Don’t accumulate possessions…accumulate experiences. Yes, it sounds like strange advice coming from a financial advisor. On a daily basis I counsel clients to grow their assets, because one day they will be drawing from them. But as I cross another milestone – July 7, 2015, marked my 30thAnniversary in the financial planning profession – I want to share something important I have learned…something beyond how to manage and grow your assets.
I recently returned from an annual trip to Florida where I met with several clients – people I’m privileged to also call friends – who relocated to the great Sunshine State. I decided to end the trip by having my wife, Cathy, join me for a three day weekend. I wanted to make a memory. Our third child is getting married in a few weeks and Victoria, our youngest, will be graduating from college in a couple of years. It will not be long before we are true “empty nesters.” I figured we could get a head start on getting to know each other again – without kids. As I do on many trips, I took a new book along. This time it was “A Trip around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life into the Adventure of a Lifetime.”
In the book, the authors challenge the reader to stop living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. With every trip around the sun (or birthday), they encourage readers to take more risks and dream bigger dreams.
Often when I meet with prospective clients, I say, “Paint me a picture of what your retirement looks like.” I want them to have a reason for accumulating their funds – to have a worthwhile purpose to work towards. But I have always believed that it is important to make memories throughout life – not just during retirement.
Over the years, I have done my best to make memories with my family and friends within the constraints of a family budget, knowing that there are always adventures that can be had without breaking the bank. When our kids were younger, we saved our money so we could go on a missions trip to Russia to serve children in an orphanage. We involved our kids in the planning, and to this day the experience left an indelible mark on our children. They have learned that it is possible – and worth it – to sacrifice time and money to bring light and hope to those less fortunate.
I believe lives should be measured in treasured moments, not in dollar signs.
As the authors wrote, none of us knows the number of trips around the sun we get to enjoy – only God knows. But it is important to saturate those trips with the people we love and experiences that can be remembered. May you have many cherished memories, and many more trips around the sun.
Robert W. Tull, Jr. is founder and president of Tull Financial Group, and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional in Chesapeake, Virginia. With more than 30 years of financial planning experience in Hampton Roads and beyond, he focuses on the areas of investment management, and retirement and estate planning. He also provides highly individualized personal and business advisory services.
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