Life Planning Training: Reinforcing My Purpose – Part 1

life planning training
Life planning focuses on the human side of financial planning. Here is part one of my recent experience at EVOKE training.

WOW, I have asked clients the three Kinder life planning questions since 2020. But Apprise’s life planning process didn’t go much beyond that. As I mentioned in this space several times recently (for example, see here), one of my 2023 goals involves earning the Registered Life Planner® designation. That will allow me to fully integrate the Kinder life-planning process into Apprise’s financial planning process. As a next step toward achieving this goal, from February 15-21, I attended EVOKE Life Planning Training. (E-Exploration; V-Vision; O-Obstacles; K-Knowledge; E-Execution) What a fantastic experience!

While this multi-part blog – including the other parts that follow – is personal in nature, you should find it instructive. It provides greater insight into what life planning is, what it means to create a life plan, and how that can energize and inspire you. Plus, as an advisor, I ask clients to share with me. It helps me get to know them better. The same applies to me. I should share as well.

Life planning focuses on the human side of financial planning. Life planning helps you reorganize your relationship with money. It allows you to dedicate your financial resources in a way that supports a life of the greatest value, meaning, and purpose to you. It helps you align your spending with what matters most. The goal is to create a practical plan to make your most deeply held life goals happen. Of course, you also create a financial plan that supports your goals. The process should inspire you to do what matters most to you.

You can find Part 3, which includes my life plan here, and part 2, in which I discussed my responses to the three Kinder life planning questions, here. You can also click here to read the full story in one place.

Seven Stages of Money Maturity

For me, the three-part journey to becoming a Registered Life Planner® started with the Seven Stages of Money Maturity training course that I took in October. The framework for this course is based on George Kinder’s book of the same name. In the book, Kinder addresses the important role emotions play in our relationship with money and personal finance.

Kinder discusses the seven psychological stages of money maturity. He breaks these down as follows:


  1. Innocence – A childhood state where money plays no role in our lives.
  2. Pain – A time when we realize that some have more money than us while others have less. We also learn that life requires us to work.


  1. Knowledge – We learn the importance of saving, budgeting, and investing our money.
  2. Understanding – We come to terms with our emotional feelings related to money; e., greed, envy, and resentment.
  3. Vigor – We discover that physical, emotional, and spiritual energy is required to reach our financial goals.


  1. Vision – Through our inner wisdom, we try to contribute to the health and well-being of our communities.
  2. Aloha – We practice compassion and service to others with no expectations of receiving anything in return.

The book – as well as the training are designed to help us uncover the roots of our attitudes about money, and attain true peace, freedom, and security in our financial lives.

When we understand more about why we make financial decisions and can discuss those issues, it becomes easier to make more empowering financial plans. The book and course are designed to help us understand what money is and what role we want it to play in our relationships with ourselves as well as others.

As I’ve written in the past, many of my childhood money memories were far from pleasant. In fact, some were quite painful. Completing the course, reading the book after it, and the questions and memories they asked me to address were painful at times. But completing them also helped me to think about these memories in a different way than I had before. I’ve reconciled with the idea that I can’t change the past, and if things had gone better growing up, I doubt that I would have the family and life that I have today. For that I am truly grateful.

Plus, they reminded me of some things that had long been forgotten. I realized one of these was so important that it’s now part of my life plan. (Sorry, you won’t read about that until later.)

Pursuing the Registered Life Planner® Designation

My experience with Seven Stages convinced me that I wanted to become a Registered Life Planner®. But the question was when. EVOKE was offered in February. Was that too soon? Should I wait until next year? After all, it’s held in Hawaii, not an easy trip. I’d traveled there once before – on my honeymoon – and have always wanted to go back. I asked Diana about joining me, but the logistics weren’t right.

About a month after Seven Stages training I decided to attend EVOKE sooner rather than later. The timing wasn’t great as it meant that I would be away from Diana on Valentine’s Day and apart from my family on my birthday. It might not sound like it, but I decided the timing was right.

Why Now?

In short, I experienced a great awakening that started with the conclusion of Seven Stages Training and my coming down with covid after I returned home. That led to the immediate implementation of some important changes in my life. I removed some things that were distracting me and keeping me from focusing my time on what matters most both personally and professionally. This also led me to read Seven Stages even before we were assigned to do so for EVOKE. This combination of factors left me wondering more about what I want to accomplish and re-examining events from long ago.

Completing EVOKE training and developing my life plan has helped bring greater clarity to what I want to accomplish and better define what matters most to me.

Arriving Early

As you will learn when I share my life plan, I like to travel. But it goes deeper than that. This journey reminded me of how much I enjoy active travel. I want to do and not just see. I want to explore, too. A good friend – that I connected immediately with at Seven Stages training – and I arrived in Maui a couple of days before class started. We stayed in Maui – our training was in Hana.

Diana and I were in Hawaii for our honeymoon. This was my first time back. During our first visit, Diana and I went to the top of Haleakalā Crater (a dormant volcano) to see the sunrise, but we did not hike inside the crater. The plan was for us to bike down (on the road). That worked well for me, but not so much for Diana. She’ll tell you it wasn’t one of my better moments.

This time, my friend and I hiked more than a mile into the crater. Our timing was impeccable as the day was mostly cold and overcast. Fortunately, we got a break in the weather during our hike. The picture you see below was my favorite. I love the colors and the clouds that sit atop the ground. From the top, you don’t realize how vibrant the colors inside the crater can be. This picture reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of Mars. As we made our way out of the crater, we walked through a cloud. We could feel the dampness as we walked through it.

Inside Haleakalā crater

We also explored other areas outside the crater which had lush green vegetation. On Wednesday, we took the famous Road to Hana to get to training – George Kinder hosted the training in his home. Below you see me sitting in front of one of the many waterfalls we stopped to see along the way. There are also a couple of ocean views – check out the water’s deep blue color – and a rainbow eucalyptus tree – notice the bark’s different colors.

Our journey on the road to Hana took us to the first night of training. In Part 2, I’ll discuss more about training and share my answers to the three Kinder questions. In Part 3, I will share my life plan. I hope it inspires you to create your life plan, too.

End of Part 1

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