A friend of mine passed away recently. He was in his mid-forties with three young children and a beautiful wife. He found out about a year ago that he had a rare form of cancer, one that didn’t respond to any treatments that were tried. It was the worst of the worst. He fought a valiant battle, but it became apparent there was nothing left to do and it was just a matter of time.
A childhood friend of his decided to start a page on Facebook in his honor. Slowly word spread about the page, and as of this morning, there were over 450 members. Over the past week, people from near and far, good friends and acquaintances, college buddies, high school friends, and family recalled experiences and memories that they shared with this great guy.
I have no idea how successful my friend was or what kind of money he had in the bank. But it was clear from the outpouring of love he received in his final days that he was one of the wealthiest people I have ever known. I don’t know if he was charitably inclined or how generous he was with his pocketbook, but the impact he had on people was incredible. Everyone who knew him talked of his smile and the way he made people laugh. When you spoke to him, you couldn’t help but be happy because his spirit was so contagious, his love of life was so apparent, and his ability to have a good time, no matter what the circumstance, knew no bounds. He truly lived every day to the fullest and though his life was cut way too short, he made every breath count.
Success Is About More Than Numbers
As a financial planner, when I meet with clients, one of our first discussions is always about goals. Initially, people begin by telling me what material things they want—a new home, a second home, a certain amount of money in the bank, a certain amount of money they want to spend. When I try to go beyond the money and get at what they REALLY want out of life, oftentimes they look back at me rather perplexed. They are meeting with a financial planner, they are here to talk numbers—what’s with the touchy-feely stuff? (For more from this author, see: What Does Good Financial Advice Look Like?)
People think that if they just have enough money, everything will be okay, their dreams will come true and they will be successful. But how much is enough and how do you measure success? If success is only measured by numbers—striving to attain a certain balance in the bank or a certain return on investments—satisfaction will never be attained. Why? Because you can always do better. Numbers don’t bring you happiness.
So, before you sit down to construct a financial plan, really think about your goals—not your financial goals, but your life goals. Sure, money provides flexibility so you can have experiences and have the freedom to do what you want when you want. But when you die, no one is going to know or care about how financially successful you were, how much money you had in the bank or how many years your portfolio beat the S&P 500. People will remember how you made them feel, how you made their world a better place because of the friend or family member you were, how you taught them things about themselves and how you brought out the best in them. Your energy and time should be spent with those you love doing what makes you happy. Your financial plan should be a means to making sure that you have the financial resources to make your life plan a reality.
(For more from this author, see: Baseball and Investing: How to Win at Both.)
Core Wealth Management is a Registered Investment Advisor in the State of Florida and is located at 4600 Military Trail, Suite 215, Jupiter, FL 33458, (561)491-0231. Investing in securities involves risk, including the potential loss of principal invested. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will outperform a non-diversified portfolio in any given market environment. No investment strategy, such as asset allocation, can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.