Major wake up call ⏰

why we should live now & financial plan for the journey

⚡️ please share this newsletter with your friends ⚡️

My friend was just diagnosed with breast cancer. This news arrived about a week after she detected a lump while taking off a sweaty sports bra after a Peloton ride. You see she was hopping in the shower to get ready for an Apres Ski party at a friend's house, randomly felt something unusual, and the rest is the worst kind of history. Biopsy returned a diagnosis of an invasive tumor which means a massive double mastectomy surgery (8-week recovery time) & something like a year's worth of chemo, and radiation, commencing ASAP. She is exactly my age (45) with exactly the same number of young kids (3), and like me, would much rather spend her time in the mountains than receive any sort of medical treatment, especially this type. Her words, “I am embarking on the fight of my life.” Now she’s a fighter and while it is going to be a fight, I know she will win. I believe she knows she will win, and the odds are in her favor being young, healthy, and fit, with a strong community in her corner, and great healthcare. But even all the optimism in the world can’t negate the ever-present undertone of “what if”...

And with deepest empathy, I put myself in her shoes immediately upon learning this news. What would be going through my head, what would I do with the decisions presented, how would I stay positive, what would I do differently with my life, and what lessons would I take from this experience for the future? Somber, but as I introspected I found some slivers of wisdom that shouldn’t require a friend embarking on the fight or her life to live, but for some reason, they are easily forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life. Here are some reminders that came to light as I walked through this exercise.

  • 🙏 Gratitude - I have a regular & active gratitude practice, but this reflection made me define general categories like “I’m grateful for my health” even further. What aspects of my health am I grateful for? My cancer-fighting t-cells, my heart that has all 4 ventricles, my nervous system from preventing seizures and giving me the sense of touch, my digestive system that delivers nutrients to my cells, my muscles that propel me in the mountains doing things I love, and on and on…

  • 🤸‍♀️ Health - this friend of mine is very healthy, one of the reasons this diagnosis is so shocking, so this is in no way a reflection on her, this is my own awakening to the fact that lifestyle and mental health are directly related to many diseases & illnesses. I view creating long-term healthy lifestyle habits like putting money in the bank of my health - to prevent diseases that arise in middle and older ages. Am I living a lifestyle that is paying dividends? Or is it costing me penalty fees & interest? What changes can I make that put money in the bank vs. withdrawals on my long-term health?

  • 🌅 Big picture - I’m pretty sure my friend is no longer concerned with traffic or weather or the neighbor's dog pooping in her yard or what sports team her kids make. She is literally fighting for her life. Perhaps the annoyances that bother us should be put in that perspective even if we aren’t in the midst of a fight. Is this irritation going to affect your living your life? If not, perhaps it is not an annoyance that deserves your time, attention, or the ramifications on your health of elevated stress.

  • 💃 Live Now - as I said, I know this friend will win this battle, and she will, so this is not a doomsday realization based on how I feel about her outcome. Rather, life is unpredictable. Accidents happen, congenital health risks can remain hidden until they are a cause of death, not to mention the scary but ever-present notion of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with random acts of gun violence & terrorism. This diagnosis made me check in on myself as to whether I am living life the way I want to live it... now. It is easy to think “I’ll run that marathon next year, I’ll get to Africa when the kids are out of the house, I’ll move closer to the ocean when the real estate market improves…” My question to myself & to you, is why not now?

  • 💸 Money - The wealth industry primarily emphasizes investing for things like retirement, kids' college tuition, and maybe larger purchases like a home, in a nutshell, the wealth industry plans for end-game goals. Given a diagnosis like my friends, in the weeks & months & even years that follow, would you give a rip about retirement? Certainly, it’s not something to ignore, but put in a situation where you are literally fighting for your life what would you change about how you spend your money? What is more important the end game or the journey? How might your savings & spending habits change to accommodate bucket list items that need to get done now?

Perhaps this article is more intense than you signed up for, or perhaps it is exactly the awakening you needed today, right now. And since I run an investment firm and these articles are geared to educate you on your finances or give you motivation or inspiration I’ll wrap up by suggesting the following. In my opinion, the emphasis the finance/wealth industry puts on retirement, long-term care, and distant timelines seem very outdated. People are living longer, working longer, maintaining incomes even in retirement, long term care is changing, a lot of these end-game goals may look completely different than they did for our grandparents or even our parents. Also, people are starting to prioritize life over work: work from home, relocations to prime locations 🙋‍♀️, maximizing vacation, Fridays off, you call it.

Why do we spend our valuable time with a financial professional working on plans that are decades away and may look completely different than they do now? Now don’t get me wrong, this is not meant to de-emphasize saving & investing & planning for the future, but perhaps a conversation about the journey, about the now, about life with aligned investments that can also roll into retirement is a much more helpful & empowering way to financial plan? Our firm is moving into this mindset as we speak and developing a full-fledged life & financial planning service. Our intention is to help our clients plan for life NOW and into the future. If $#!+ happens or if they live to break the world record for oldest humans we hope our clients have checked their bucket lists, they have lived fulfilled lives, their journey has been nothing shy of brilliant, and their finances have only empowered this journey. More information on this coming Q2’23!

In closing, whomever or whatever greater power you believe in, please send a prayer and positive healing vibes to my dear friend. Get your mammogram (she had a clean mammogram less than 11 months ago), do regular checks on yourself or have a partner, and live your brilliant life now.


💫 PS- Don’t forget to share this article with your friends! 🫶