How to Leave Room for Fun in Financial Planning

Kay Lynn Mayhue, President of Merit, explains how to use compromise to create space for fun with your financial planning. She also shares her biggest financial win and biggest financial mistake.

You can listen to more of our conversation with Kay Lynn on our podcast, Work, Love, Pray! Listen below or click here to find your preferred listening platform.

How do you leave room for fun in financial planning?

It’s a constant compromise. I see folks my age that aren’t enjoying life. My husband and I have had a lot of conversations around things and how none of those things have ever really given us true enjoyment. I feel like people get caught up in “things” and thinking that the short-term high or happiness from buying something is going to last. That belief can get people in financial trouble.

I have spent quite a bit of money over the years on experiences, travel and being generous. It’s all a compromise. Don’t stretch yourself by getting the fancy car you really can’t afford. If you want to stretch yourself, stretch by serving others, by being generous or by providing that experience for your family or an extended group of friends. No, financial planning isn’t all about not having fun. I think it helps to have wise people in your life, whether that be tax advisors, attorneys, financial advisors, or a good friend that you lean on, to help talk you through different financial planning strategies. That practice helps us be accountable, and those folks will ask us some questions along the way that will stop us from making mistakes. 

What is the biggest financial win you’ve accomplished in your life? And on the flip side, what is the biggest financial regret that you have? 

On the win side, I would have to say it’s around serving others and really getting to a place where I feel like my family and I can make a difference for causes. Looking back on it, generosity started small and it started hard and was a sacrifice. I can remember when I had to stop getting my hair highlighted because we had decided to help a family stay in their house so their kids would have their own bedrooms. We also gave up our housekeeper for that time period and started cleaning our own house. 

At the time, it was a hardship, but those deliberate sacrifices were worth being able to answer the call to help others. Generosity has given me true meaning and motivation for this phase of my life because I want to work, not because I have to, but because it gives me that drive to continue to help others reach their financial goals.

My biggest financial mistake would be the times that I didn’t stretch myself enough. Houses and cars are the top things that can cause financial regrets. Before you jump into purchasing a house or a new car, ask yourself how long you plan to own either one of them. If you want a new car every two years, or plan to move around a lot, it doesn’t make a lot of financial sense to own. You also need to ask yourself if you should hold out on buying a new car or a house until you’re in a better position and won’t be stretching yourself. Instead of stretching yourself negatively, stretch yourself by choosing to save more to put into that big purchase or discipline yourself to wait for the perfect time in your life to make that purchasing decision.

Kay Lynn has played many roles in the financial advisory industry: as a successor, partner, seller, and buyer. This unique and diverse background allows her to be able to relate to advisors in all phases of their careers and mergers and acquisitions. With a background in financial planning and leadership, her career expands over several areas, including advising clients, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic growth. 

Kay Lynn worked her way up from an entry-level position to earn her seat at the C-Suites table as President of Merit, which manages over 5 billion in RIA and Brokerage assets under management. She holds her CFP®, AEP®, and RFC® and has been a critical decision-maker for two firms over the past twenty years. Kay Lynn has overseen multiple mergers and acquisitions over the past four years and has been recognized for her position as a female leader in the financial services industry.

She is passionate about helping people take their careers – and themselves – to exceptional levels. Kay Lynn’s influence in the industry and her drive for success is a driving factor in Merit’s ongoing growth and appeal to growth-oriented advisors.