Are you an equal in your marriage or partnership? This seems like an obvious question to ask, but it isn’t always as clear as we think. What about when it comes to your future? When it’s about moving to a new house, retiring, helping your children financially, or deciding who selects your investments?
According to The Guardian, silence and powerlessness go hand in hand.
“Being unable to tell your story is a living death […] Stories save your life. And stories are your life. We are our stories.”
Liberation is a storytelling process: a free person tells their own story, but a valued person lives in a society in which their story has a place.
The ability to speak is important, but being heard and believed are even more vital. These: the ability to speak up; to participate; to experience and be experienced; are crucial parts of feeling like you belong.
“If being heard is a kind of wealth, that wealth is now being reshuffled.”
This article will help you understand why it is imperative that both parties in a relationship come to a discovery meeting, and why it is important to speak up.
The primary reason individuals choose not to attend a discovery meeting is a general disinterest in financial matters. Investments, economics, products, and tax advice are a huge turn-off for many people.
Here’s the good news: your discovery meeting is about you, your feelings, and your emotions. Your life story, your hopes and dreams, your fears and concerns. The people dearest to you, your personal values, your goals in life. The meeting is about you, not your money.
What is a discovery meeting and why do we need one?
Until we understand you: your values, your family and your outlook – we haven’t earned the right to advise you about money.
The meetings are held in our office (or another calm and quiet space, if you prefer) and may last up to two hours. The meeting space is informal and comfortable. No technology, no executive tables, no interruptions. The initial meeting is conversational and won’t involve paperwork or spreadsheets. It’s about enjoying a great conversation over a nice cup of tea or coffee.
The questions we ask are about you, your life, and your interests. We want to know what is important to you and what you value: the direction you want your life to take. We ask you how you feel about certain things, and how they affect you emotionally.
Here is some feedback from a recent discovery meeting:
Irene: "It’s been brilliant. I feel like I have been in a counselling session. What a good range of questions – and a good judge of character. I felt totally comfortable and you were always professional. It’s been entertaining and I didn’t get bored once. I rate it 10/10. Nice coffee as well!"
Simon: "I always find it difficult to open up and to talk about personal stuff. It’s been a great session for me, I uncovered some contradictions in my life. Happy to give it a strong 9/10 and have taken the point off purely because I’m uncomfortable talking about myself".
The reason it is crucial both parties attend is that we can’t have Yin without Yang. One voice can only be half the story, and we need both for the full picture.
Finding Your Voice
Experience tells us that there is often a more dominant partner in every couple: the one who takes on a leadership role and spearheads planning on family finances.
When it comes to your discovery meeting, this dominance is reduced and each of you will have an equal amount of airtime.
Couples have many things in common with each other, but you are not identical physically, intellectually, or emotionally. These differences need to be aired in confidence.
There are precious few opportunities to take two quiet hours out of your schedule to talk about your life and be listened to intensely without being judged. We don’t often have time to think deeply about what we have to say. We want to give you the chance to have your voice heard and to tell your story.
Have you ever been truly listened to, without interruption? Were you given enough time to formulate your ideas, plan your sentences, and express your ideas properly?
Many conversational silences are waiting, not listening: pauses when waiting to speak. We don’t think that’s the same as being heard.
How long would it take you to answer these questions?
What does money mean to you?
Who are the most important people in your life?
How would you define financial independence?
When it comes to family, friends, and the wider world, what would you like your legacy to be?
Getting it off your chest
A good discovery meeting lets you recalibrate the rest of your life and set sail on a new course. Shared voices and opinions lead to mutual outcomes. It can’t be done alone.
Many things said during a discovery meeting are being said for the first time. This is the ideal chance to get things off your chest and into the open: to set your thoughts free without being judged. If not here, if not now, then where, and when?
If you would like more information about the discovery experience, or have any questions about the meetings, please get in touch.