Author: John Reagan
My grade-school-age kids recently returned to school, which made me think about being a little kid again. Summer was always a time of unbridled joy and freedom for me. Even as a kid, I knew summer meant I had the freedom to get on my bike and ride to the nearby pool or meet up with my neighborhood friends for a game of street hockey because my schedule and routine were flexible. My biggest concern was whether or not I got a hit in my baseball game!
As we get older, those feelings start to change. We take on more responsibilities – summer jobs, summer school, and ultimately adulthood. Life speeds up quickly, and we don’t always do a good job of slowing down and living in the moment. We’re constantly thinking about what’s next and what we must do to keep everything moving forward. As Harry Chapin famously sang in Cat’s in the Cradle, “There are planes to catch and bills to pay.”
On a recent family vacation to Florida, I read a book by the former Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, Leading with the Heart. Coach K uses the metaphor of his team being on a train. He reminds readers that stopping and enjoying the moments while on the train is essential. Some of those moments are big milestones we plan and prepare for, while others happen unexpectedly.
So, as summer ends and we return to our busy lives of hauling kids to their various events, traveling, and everything else we have going on, I encourage each of you to take a moment to “pause at the station.” Whether things are improving or worse than anticipated, try to enjoy the moment. Enjoy the moment.
P.S. For those looking for some light humor, I recently created unique handshakes with each of my three boys (my daughter is a bit too young to have her own). Below is a video of my youngest son, Charlie, and me doing a clumsy version of our handshake on his first day of Kindergarten – certainly a major milestone in both of our lives!
*Apologies to long time client George Thomas for making a positive Duke reference. I hope you’ll forgive me.
**This is the same book featured prominently in the hit show The Bear (season 2).
One of my favorite parts of my job is talking to our clients about their goals. Sometimes their objectives are specifically related to money; at other times, not as much. Either way, understanding where clients want to go (their goals) allows us to help them get there (through careful planning).
In my family’s case, one goal we have set is to see our hometown St. Louis Cardinals play in a different city each summer. This is usually my favorite yearly trip. A few weeks ago, we had an opportunity to go to Chicago to see the Cardinals play the White Sox. We spent time on Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, and other “tourist” spots. We were also fortunate to see our Cardinals pull out a 3-0 victory.
This year’s trip was especially memorable because we combined it with visiting some of our favorite long-time clients, Larry Baumann and Dana Brehm. While not from Chicago, Larry and Dana made it their goal years ago to have a place in Chicago. After they both retired, they realized that goal and have a beautiful home there.
Numerous studies have shown that making your goals known to others increases your odds of achieving them. We love doing our part in helping clients achieve their goals. And if you aren’t tracking your goals, please let us know. We’d be happy to help.
Our good friend (and Matt Hall’s podcast guest) Carl Richards has been discussing a concept that may feel foreign to many people when they think about investing. It’s called a “Statement of Financial Purpose. “
Historically, we’ve talked to clients about goals – we help to set them, work to achieve them, cross them off the list, and move on to the next. A Statement of Financial Purpose is something more profound than just goals. It’s the why behind the goals. This statement is not lengthy; it’s usually a sentence or two and, typically, pretty simple, but it’s not easy.
We have introduced this concept to clients over the last year, and the reception has been very positive. Initially, clients are a bit hesitant when we present the topic, but it has led to some great conversations, and, in certain instances, spouses have uncovered things they didn’t know about the other person! Additionally, we’ve found these conversations especially valuable in guiding the recommendations and decisions we make with our clients.
Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more about creating your Statement of Financial Purpose.