By Peter T. Waldron
Managing Partner of Waldron Partners
“The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless. It is the highest dividend money pays.” – Morgan Housel
I have experienced a lot of personal loss in recent months. My cousin passed away unexpectedly at the age of 30, my wife’s uncle died at 74, and my grandfather at 96. While each death has conjured up different emotions, all have reminded me of the important role that time plays in our lives. Naturally, I do not believe that I can control time or the amount of it that I am given here on earth. Rather, in reflection, I am now more conscious of the limits that time imposes on us and of our fragility. It is not my intention to write you into a dark cloud but instead to hopefully offer some perspective on time.
Accounting for time during the financial planning process is a less daunting task. We take your current age and estimate of your life expectancy based on your personal health history, family health history, and actuarial tables. While this assists us in building a general framework for planning, it does not quite touch on to the core of the issue, which is: how do you maximize your time based on your values and do so without running out of money? This is the important question to be asked.
While each person’s values invariably differ, the impact of those values on planning are significant. For example, some people spend their entire life at the office, working to facilitate the next generation’s prosperity. While this goal or value is not necessarily wrong, I personally believe it is flawed. Most children only have the prior generation (i.e., their parents or guardians) to help guide them through the complexities of life. Ignoring the nuances of family dynamics for a moment, we’ll apply the subtlety of creative freedom to illustrate that life is a limited resource, and that building a legacy of family experiences should outweigh the possibility of leaving behind additional money to children who never had the chance to know their parents. (Of course, finding a nice balance of being present with your kids while also building some wealth is the preferred scenario.)
The same rings true for retirement. In many cases people choose to hold out for another year because they don’t know if they have the resources to retire. Ideally, these concerns shouldn’t be hurdles that need to be overcome to achieve fulfillment at the end of a career of hard work. Conversely, we see individuals who reach financial independence at an early age without having created a margin of safety that will insulate them financially for the rest of their life or for future generations. Missing years of financial independence or exhausting the resources which created financial independence are catastrophes of time; once lost, they are impossible to get back.
A few months ago I published an article titled, “It’s Not Always About the Money.” In it, I wrote about traveling cross-country with my family and how that amazing experience will now always be a part of my family’s legacy. Money is fruitless without meaningful time spent with loved ones. And while we can’t control or obsess about time, we must commit to experiences due to time’s limited capacity. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Wishing you an enjoyable holiday season with your family and friends.
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – John Lennon
PLEASE CONTACT PETER WALDRON TO SCHEDULE A COMPLIMENTARY REVIEW OF YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION: 925-786-7686 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter T. Waldron, California Insurance License #0E47827, is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, a broker/dealer, member SIPC, and offers investment advisory services through Sagemark Consulting, a division of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a registered investment advisor, Waldron Partners, 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 190 PO Box 528, Alamo, CA 94507. Waldron Partners is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors. Insurance is offered through Lincoln Marketing and Insurance Agency, LLC and Lincoln Associates Insurance Agency, Inc. and other fine companies. This material is for use with the general public and is designed for informational or educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, tax, or direct investment advice. Lincoln Financial Advisors does not offer legal or tax advice. CRN-3880528-102121