Our arguably most famous client decided to retire this week, pulling the plug on a 50 year career. He and his family have been a client of our firm for 28 years. On a call this week, we got into a discussion of how he finally decided to walk away from his career, and embark on a new adventure. His reason was a surprise to me, and an affirmation of the life planning that is a hallmark of OWM.
He mentioned that at one of our annual meetings seven years ago, I had posed the following question to him:
“What do you want to do with your life?”
What I was implying wasn’t whether he liked what he was doing, or enjoyed where he was working, or felt he was on the right financial track. What I was alluding to was his most precious asset – time.
This question is not about eliciting how many homes you would like to own, how much you want to spend, what clubs you would like to join, or how many luxury cars you would like to own. These are all tangible things. What we are talking about is intangible. If you had the freedom to pursue your interests without reservations, what would you do? Your collective interests will distill themselves into the kind of life you want to live.
As you can see from our friend’s experience, it is no easy task to discern the kind of life you want. It can take years of trial and error, as well as quiet reflection, for a picture to emerge. The key here is to give yourself an opportunity to mentally clear the decks.
This process starts with the completion of a T-Chart, listing the pros and cons of your life as it stands today. Carefully examine the things that give you joy in your life. Do you have enough time to pursue the things that you find truly fulfilling? If not, what are you able to remove from the “cons” on your T-Chart to free up more time?
Then it is time to identify the activities that you have always wanted to pursue but for a lack of time today. There are a variety of interest assessments on the market that you may find helpful. Once you have had an opportunity to create a picture of the life you want, only then does it make sense to look at how best to finance your vision.
Putting financial considerations before your vision, often creates excuses for not pursuing the life you want. We can always make adjustments to your financial condition. We cannot adjust for a half-baked vision of the life you want. The good news is that an exciting life awaits you. Making it happen begins with a question: What kind of life do YOU want?
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