Each year in November, Americans gather for a day of family, feasting, and football. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, or for that matter, a financial planner/wealth manager to tell you that for many of us, the highlight of November is Thanksgiving. Key words evidently being “Thanks” and “Giving.”
As finance professionals, our job is to GIVE financial advice including, but not limited to, helping build an investment portfolio geared to specific financial goals, coordinating with clients accountants and attorneys, planning for retirement and thereafter, and managing our client’s overall financial lives.
This Thanksgiving, I’d like to take a moment to reflect and “GIVE THANKS” for a few things that I feel people take for granted. I feel that life in general can be a bit simpler, yet dramatically more impactful, if people would take the time to reevaluate what's important to them beyond just their finances. Here are a few things I am thankful for:
I have said many times “health is wealth.” Without good health, wealth doesn’t matter. Your health is an immeasurable gift and whether it is physical or mental health, being healthy is a valuable asset. I believe one must lead a healthy lifestyle in order to be healthy, happy, successful and for longevity.
Family & Friends
Family, whether “by blood” relation or the people you’ve met and have been included in your life that will always be by your side has been shown to be a major contributor to longevity. While in the field of finance, we discuss and research commodities traded in the financial markets. However, having a strong family bond and/or truly genuine friends should never become a rare commodity. We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
Mistakes/Failures/Those Who Challenge Us
Each of these teaches us about ourselves: who we are, and more importantly, who we want to be. They help us exemplify virtue in being patient, courageous, understanding and forgiving. You learn about the rules of the economy in Economics 101, but in life with job/career changes, emotional decisions, groupthink, pressures, stress, goals, experiences, various viewpoints and outlooks, so on, teaches you more valuable lessons than merely theory does.
The Gift of Choice
Sometimes we take the gift of choice for granted, but what we do on a daily basis truly is our decision. You have the freedom to choose what you’ll do today, even if you have some limitations. Even happiness is a decision each and every one of us makes. You can’t always choose what you hear, but you can choose what you listen to, and furthermore, you can definitely choose how you respond and react. You have many choices in all facets of your daily life and an important choice you make is who manages your finances. You have the choice to go through the due diligence required to be financially successful. Take a moment to ponder the idea of having the ability to choose and minimize taking this for granted.
This Thanksgiving, I’d ask you to take a few moments to reflect on all of the splendid simple things you have in your life. Also, keep in mind a little gratitude can go a long way. Only in America, people trample over others to get sale prices on “stuff” exactly one day after expressing thankfulness for what they already have! Material possession and stuff depreciates, breaks or wears out. At your demise, you don’t take any of your material possessions with you. What is important is who you loved and who you hurt, what impact you made on others, your memories and experiences. Appreciating and taking care of your health and the people you value in your life will enable you to live a truly “rich” life!
Chanel F. Jones is an associate wealth manager at Personal Financial Group Inc., 7007 College Blvd., in Overland Park. She is also a member of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Kansas City.