Money Checkup Podcast

Money Checkup Podcast With Scott Frank

Episode 30: Values-Based Financial Life Planning

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Before he starts talking about finances with his clients, Scott Frank encourages them to dig deeply into their values. He asks them questions that encourage them to explore what really matters to them: How would you live your life if you had unlimited funds? If you found out you only had five to 10 more years to live, how would you live differently? And if you found out today that you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you regret? Scott believes that the better we understand what we want and what we value, we can put our finances to work in ways that help us achieve those goals. 

“I think the default in our industry is typically to help people die rich, when our job should be to help people live rich lives.”

Scott still “geeks out on Roth conversions,” he says, but aims to use financial and tax planning tools “in support of the life the person ultimately wants.” 



Scott Frank is a CFA and a Certified Financial Planner™ who focuses on financial life planning. He is the founder of Stone Steps Financial in San Diego. Scott works with his clients to understand what a fulfilling life looks like to each of them, then design financial plans that can help them build those lives.  

Social, website, book link:

On Twitter: @Scott_R_Frank



  • Planners who focus on financial life planning works seek to understand clients’ lives holistically, then help them use their money as a tool to support their values and priorities. 
  • Sometimes the only time adults have to talk about what they want is during a session with their financial advisor. Advisors who deeply listen during those sessions can help people reflect on their values and help them prepare their finances to take the steps they want to take, such as leaving the corporate sector for nonprofit work or spending more time with their family. 
  • Scott asks his clients to answer three questions designed to “get down to the deep stuff,” so people can think about their values first: 
    • If you didn’t have to worry whatsoever about money, how would you live your life? Clients often talk about changing careers, retiring early, or never working again.
    • If you found out you only had 10 more years to live, what would you do? Caveats: You would never feel sick, you would not know the date of your death in advance, and you are limited to the money you currently have. Clients often talk about spending time with family, repairing and investing deeply in relationships, and ensuring long-term financial security for their families.
    • If you found out that you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you regret? What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do? Clients often talk about their legacy, their spirituality, and experiences they had been planning to delay until retirement. 
  • Once clients have explored those questions, Scott and Anjali help them approach financial topics like insurance and retirement planning in ways that honor their expressed values. Often clients realize that the financial work they need to do to achieve those goals is not as much work as they expect. 
  • This exercise can help spouses discuss their common values, which can help them bridge gaps in their views about money. 
  • More and more Americans are going to have to work past age 65. Think about how you can build your life in such a way that you travel and enjoy time with your family throughout your career, even if it means working for a few extra years. 
  • Financial life planning gives clients access to life planning tools and financial planning tools at the same time. Identifying that you value more time with your family is an important step; a financial planner can help you organize your life in a way that allows you to spend that time. 


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If you loved this episode, here’s another I know you’ll enjoy too! Episode 23: How Business Owners Can Build Balanced Lives with Sophia Bera

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