About two years ago we started using the term Mindful Finance to describe our practice as financial advisors at Highlander.
Usually the first thing someone asks upon hearing this term is the very logical question: what is Mindful Finance? This question was a challenge for us. We knew we had been doing it for our entire career, but we had just gotten the term named, and didn’t have a concise set of words to elucidate the subject.
Moving forward to today, we have enjoyed some time to contemplate and converse with people on the subject of Mindful Finance. These experiences, have made a couple things clear. First, it is clear that this term relates to much more than the Highlander practice as advisors. In essence, the term relates to the view that finance can support sanity. A view is not the specific property of an individual or a company. Second, it is clear that there are probably unlimited fruitful hours which could be spent unpacking what Mindful Finance can be. The subject matter that could be brought to bear in the context of Mindful Finance is quite vast.
What is Mindfulness?
In order to keep the Mindful Finance momentum moving forward, we are proud to have arrived at a working definition of the term. As a bit of background, in the past we have shared with you the definition of mindfulness as:
Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.
Regarding finance, we like the definition:
Finance is the management, creation and study of money, banking, credit, investments, assets and liabilities. For individuals, this definition can be simplified to: The management of banking, credit, investments, assets and liabilities.
Holding these definitions in mind, and adding in the fact that Mindful Finance is active, we offer this working definition.
Mindful Finance is the joining of matters relating to money and matters relating to personal experience.
This direct and practical technique of “joining” money with mind and heart is a simple idea which has the potential to be transformative for individuals and the finance industry. The subject of money and finance tends to produce strong emotions in people. These emotions can be both negative and positive – jealousy, anger and despair; to hope and euphoria. Engaging with financial matters in a way that is non-judgmental towards oneself and observant of emotions, rather than driven by them, creates space and equilibrium. This turns emotions into learning experiences which provide important information for making good financial decisions.
Engaging with financial matters in a way that is non-judgmental towards oneself and observant of emotions, rather than driven by them, creates space and equilibrium.
We live in a time in history when money causes a great deal of worry for people. We believe Mindful Finance can help alleviate this worry. We envision a society that is aware of the pitfalls that money can create, and relates to these challenges with compassion. On a more basic level, we strive to practice Mindful Finance at Highlander to benefit our clients in both the areas of our advice and investment strategy.
We very much look forward to continuing to apply mindfulness practices to our services and believe that you will benefit from this activity.
Sol is president of Highlander Financial. He has over 20 years of experience in financial markets and managing businesses.