A few years ago I authored a 10-part series on retirement, and now I’m aching to revisit the subject. There is just so much to say—between wise old adages, new trends and a collective treasure of good articles—so this is a topic that I plan to write a lot about.

Let’s start with this question: What is our money for?

Those who have worked with me for a while recognize that many of our conversations are about goals, and integrating life and money. Often financial advising can center on return on investment, which is of great importance. Professionals must be skilled to offer expertise, sound strategy and a prudent approach to building wealth. What can be often neglected is designing your return on life.

Money is just a tool. The ultimate goal of money is to get the best life possible with the money we have.

So, let’s use it to skillfully navigate what we want in life. Let’s not kid ourselves and confuse this concept with an over emphasis on short-term gratification. Or saving so much that you are afraid to spend money.

One of the greatest powers of money is to “buy time.” Instead of money being the incentive, shift the focus to what it is we can build with that wealth.

Perhaps you can think of your retirement fund as an autonomy fund. Consider that your money can influence the way you work and stay engaged, your residence, your achievements, continued learning, leisure and travel, health, relationships, purpose and security.

Whether you are in your 40s or knocking on retirement’s door, these are big, fabulous questions: Are we using our money to have our best life? If not, what adjustments should be made? What planning needs to happen?

Imagine you are 90 years old and looking back on the last 25 years. What have you accomplished for yourself? For others? Just thinking about this now can launch a powerful dialogue.

As always, I’m available to dig in, and have our next good conversation on what it is you are trying to achieve.