Do you feel called to a greater purpose? Is there something you feel you were born to do, or something that would make a positive impact on those around you, but you haven’t yet figured it out? So many of us wrestle with this feeling, yet we never get the clarity we need to move forward. Or we try to fill that void with financial success only to discover that money doesn’t bring us fulfillment. Either way, we’re stuck wanting more for our lives.
Mark Clure knows that feeling, it’s what set him on a journey that ultimately led him to create the GUIDE process for identifying and then financing your ideal lifestyle. In his new book, True Wealth, Mark, a certified financial advisor with 25 years experience, walks you through his proven process step-by-step and shares success stories of people who have used it to discover their purpose and unlock their potential. In this episode, Mark gives us a high-level overview of that process, as well as what can happen when you align yourself with both your purpose and your financial goals. Enjoy.
Miles Rote: Hey everyone, my name is Miles Rote and I’m excited to be here today with Mark Clure, author of True Wealth: The GUIDE Process for Finding and Financing Your Ideal Life. Mark, I’m excited you’re here, welcome to the author hour podcast.
Mark Clure: Thanks Miles, I am excited to be here myself.
Miles Rote: Let’s start by telling us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to write this book.
Mark Clure: I’ll begin with that I have been a certified financial planner for 26 years now and, if we still have an audience after that, I’ll go into the fact that I’ve always wanted to write a book. That’s been for decades, not years, and I couldn’t figure out what to write it about. The second part of that equation is, that I was always, at the same time, really working on trying to find my purpose, and had this nagging suspicion that there was something more out there.
After 20 years of looking, I did figure out my purpose. I detailed the process that it took to find my purpose, and that was the book. I blended that with my CFP training, so my process follows the same standards that we use to do financial planning for clients.
Miles Rote: I love the intersection of finding your purpose and also planning your financial life. Your book does such a good job of really striking that balance. Before we jump into purpose, which I want to spend a lot of time talking about, what do you think it was, as a kid, or as a young adult, or for decades wanting to write a book? What was it that inspired you to want to write a book?
Mark Clure: I think it may come back to the purpose as a part of me that there was something in me nagging me saying, “There is a book in you.” I think I did carry it, probably longer than 30 years, and I never found that ideal subject matter until I cracked the code of finding my purpose.
Miles Rote: Okay, before we get into cracking the code, first, who should read this book?
Mark Clure: That’s a great question. The people that I think would best benefit are people who are looking for their purpose and haven’t found it or haven’t found a method to get there. Other people, our financial advisors who would like to create a deeper relationship with clients, students who were preparing for how they’re going to spend the rest of their life, those would be ideal candidates to read the book. Others are people who have a rough idea of their purpose and want to refine it.
Miles Rote: Yeah, let’s talk about purpose a little bit. I feel like this term gets thrown around a lot, but it’s one of those things that I’m not sure how much time people spend actually getting into the details of it. What does that look like in your book about guiding people to better find their purpose?
Mark Clure: Well, what I found through trial and error over decades was, where I was looking was the wrong place. I was looking outside myself and I ultimately determined that it’s in me. My purpose was already defined, and I just had to go about discovering what it was that I was meant to do.
Miles Rote: You propose a system for people to find their own purpose, can you give us a high-level overview of what that looks like?
Mark Clure: After looking outside myself, I found that once I discovered that I did have it, that I had the purpose locked deep with inside me, I used the process of going back through my personal history.
In the book, there are somewhere between 140 and 150 discovery questions that break down the various parts of your life, looking for things that recur, and themes that drive you, and themes that you carry with you today.
Miles Rote: Yeah, you also discussed three pieces of an ideal life and achieving true wealth that I think are worth sharing. Those three pieces are redefining wealth, creating a goal, and rediscovering one’s purpose. Walk us through those and why they’re so important to your book in general?
The GUIDE Process
Mark Clure: Redefining wealth is the core of the book. Most people are going to define wealth as having a lot of money. In the book, I describe many occasions of people who do have a lot of money but lived a miserable existence. Part of what I hope to accomplish is for people to realize that wealth is really not so much about the bigger pile of money, but of doing what you can do to help others and make the world a better place.
Miles Rote: You have a step-by-step system for not only finding your purpose but also for creating a financial plan for your life. You call it the GUIDE process. What does that look like?
Mark Clure: The GUIDE process flowed from the financial planning process. In financial planning, the first thing we do is gather financial information, then we create financial goals, third, we identify and evaluate options and, on step four, create a written plan, and lastly, evaluate and revise that plan.
After practicing that for so many years, once I did develop the process, the word GUIDE fits nicely in that somebody can lead you, or a process that can lead you where you’d like to go.
The GUIDE process spells out the word ‘guide’. Step one is to gather information from your past, and step two, unlock your potential and create your ideal future. Step three, identify the themes that are uniquely you, and step four, develop your purpose statement.
Lastly, evaluate and evolve. Once you get your purpose statement, you get to go out and test drive it in the real world, and there, you’ll find reactions and make minor adjustments to it, but that in a nutshell is the GUIDE process.
Miles Rote: I find it so interesting that you created this for financial planning and yet it works with finding your purpose. Why do you think that is, and how did you come across that?
Mark Clure: Well, completely by accident. I found my purpose and looked for a way to relate it in the book, in a repeatable process. I wracked my brain for weeks, trying to find that repeatable process before it dawned on me that I use one every day at work. I put the two together and it became something people can use and, in fact, it’s been test-driven by a number of people.
Miles Rote: How did these things come together? Let’s say I used the GUIDE process, and I used the questions in the book to really help identify my purpose, and then I use the same GUIDE process, and I start to nail down my financial plan. What does it look like to use these things now in my life, going forward, to really live my purpose, and develop a financial future for myself?
Mark Clure: One of the things that often happens when people make a change is that it gets hung up on the financial side. In other words, you’ve got a job and you’re earning a living and you need to keep groceries on the table and take care of all of your plans. Most people, or very few people at least that I know of, would be able to just make a complete flip and do something different tomorrow.
The financial planning part of it is slightly different. The word GUIDE is spelled out to describe the process: first is get your financial information together, the second step is to understand what’s important, and that’s where we talk about family, recreation, occupation, and money. The third step is to invest with confidence, and there’s a section in the book where I describe that most people are going to have to do some sort of investment and planning in order to make a transition–particularly a career transition.
The book definitely describes how you can do that. Step four is developing your ideal financial plan, so we get to know what our ideal life looks like. We have to know our purpose in order to do that, and then to develop the plan. Lastly again, evaluate and evolve the plan.
Miles Rote: Having these things are so important to have a clear goal and plan in place to move forward with things but what about when things get difficult? When it comes to financial planning, the market can change quickly. Everything that happened with the pandemic and the coronavirus, it changed the way people looked at these things. For some people, it scared them and made them think about their plan differently.
After having a plan, how do people really stick with it?
Mark Clure: Well, I think part of the answer to that is that people who do have a plan are much more likely to stick with it, but it is also a great idea to have a strategy about how you’re going to handle it when things go off plan. This year is a perfectly good example for that on the financial side, with the coronavirus’s impact on investments and investment markets. People who did have a strategy and were prepared to handle it, have really done extremely well.
Miles Rote: You’re right, they have. A lot of people that do make plans, part of their plans, as you said, are built-in for things like this. So, when we talk about evolving and evolving plans, in your book, you spend a lot of time speaking on different ways to utilize each of these GUIDE principles. How can people, when it comes to evolving, know that they’re evolving the right plan, and not just acting on some hunch or trying to change their plan because it is hard?
Mark Clure: The best answer I can give you is that once you know your purpose, and you’ll know it when you find it, and particularly when you test drive it on a few people, you will know you’re there. Then your decisions, your choices, become so obvious, that you will know the direction to take when given a choice.
Miles Rote: I love that answer, and I think that is my favorite thing about the book. Why is it that, in a lot of financial planning books, or when people are talking about their financial plans, they can talk about their financial goals, but I rarely ever hear them talking about their life’s purpose?
Why do you think that life’s purpose has been forgotten when it comes to financial planning in general?
Mark Clure: I think that a lot of people simply don’t think that way, or they have forgotten about it. Unfortunately, as we get older, I think we, years ago, given up on our dreams. Not everybody, but a lot of people have given up on our dreams, and I think we don’t consider our purpose. We just continue plugging away at what we are doing and, again, feeding the family takes precedence over doing what you’d really like to do.
Miles Rote: What have you found when you do work with these clients, and you help them either find their purpose, or rediscover their purpose, or put their purpose as the primary goal, how do you see them change their financial goals?
Mark Clure: Their priorities often change once they have decided their purpose. Finding your purpose is a profound experience. It is a wow moment in your life, and then deciding what is most important in your financial planning becomes much easier. People often come in, and I most often hear, “My goal is to retire,” and when I ask them when, it is as soon as possible.
When we poke around a little bit further, it’s really not that they dislike working itself. They either dislike their current occupation, or they dislike their employer or some combination of those things. Without knowing your purpose, you really don’t have any trajectory to move to anything else. People tend to continue doing what they’re doing. If we can unlock their purpose, we unlock a little bit of passion. We unlock potential, and they make choices moving towards those financial goals.
In the book, I talk about a husband and wife I met with. I remember the question that I asked was, “Is there anything that you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet accomplished?” And they immediately were able to respond and say yes. They had always wanted to sail the Mediterranean. Even with their great degree of planning, it just seemed to be something they always thought was a little bit out of their reach. Once we started working on that goal and putting the money toward that project, the real purpose behind it was much bigger, and it became more obvious, and we are getting closer to them actually achieving that goal.
Miles Rote: How often have you seen that happen? I can relate to this so much because–I am just going to make it about me for a second, because when I really align myself with a passion and a goal, suddenly, I become so enlivened, and lit up do the things I need to do to achieve that. As opposed to some blurry kind of abstract number that I create in my head as far as the amount that I need to save in order to feel secure.
That to me feels very abstract and obscure, as opposed to, “I want to sail the Mediterranean, and it would cost me this much, and I need this much time to prepare. So, therefore, I need to do X, Y, and Z.”
Have you found that clarification allows people to take this more seriously?
Mark Clure: I think it does a couple of things. First, it is a game-changer to define your purpose. In the case of that example, sailing the Mediterranean, which again, had a little bit deeper purpose for those clients, but to be working towards that, instead of working towards not working, brings a lot more passion to the goal.
Once you do define your purpose and get that passion, you’ll be able to see your energy level rise. So, purpose gives you energy.
Miles Rote: As people better discover their purpose, and align it with their financial goals, do you typically see people feeling the need to make a lot more money to hit their goals, as far as how their purpose fits into that? Or is it more of a reorganization of what they currently have, and then re-dividing their funds to better serve their purpose?
Mark Clure: Definitely the latter. Most of the people that I work with have not made complete changes in their life. Most of them have stuck with a similar profession, and finding their purpose, and knowing their purpose, and working towards those goals, I will say has given them the extra energy to move towards actually achieving them.
I certainly had people who have hit the other side. They have set what they wanted to do. They have run the plans and achieved their ideal life.
Miles Rote: Amazing. Again, the intersection of finding your purpose, when it comes to yourself and your finances, really shows throughout this book. Congratulations on finally writing it after decades of wanting to. It is amazing. If people could take away just one or two things from your book, what would it be?
Mark Clure: I think most important is that finding your purpose is an inward journey. It is inside of you, and I spent a long time looking outside. So, I am thinking it was something I had to discover elsewhere. That is the first part, it is in you, and looking through your past will get you there. The other thing I would say is that I’ve had a number of previewers test drive the book and so far, each of them has been able to arrive at their purpose.
It’s very exciting when that happens, and one of the people mentioned that she had found her purpose and she described it to me. She said, “Thank you for writing the book. I would have never followed through on this, even though I had always wanted to. I would have never found my purpose without your book.” So, your purpose is inside of you and you will find it.
Miles Rote: Mark, this has been such a pleasure. I am excited for people to check the book out. Everyone, the book is called, True Wealth: The GUIDE Process for Finding and Financing Your Ideal Life. You can find it on Amazon. Well, besides checking out the book and helping people find their purpose Mark, where can people find you?
Mark Clure: A couple of places. So, the first is I have a website, which is primarily devoted to the book, but on there you will get me and also via email, .
Miles Rote: Thank you so much, Mark, everyone check out the book and we’ll see you next time.
Mark Clure: Thanks, Miles.