It’s Labor Day weekend, Sunday to be specific. I’m sitting on our pontoon boat. My son and his friend are hopping into the lake while intermittently requesting music. My daughter swims circles around my husband who is floating in the bay. Life is good. I’m writing in this moment by choice. Relaxed, happy, and seeking to share this sense of well-being with you.
As I type, I remember the moments that made this summer special. A family trip to California filled with friends and beautiful, new places as well as clients I appreciate very much. A lake cruise with some of my husband and my oldest and dearest friends, with no kids, just a low key investment in each other’s company. Hours on end at my house on the deck, preparing to launch my new practice, Pearl Planning. Each of these moments was unique, special, and inherently appealing to me personally.
This is just the last few months. And with school starting up, a new company to launch, and life’s hectic pace, it would be easy to race to what’s next. I’m glad to take a minute right now to appreciate. I realize that it was often not about the place or the moment, but the pleasure of sharing my family’s time with people who are important to us that made a piece of time cherished. The family, friends, and colleagues who are the threads nurturing all of us every day and especially during challenging times.
I recently met with a career coach turned retirement and life vision guru, Jim Craft. Jim sits down with people to help them add purpose and meaning to their life, especially in retirement. He emphasized to me that when working with people to craft a long-term retirement vision, he starts with the experiences and memories that are important to his clients. It made me think about this summer and the layers of seasons of each of our lives.
If you don’t take the time to reflect on what’s special, what matters to you, and what you need to seek more of, how can you appropriately shape your future personal and financial goals in a way that will maximize the happiness and meaning in your life? I, for one, don’t want to leave my vision and goals to chance. So, here I am, thinking back with a smile about simple moments and time that meant more to me than money can buy.
When you have the time, reflect on the past months, the past year, the seasons of your life. Are there particular experiences or memories that mattered most to you with the benefit of hindsight? What would it take to rearrange your intentions so that you could find more of this in the future?
When your financial planner discusses your goals, they shouldn’t just ask when you want to retire and how much you plan to spend. Without the purpose, the meaning, the intention for experiences that make you tick, you may find that something is missing. Something important and potentially transcendent.
For me, my reflection today has some goals and actions I can incorporate into my future
- I’ve always known how my connections with clients fueled my passion for my work. This summer provided an important validation for that belief. I never want to lose the space for meaningful personal connections with the clients I serve as a financial planner.
- I can count my summer’s success with hugs from my five-year-old daughter. They’re an exuberant physical experience. I want to be able to tell her how much they’ve mean to me long after she grows old and her hugs grow more delicate. For my son, his burgeoning friendships and elementary school society are to be nourished, and my husband, Jeff, and I want to make sure to respect the time those friendships need for investment.
- A financial investment in a pontoon boat resulted in many of our most special moments as a family. It had been on our list of goals for years, but we put off the purchase. I’m glad we didn’t stretch when the investment would have hurt our cash flow. But, we probably could have made the purchase a year or two earlier. And the return on investment with relaxing evenings and weekends has been tenfold thus far. I want to make sure we continue to put the boat to good use and recognize that some rewards aren’t financial when we evaluate future big-ticket expenses. In this case, the purchase worked out big time!
- Connecting with my family, work and community more closely with each other with a career transition and office relocation have buoyed my sense of well-being. I want to acknowledge this and make sure to seek more of this alignment in all our family’s big decisions when possible.
So what memories mattered most to you? What do you want to add to your life? What needs to change?
Any opinions are those of Melissa Joy are not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James is not affiliated with Jim Craft.