I’m in a reflective and philosophical mood as a I write this. Some who know me well, might say I’m always thinking that way and they’d be more correct than not.
For over thirty years I’ve been fortunate to build a business and support my family by helping others. Other than a person’s health, financial security may be the most important factor in living a happy life. I believe healthy relationships and surrounding yourself with honorable, supportive people are also very important. However, health and financial security establish the foundation for everything else. It’s certainly easier to assist others while healthy and not fearful of not being able to pay bills.
In my life, I’ve been broke and financially successful. I’ve not experienced poor health myself or in my family. My grandparents lived long, and my parents are healthy at age 81. Our (Dawn & I) children and stepchildren have mostly been healthy. We are blessed.
This brings me to my point. In my work as Wealth Manager for families, many who are in or near retirement, I address health and dying all the time. We may have the perfect plan to accomplish a family’s goals and objectives and then one day none of it matters. We have 3-5 clients pass away every year and others that must alter their activities due to a change in health. A few that come to mind…..
One of my most inspirational clients died. He was a cancer survivor since age nine and had defied every doctor’s prediction. Coincidently, he graduated high school in Waterloo, Iowa as I did but, we never met until he started our PCA process. He had recently gotten married and was searching for his dream retirement home as I assured him and his spouse they could “swing it”. He died at age 65, three months before he would have officially retired and bought that home.
We also lost a brilliant 37-year old client who was introduced to me by her parents who are wonderful clients. Her achievements and eclectic interests belied her youth. She attacked life as if every day mattered, which of course it does.
My parents lost their daughter, my sister, on her 50th birthday two years ago. Her loss continues to be with me as I think of how Dawn and I would feel outliving one of our children. I’m confident we cannot know that pain secondhand.
I never know what to say when those I care about lose someone. Words seem small to me in those moments. It matters to me, whether I’m able to express properly or not. My sharing in the goals, fears, triumphs, and tragedy of our client’s lives is a tremendous blessing. It took a while to recognize how I’m guided by these experiences. I’m more forgiving and attentive in all life’s situations because of being a part of so many family’s experiences. I am grateful.
I’ll attempt to bring levity to the end of this column if you’re still reading! Life continues to move on. We all have opportunities to tell others we love them, we are proud of them, and I’m sorry. Go hug someone who disagrees with you! We have the power to improve each day, every morning we wake up.