyond Finances & 3 Questions To Help You Live a Meaningful Life w/ George Kinder

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George Kinder is an author, international thought leader, and founder of Kinder Institute of Life Planning with more than 35 years of experience as a financial planner and tax advisor. George is dedicated to guiding individuals in uncovering their deepest values and leading more fulfilling lives. His ultimate aim is to promote greater freedom in every aspect of existence.

In this conversation we discuss: 

  • The importance of living in the present moment and mastering one’s life.
  • George’s three questions to help identify goals and priorities and how the answer to the “having 24 hrs left” question helps you realize what you’ve missed in life. 
  • The balance between short-term pleasure and long-term financial planning. 
  • How to find a trust-worthy financial planner who will help with your life plan
  • George’s approach to parenting is being a good listener & showing empathy, rather than being overly restrictive or reactive + more!

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Hey, hey, hey journeyers Welcome to the journey to launch Podcast. I'm very pleased to have today's guests on the show. George Kinder will be joining us He is an author, international thought leader and life planning pioneer. He's been at the forefront of the financial services industry for more than 35 years spearheading a movement that centers the lives of the clients to not just live within their financial plan. But beyond that, do his books, training courses and keynote speeches, George has introduced 1000s of professionals globally to the field of financial life planning. And nearly 30 years as a practicing financial planner and tax advisor he founded the Kinder Institute of life planning his three books on money, the seven stages of money maturity, lighting, the torch and life planning for you are considered foundational works for both professionals and consumers. His latest book, The three domains of freedom, each moment is yours, your life is yours. Simulation is yours, will be released in spring 2024. So probably by the time you hear this, I'm super pleased to have you on the podcast. Welcome, George.

George Kinder 2:30

Wonderful, Jamila, wonderful to meet you. And I'm looking forward to this. So

Jamila Souffrant 2:35

George, the way I was introduced to your work, it was maybe I don't know, a few years ago, where I had started to get more intentional with my finances, which led me down the road to podcasts and blogs and sharing my journey through this podcast and then in my book, but I remember hearing about your questions, the three questions that you created to help one find the deeper meaning of why we're doing what we're doing and our life's purpose and how it's related to money or not related to money, actually. So I started to like, listen to that and answer those questions and share some of it on the podcast. I even included those questions in the book. And so when we kind of connected online socially, I was like, Oh my gosh, it'd be a pleasure to have George on the podcast to explain or to help us walk through the thought process and ways in which we can live a complete life, with our money and outside of our money. And so I'd love to kind of hear from you, and maybe take it back a little bit to your involvement or evolution in financial planning and bringing more of our lives in that how that started for you and why you chose to focus on the whole life and not just the financial life.

George Kinder 3:42

I think I'm a strange person in this regard. I never wanted to earn a living. I never wanted to go to work, I wanted to be my own person and do my own thing right from the get go. And that meant for me, it meant living a more spiritual life, a more artistic life, a more creative life. And you can't do that in this world, right? I mean, you got to make a limit somehow. So what I did was I went to graduate school in accounting to do tax returns part of the year. I was good at it. And so it ended up being a whole year thing with lots of clients, and much more than I wanted. And I realized I still wasn't getting the freedom that I wanted in life that that's what I was really after was freedom. And so I went back and I studied financial planning, and out of that studying and realizing and the other thing was really cool with working with all my tax clients, I began to realize that none of them really wanted to be doing what they were doing, either everybody wanted this dream of freedom that was different from what they're actually experiencing. So I thought, gosh, there's gotta be a way I know what mine is. But how do I find out what everyone else is is what what's your dream of freedom? And let's make it happen because money can make that happen. Well, I mean, there are other aspects to freedom I'd love to talk about toward the end of the show, maybe. But yeah, that's that was it, I think,

Jamila Souffrant 5:06

you know, when you just said that you felt like strange, I think that's the word you use, or something similar to that about, you just wanted to live without worrying about money or, and I feel the same way I feel so many people feel this way. So for me, the means to achieving freedom, the energy and time freedom that I was looking for required financial freedom, a bit of it, and learning how to navigate money. Let's talk a little bit about freedom and what that means. I know, it can mean a lot of things. But what does that mean to you? Well,

George Kinder 5:37

the books that I'm coming out with now all my books have been about freedom. And I've written a bunch of different aspects of freedom. But the books that I'm coming out with this spring, is called the three domains of freedom. And the subtitle gives it all away, each moment is yours, your life is yours, and civilization is yours. I mean, what we're talking about here, the primary focus here, I think, will be on your life as yours. This is the the personal finance piece where you bring money in and you deliver the life of your dreams. But that's fragile. It's fragile, in lots of ways, it's and two of the ways that it's fragile is that, you know, without even having that we can experience each moment as being a moment of freedom for us as being ours. And that's an extraordinary experience. And largely that's learned through something like mindfulness, although there are many different kinds of practices. And then the third one is one that we're really broken up about in America, right now we're polarized around and we don't understand this, but civilization is ours. And if we don't claim it as ours, if we let it go in some way, let democracy go that whatever it is our rights go, what happens is that we can also lose the personal finance freedom, we can also lose the kind of so many freedoms, the basic rights that we have. So all of those are really important. And I personally think the one to begin with is the one you're starting us with right here, that if we've, if we're on target for who we want to be, then we can find the time to figure out how to do moments. And we can find the time and we'll recognize the importance of making sure civilization is ours and not dominated by some powerful forces that are not related to us.

Jamila Souffrant 7:36

I think for so many people, as we wake up and open our eyes and before blessed to in the morning and start our day. There are a lot of things outside of our control, where we don't, you know, we can't necessarily dictate the responses of people to us, or the government laws in certain respects. I mean, you know, you can lobby and do all these things. But sometimes that takes us a while. So a lot of people are left with this personal responsibility, and self accountability, or just like you said, it's like a choice in the moment to like live life on their own terms. But in that same regard, there's so many things happening outside of them, whether it's the boss, the commute, the kids, where it doesn't feel like you have a lot of choice, and so you don't feel free. And so I think there's it's interesting because people who have money, and still don't feel free, financially free, or energy free, they feel more locked in right to having to work and there are people who don't even have the financial freedom. And still, on top of that don't feel free. So what do we say? Or how can we start to think about claiming our freedom when we don't feel like we have control over it? Yeah,

George Kinder 8:44

I think there are three ways the book will address them. One of them is to learn to practice where you can claim each moment. I mean, you know, here, let me throw my wild question to you, Jimmy. I mean, this is a question I ask, I can ask an audience of 1000. And it's a trick question. So I'm going to try and trick you. All right. So the question is, have you ever experienced a moment of freedom in your life, you know, walking the beach, plan with kids or your family, doing something wildly creative with your business? Have you ever experienced a moment of freedom? In the past in your life? Yeah, yes. And the answer, yes. And everybody gets the answer wrong, because we've never experienced it in the past. The only time we've ever experienced freedom is in the present moment. So one of the one of the secrets to actually owning our life as ours, is learning to master the present moment. The practice that's out there most about that in the world right now is mindfulness. It's a great practice to do. So one of the ways is to have a practice where you're getting better and better at the mastery of just being here, regardless of the situation just being here. And I'm gonna go to the two far ends and then come back to the one You and I are, have dedicated much of our life to. So the other the other side is civilization. And that is that, you know, much as we're troubled, politically polarized all the rest of the world, you've spoken about it, there's so much freedom, we can experience that our ancestors didn't experience so much more longevity in our life. And so one of the ways to understand the freedom of civilization is internally to just be happy about those aspects to celebrate those aspects. But at the same time to recognize not everybody has those freedoms. And to own that we are each of us powerful people, we aren't powerful enough to make a difference all by ourselves. But we're powerful enough to let people know that kindness helps, that having a dialogue of truth helps, that having nobody kind of pushing us around and bullying us helps that no violence helps, there are things that help and letting people know that and including in particular, in an election, you're letting people know, no, no, that doesn't work, doesn't work for me, doesn't work for my friends. And this is I'll do my best. But so those are the two outliers that you know, the one is the every moment yours, the other is that civilization is actually ours. Hey, one more thing about this about civilization, you know, civilization is really who that human species is. And if it's not working in some way, then we all need to kind of pitch in there and just say, No, it should speak the truth, it should be kind, it should be generous. And it should give us the vitality, to have the freedom that you and I mostly talk about, which is I call it life planning. And it's access in personal finance as well. So those are the two outliers. And then there's our own life. Right,

Jamila Souffrant 11:49

let's talk a little bit about life planning as it relates to financial planning. Typically, if you're listening to this podcast, and you're aware of what financial planning is, I mean, maybe it might be a good, a good moment to explain, for those who want to know, from your perspective, what financial planning is, and then like what life planning is,

George Kinder 12:09

you know, one of the great financial planners of the last, you know, 30 years or so, went through our courses, and he was the president of the FPA, the Financial Planning Association. And after he went through our courses and became a registered Life Planner, he said, he said, George, you know, life planning isn't any different from financial planning. It's just financial planning done, right. And another frame would be, it's what happens at the beginning of the financial planning process. Because in order for financial planning to work well, it has to be governed by or addressing who you want to be in your life, more than anything, who you really want to be what would be most incredible for you to live. And it doesn't mean, you know, having enough as much money as Elon Musk, or that kind of thing. But you know, what is it that would really make your life amazing for you? For you? And the three questions that you've you've introduced as well, they help us get at it. There are a number of things to do. But that's one of the great ways to get at

Jamila Souffrant 13:14

it. So what are the three questions? Let's walk through them.

George Kinder 13:17

So the first one is, it's like you win the lottery, or you get to go to Disneyland for the first time. And the question is, if you have all the money that you need for the rest of your life, what would you do? And so you just, you know, think that through, and it's playful and fun. And we've all fantasized at some point, right? We've all fantasize that at some point. So that's just kind of fun and loosens people up because the next two questions are much deeper and much more personal. And so they're, they're kind of hard to start with, particularly if you're working as an advisor with a client client might not trust you. Because financial advisors generally, you know, not always trustworthy. Yeah. So the first question is, if you had all the money that you needed for the rest of your life, what would you do? The second question, here, you're going to the doctor, and you know, she's been doing some tests, and you're expecting, you know, everything to be fine and everything. And but She surprises you and gives you some bad news. And that is that as healthy as you feel. You've only got five to 10 years left to live. You will live it as healthy as you feel as you feel feel right now, but the question is, you'll make it at least five years, but you will make it to the 10th. So if you knew that the question is, What would change in your life? How would you live your life? What would you do? And then of course, as you know, because you've gone through the questions, they get narrower and deeper in some way. Then the first question where you can do everything and anything, and often not always, but often They're more relational, they might have more to do with your family, maybe more to do with kids, maybe with your partner. Not always though, but they're deeper, they're more about who you really want to be what your purpose is in life. And then third one, goes even deeper, and it's even more powerful and more devastating, in a way. And this time you go to the doctor, and she says, You know, I've misdiagnosed terribly sorry. But you have had a rare disease. And it's over, you've got 24 hours left? And the question is not what you would do. The question is more reflecting on who you anticipated being what you anticipated doing? What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? And what did you not get to do? And for most people, that question, nails it as to what we have missed in life. And what we must not miss is the rest of our life, what we must realize in one way or another, and sometimes they seem quite impossible, but what we must realize one way or another, to live a really fulfilled life.

Jamila Souffrant 16:16

I can imagine you've obviously taught this and you've heard many answers or discussed this plenty of times with people. As you were saying the questions I was kind of quickly thinking of my answers again, and they change right? Like you can answer if you ask yourself this like years ago, you ask it now even ask it a week from now, they I think you can probably have different answers depending on where you are in life. But what does one? Like? Let's just say, you know, at that last question, you say to yourself, wow, like, I wanted to be a writer, or I wanted to something that you can maybe have a little bit more control over where you could have did went to school for it, or just something? I don't know what that is. But what does that person do? If they realize they have not done that thing? Like, how do they use the answers from this question or these questions to move forward and creating this life that they love or appreciate?

George Kinder 17:10

You know, the best thing that these questions can do is light a fire under us. And so let's say it is via writer, what the question is do for a lot of people is it wakes them up, and they go, Whoa, I almost missed that. I spent all my life knowing that I wanted to be a writer, and I haven't done it, I better get it done, I better nail it. So by lighting that fire, I mean, we call it lighting the torch in a way we as sophisticated financial life planners, we will train with our clients, we will get our clients to, we will light a torch that is blazing bright has all the elements that sparkles, it lights up the night sky, it's so brilliant. And you can't say no to it. And that's the beauty of it. So if you're just doing it, if you're doing it yourself as a consumer, you want to make that vision so bright, that you can't say no to it. And then what you want to do is live into it for a couple of weeks, just really live it and begin to analyze and figure out how can I do it? How can I make this happen in a short timeframe as I possibly can? Does it mean, you know, no TV at night? Does it mean less scrolling on the machines? Does it mean that I live a simpler life for now and save more so that I can actually launch that within a year or two, that there are all different kinds of things that it means does it mean that I tried to work three or four days get away with working three or four days a week instead of five or six days a week, and begin that process of writing right now. And the main thing, the thing that I think is most important is that we feel launched in it almost right away. And Phil really launched with it within one to three years. So that we feel like I got it, you know, I've done it, and I can coach other

Jamila Souffrant 19:07

people fight. You know, and I think to changing the perception of what the writer or the person that you want to become is like and what success is, I think in this day and age where we're led a lot by social media and celebrities. And you know, success as a writer looks like making the list of New York Times list and getting a big book deal like that is, you know, the epitone just like a basketball player, like making it to the NBA and becoming well known. And then I think back to when you were talking I'm thinking about my husband, who played basketball, went to college, and he has a deep love for the game where even 20 years later like he still works out, not because he is trying to make it to a league. It's too late for that but because he loves the game, so he's a true basketball player. So he's working out every day just because he loves it. And so I'm trying to think for that person who may be saying, well, I want to be these things, but I'm thinking of it in this Grand away. And so it doesn't prevent them from starting, or they feel disappointed about what the results look like where it's like, if the true love is there, you can be a writer today by, you know, even if you put up at your writing and no one sees it and you're creating like works of art, just for yourself, we're putting up a blog that maybe no one reads just yet. But you can still work on a craft and and not be this in the vision that you think is success, but it is successful, because you are the one doing it and fulfilling that purpose for yourself.

George Kinder 20:29

Absolutely, I think you've tapped onto a lot of it to Mueller. By the way, you've touched one of my passions as well. I'm a little guy, I'm not big at all, but I love basketball. It's the sport that the family, we're all relatively small and but we watch basketball. And it's so much fun. So it's exciting to hear that your husband is passionate about it and goes for it. Because it gives it certainly gives us a thrill. It gives lots of people a thrill to see someone dedicate themselves like that. So I think there's a couple of things there that you're and you've tapped onto one of them, that we dedicate ourselves that if if writing means something to you, and you feel that you've got a message that you want to get out, yes, there are lots of different ways, there are lots of ways to blog, there's lots of social media, maybe that you just get one or two hits, you know, you just get one or two people at first build on it, just go to it and keep building it. And just keep speaking your truth. And what happens is that we grow I mean, I, I'll tell you my story about being a writer I've written now almost a dozen books, there's five of them that are done by so you can get by subscription. So they aren't out in, in published, normal published forum. But when I was in high school, my math SATs were off the charts. I mean, like I was way, way, I mean, I was way, a genius, I must have been a genius back then. And math, and my verbal skills, fairly average, at best, very average. And so here I am, you know, 50 years later, and I've written a dozen books, and I'm passionate about writing. So I started off not having those skills at all. And I just dedicated myself to that. And I got better and better and better. So one of the things is just go for it for what you love. The other thing is I had friends who wanted to be on the New York Times bestseller list, or they wanted to be in the New Yorker, something something really special. And I said to them, I said why, you know why put that kind of pressure on yourself? And what if you don't get in? What's going to happen to you how they feel. And I said I'm one of the things I learned to do was very important to me. And this might not be important for everybody. But for me it was I wanted to write for people, a generation or two for now, I wanted to write something that lasted. So I couldn't care less if it's not published in the New Yorker, or not, doesn't make the New York Times bestseller list. And I mean, of course, I'd be delighted if it did. But if you have a goal to reach a particular audience, it might not be those particular audiences. It's not necessarily the celebrity audience. And the most important thing and one of the things these three questions do is who are you really what where's your authenticity? Where do you feel most? who you are? And isn't that who you want to bring out into the world and share with other people? How do you do it? Let's figure it out. That's what life planning is all about.

Jamila Souffrant 23:33

Hey, journeyers if you are loving this podcast, then you will love my book, Your journey to financial freedom, a step by step guide to achieving wealth and happiness. I wrote this book for you. This book is for you if you want a clear and enjoyable path to having more money, options and a rich life. This book is for you if you hate your commute, and the fact that you need to seek approval or permission from a boss I hated that when I worked. This book is for you. If you weren't born into wealth, you didn't marry rich or win the lottery, but you still want freedom. This book is for you. If you're at a crossroads a major decision or event is imminent. Maybe a career change marriage starting a family pressures are reaching a tipping point, and the discomfort and the desire for more can no longer be ignored. And this book is for you. If you find yourself zoned out at meetings, looking out the window or daydreaming about the life you truly want. So go pick up your journey to financial freedom.com so I can show you how to map out how to get from where you are today to where you ultimately want to be and enjoy the journey. While you're on the path. Head over to your journey to financial freedom.com to see where you can pick the book up. It's available on Amazon bookshop.org Barnes and Noble, your local bookstore everywhere. Go to your journey to financial freedom.com to get the book now. Do you answer these questions, and you have so many things that you want to be? Or do? Finding the time? Like, how do you balance all that when you have so many things that you want to do?

George Kinder 25:11

Yeah? Well, the the it's one of the beauties of the three questions that it tends to narrow as it comes out the first question, usually, there's a ton of things you can write pages about all the things you love to do if you had all that money. But by the time you get to the third question, it touches more your heart. And so you're willing to narrow you realize, gosh, I didn't do it, what was it that I really should have done? So to do exercises that kind of narrow, and we've got, I've got several in my book, you probably have a few in yours, that narrow the field so that you're getting closer and closer to who you really want to be. I mean, here's another thing. I you know, I love the work. I love the world's religions, I love philosophies of the world. I love everything. But in America, typically, I mean, we think you only live once. I mean, maybe over in India, you get to live multiple times, and maybe some some of your audience will be part of that. And maybe I am but but in America, most people think they only live once. Well, if you're only going to live once, let's make it really worthwhile for you. Let's do what it is that would really touch your heart and and make you the best person you can possibly be.

Jamila Souffrant 26:21

Yeah. And see, I think we're coming from it in a very reflective, deep rooted sense that I don't think anyone can deny of what is like the true purpose. But in the the opposite end, or the other outlier, the other end of the spectrum, there is that well, you only live once. So when it comes to money, why be so responsible? Right? Like I'm working this job? Like, why not get the nice car? Who cares about debt? So what are your thoughts on that? Because I think that is the balance of living in the now. And yes, for like the deep purpose. But then also using money in a way that makes us feel good in the moment versus long term planning, making sure we're setting ourselves up for success, or at least for freedom in the future. Yeah,

George Kinder 27:04

great. So a wonderful question. And I'm going to come back just for a moment, to the first freedom, the first domain of freedom, which is that each moment is yours. So you don't need the car, or debt, to make you feel freedom. You can feel it, if you do a practice of mastery of the present moment. And the value of that is then when the car comes up, you can look at it and go, can I really afford it? I mean, this is who I really want to be, this is how I want to be in the world. Is that going to rob me? Of that possibility? Is that going to diminish my possibility to actually live in that way. And that's the same thing. You hear stories of debt, doing wonders for people, entrepreneurs that got into debt, and boy, their business took off. But for every one of those entrepreneurs that that happened for how many entrepreneurs were there, they got into debt and blew it. So the point with both of these is that there, there are really real truths around money that financial planning teaches us and that are extremely valuable. And one of them is just simply, if you earn more than you spend, there's a basis for greater and greater freedom and your future. And particularly if you invested well, so So anyway, so those are some of the things, I think that that question of doing something in the moment, one of my I teach meditation, as well as life planning, and one of my meditation students said to me, why is it that I keep doing things that I know are bad for me, but I just do them. And, and we all are like that we're all tempted in the moment. And we all do things like that, and we do things that we think are unfortunate. So it is really valuable to get a really strong sense of what is best around money, as well as a really strong mastery of the freedom of the present moment. And then why the world is your oyster, you can do so many things. I

Jamila Souffrant 29:08

love that I think this idea of once you settle down and understand yourself and what you truly want, is doing that thing helping me become that person or be that person or is it deterring me from being the person I say I want to be or the time that I say I want to have I think what also happens is I'm thinking about your ideas of freedom? Is that the way we earn our money? So like the effort we put out to earn money or the work that we do in the world? At what point is there enough and I find that that's a very important talking point because you know, you can have more you can work more you can earn more and whether you are actually saving and investing that for whatever reason and or just spending it because you're living a certain lifestyle, but how does one know there enough point when it comes to money and lifestyle? No,

George Kinder 29:56

I that's a really good question and this question of do Doing what you love? Is a it's a tough question as well and a strong question. And I think that in a way, they're they're two separate questions, because the question about what is enough has something to do with what you've accumulated? Or what you have the question about how you earn your money, and when what you paid for it, is a question of earning capacity and income. So one of them is the cash flow statement. The other is your balance sheet, you know, your net worth statement. And so the question of what, how to live your life with the income. I was peculiar in this way. Again, I think it was a little bit odd, in that I, you know, I wanted to write, I wanted to paint I wanted to be an artist, I also wanted to live a deep spiritual life, well, nobody would ever pay me a dime for one of my meditations. And they didn't pay wouldn't pay me a dime for one of my poems, either. So what was I going to do? So I had friends who said, Hey, go into journalism, you know, you can write there, they said, go into graphic design, you can do design work there. And I said, No, no, you don't understand. I want to do something extraordinary in those two things. And not just something for the man, so to speak, the boss, the corporation, I want to do something that will really last. So that's for me. So what I did, and this is peculiar, it's by no means a recommendation, but it's one way to do it. I just thought, Where do I have skills where I can make some money, and I can do it, I can do it. Honestly, I can do it with integrity. But I can make money I can save. And I can use that to get me free. I did tax returns for 13 years, I did tax returns for a living. And then I discovered doing personal finance and and I made my way to freedom, and to a kind of freedom where for years, I have worried about what I make. I just do my best. And I tried to do something that's honorable, something that's good, something that will make a difference in the world.

Jamila Souffrant 31:55

Now, did you enjoy doing tax returns? And with that, it gave you a sense of purpose? Or did you realize doing the tax returns provided you a lifestyle that allows you on the side or outside of that to do the things you wanted? Because I want to I want people to maybe have perspective about maybe their things, their job they're working now that they maybe don't love, but changing our perspective about it, that it's allowing them to do something else.

George Kinder 32:23

Exactly. If you if you can have that perspective, to me, that's a beautiful perspective, to have the perspective that what I'm doing now is going to allow me to do this other thing. So I walk home from doing tax returns, I did them in Harvard Square, and I walked home, it was a 20 minute walk and it would be rain here, Blizzard or whatever. And I would enjoy every moment of that walk home, because now I was free. And I would get home and I would go back on my back porch. And it was just a little stoop, just a little platform. And sometimes the machines beside me the generator beside movie blaring didn't matter. I had freedom in that moment. And and when I was doing the tax returns the question about what did I learn? Or did I? How did I feel about it? At first, I thought, I'm doing this to get me free. But then once you realize that, once I realized that, I thought, Wow, what an amazing thing I'm learning. Look at all these different people that I'm engaging with 1000s of people came through my office, and I got to engage with each of them. I mean, it was just and learn so much about myself about, you know how to be a better person with for all of them. I learned how to have greater integrity, how to be really precise and clear how to help people see their own dreams of freedom, and articulate a tax path for that. So there were many wonderful things I learned for myself. And that would then serve me well, when I went into the next phase of my life. So yeah, good stuff.

Jamila Souffrant 33:51

Yeah, well, I just I am smiling thinking about you know, there's a person probably right next to someone listening right now that has a different same job. But this is a different perspective. And of course, obviously there are going to be different things outside of those two people like their upbringing and environment and all that that matter to how they experience the world. But how you can have two people going through kind of the same job or experience and they because they have a different perspective. They take away something different from it, and then can use that to be happier to have a more fulfilled life. Yeah,

George Kinder 34:23

oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We call it keeping our eyes on the prize. And it really makes a difference. If we do that. What motivates

Jamila Souffrant 34:32

you now to work it sounds like you've you're in a great place have you know kind of what your answers to these questions are but I always like to you know, talk to people who are a little more seasoned or seem to be financially free in a way in which they don't necessarily have to work but they choose to and then like how you are you is it just merely I this is I enjoyed doing this or like what for you keeps you going to where you just say you know what, I can watch basketball all day or I can do a million other things. then do a podcast or show up for speaking events like what for you, keeps you going, Oh,

George Kinder 35:06

very kind of you to ask me. Of course, family's important, you know, your kids and your spouse and all of that, really, and to be better at it to be a better parent to be a better spouse, those are all really good things. But I think for me, I didn't mention this. But for 30 years, I had a passion that no one could really quite understand. And, but to deliver something into the world, and it took a long time to accumulate the materials to do it. And I, I got long COVID I was one of the first people in the West in America to get COVID And I never fully recovered. So when, when I realized that that was happening for me, I it lived in another fire under me, you know, it's like the third question, what are you gonna do, you know, because nobody knew what the course of the illness would be, I didn't know if I was just gonna get worse and worse and worse. So I thought I gotta finish that work. So what it was, was that I wanted to understand the present moment, and help people everywhere to dive deeper into and have experience of in nature. And so I've got, I'm sitting here now, I'm in Massachusetts, I've got a little peninsula that goes on to out into a pond. And I have a little cabin that I write in out there. And I do that walk every day. That's, that's my life. What I did for 30 years was that accumulated photographs, and little paragraphs or poems of my best moments of every day. And then I put them into a book of poetry and photography intermingling, to try to help someone so that every day of the of the year, you could go and get hopefully get inspired to be more here, more present. So I finished that work. In two years, I delivered five books, four seasons, and a weekly book. So now you're asking the question, I'm going, I finished my life plan, what do I do now. And I and the thing that came up for me this year, Jamila, I'm concerned about the planet, I'm concerned about people treating each other with kindness. And so as as small as I am, as insignificant as I am, I want to make a difference to make sure that I can leave civilization and the best place it can be that I can leave democracy in the best place that can be so this year, this big year in America, that's what I'm going to be focusing on. And it gives me you know, it's a thrill, even though I know, it's like, oh, gosh, look, what I'm getting into, and all the rest,

Jamila Souffrant 37:39

I just felt it's really inspiring, seeing your zeal and passion just for your life's work. And I know, it's like, you have different types of things that you do. But I love that because I feel it's inspiring for me. And anyone listening that, you know, sometimes the things that we do, we might feel like no one's going to notice or see. And, and honestly, sometimes you might, you can create a journal or just do something for yourself that if you want one day changes the world you choose if you share it, but it just feels like, you know, we are all in charge of our lives, and can be as magical and important as we want it to be. And so we don't have to always look outside for confirmation or followers and or a lot of money to show that we are important or that we have a voice. And that we can, you know, we can do that from right where we are. And that's very powerful.

George Kinder 38:30

Thank you. There were moments where I thought, even if I just leave this for my kids, I've done something for them. That would be wonderful. So I totally concur. Beautiful.

Jamila Souffrant 38:42

So George, please tell us a little bit more about your new book coming out. And it might be out by the time this comes out. But just more about like that new work, and then where people can find out more about you. Oh, great, thank

George Kinder 38:55

you. So the new book is called the three domains of freedom. And its significance is in its subtitle says each moment is yours. Your life is yours. And civilization is yours. And I you've heard me talk about freedom now Jamila for this, this half hour, 45 minutes, whatever it's been. I'm passionate about freedom. So what I'm trying to do in the book, I've made the book very short. It's only 35,000 words. And the idea is to inspire people in each of those domains to go for it. So I'm really excited and particularly right now I want to inspire people to be active in civilization to make sure we've got a really strong and we're good to each other, you know, as a community that it is our civilization is what Homo sapiens are what people are, it's the best of us it has to be, or it's not sustainable. So to find out more about me, I've got a website called George kinder.com. And you'll find a whole bunch of things that I haven't told you Do about there, including I, you know, one of the things that happened as a consequence of the third question when I was a boy, it wasn't basketball. I wanted to sing rock and roll. I wanted to write songs. And my family, they wouldn't even let me listen to the rock and roll that I wanted to listen to as we went so far back, you know. So, during that long, COVID summer, I thought, Well, my, I've got a couple of kids, they're teenagers, I want to do something with them. We're all locked in. Let's do something will be fun. And one of them's really musical. So we wrote an album together. So here I am, in my 70s, and she was a teenager, we put an album that's on Spotify anyway. Or George kinder.com, you'll see a lot of things that I've done, just because I believe in, in, in freedom, and living in Yeah,

Jamila Souffrant 40:49

well, you know, now I do have a couple more other questions that just came up for me, that may be helpful to the audience and listeners. So financial planners, so in the fire space, in my world, or half of my world, I would say like half of my foot or one foot is in the fire world of financial independence retire early community and the other half are the other foot is in the general personal finance space. And you know, so oftentimes, there's a lot of DIY, just in general with finances. And you know, people tend to want to do things on their own or save money in that way. And I just love your advice or take for people listening who want to look for or have a financial planner who takes into account their life plan, where it's not just about the money, and they feel listened to in a way where they can trust the person. What are you what's what's your advice for finding someone like that? Or asking the right questions to find someone like that?

George Kinder 41:40

You're near nailing it was the right questions. And the two things that I think are most important, well, three things. One is do they have a a background, that is financial is this really understand everything about money, and there are different designations but the one that's overwhelming ly popular in the United States and throughout the world is the Certified Financial Planner designation. So that helps knowing that they'll know a huge amount about money. Second thing in that realm is prefer them not to be getting commissions, you'd prefer them to just be dealing with you directly. And so there's a field in the movement. Most CFPs are fee only, but not by any means all of them. So you'd want to be searching out for who are the field only people and their various networks. NAPFA is won the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Garrett community as 1x y i think is one, their number of them. And you've probably spoken to a number of them, Jimmy Allah. And then the third. So those are two things. And then the third thing that I would say, is you want to have someone who really knows who really is a great listener. We've talked about life planning, like there's these skills and these questions that are fun to answer. But really, if you're going to work with someone, what you want more than anything is someone who really wants to hear who you are. And so not only will they be trained in these inspirational exercises, but there'll be a great listener. There'll be someone who has the capacity to empathize because most of us have gone through tough times around money I get didn't get to talk about all those. But you know, I've had them too. And most of us have had tough times around money. And it's really good to have someone who knows money, who can empathize, but also can see what would inspire you, and carry you there move you there. So we have one of the things you'll find, if you Google me and everything is that I've trained, I think 5000 advisors all over the world. And there's 600 of them or so who've earned our highest designation, which is called the registered Life Planner designation. They're all trained in great listening skills and empathy, and in inspirational skills to make sure that they captured this inspirational quality.

Jamila Souffrant 43:55

So can they find that on your site, like who's who has that certification?

George Kinder 43:59

I've trained people from 30 countries, which is a thrill. It's been just a thrill to go around the world doing this, but 15 of them have people who have achieved the highest level, this registered Life Planner designation. And, uh, you know, a lot of people and we've got, I think there are registered life letters in 42, state of the 50 states, a lot of them will zoom. So if you, if you find out someone that you really like, and you can't quite meet with them in person, then that's the way to do

Jamila Souffrant 44:25

it. Yeah. And then my final question for you because because you mentioned your daughter, and you know how being a parent is important to you. I'd love to hear how you incorporated raising your kids and like the concept of freedom for them, you know, as a parent myself, I've three small kids, they're pretty young, nine, seven and five. And so they're at this place where they are showing me rules be damned, they're gonna, they want their freedom. At the same time I'm trying to teach them structure so that they at least when they go out into the world, you know, first they can secure security first and then do whatever they want after that. What are your I ideas or thoughts on raising kids who are responsible adults, but also have freedom and self autonomy to go out into the world and, and to be confident, right to do all the things that we're talking about? Absolutely.

George Kinder 45:11

And, and the funny thing is, is that there's no guidebook on it, you know, we're all kind of winging it, we're all doing it. Because because the world has changed and changes so fast. So the smartphones were just beginning when when I when my kids were gonna make kids, they're only 20. Now, but they were, you know, just beginning, what do we do? What do we allow them to have them? When do we allow them to have? What about iPads? What about social media, all those kinds of things, I don't think we were the most restrictive appearance, but we were relatively restrictive, and probably in the top 10% of that in terms of wanting to give them more of an experience of nature of being themselves, rather than being tied to that those those machines too much, too early. And so that was one of the things that we did, we always talk together. And one of the things I did Jamila, that was amazed me because my my dad was a difficult dad, I didn't have the best dad in the world. Eventually, he and I became great friends. But as as a kid, he wasn't a great dad for me. And what I learned to do was if if there was a kind of an emotional dissonance, between me and one of my kids, I catch them sitting on the couch in the evening, and I'd go and I'd sit down right next to them. And I wouldn't say anything, I just sat there with the attitude of, I'm not going to hold on to what I'm upset about, I'm just going to show them that I can be here, and that I care. And that if they want to talk I can be excited about who they are. And I can be a good listener. So that was one of the things that was fun for me. And then of course, you know, emphasizing education. And if they didn't do education, really, my wife was terrific at searching out what were the best things for them. But we've maintained really good communication all the way along. And I think that really helps good communication and good values.

Jamila Souffrant 47:08

Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. And George, thanks so much again, for joining the show. I found that this was so enlightening. I know this will help so many people. So thanks again.

George Kinder 47:17

Wonderful to be today.

Speaker 1 47:20

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