Have you written your eulogy? Have you ever wondered what will be in it someday? Most people come to me asking how much money they need and how long it will last them or what kind of return it can give them in the market. But frankly, I'm more interested in helping people plan for a meaningful eulogy than I am a stout balance sheet or impressive networth statement. So join me today for a walk through the concept of asking not just how much money it takes to have time freedom...but also what will it take create a meaningful eulogy.
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JOSH KLOOZ, CFP®, MBA
1780 Hughes Landing | Suite 570
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Music by bensound.com
Hello there, welcome into another episode of Wisdom and Wealth. In the past few weeks I've been talking through some of the questions that I think would better help our friends and neighbors interview their current financial advisors, or maybe even someone in the future. I wanted to ensure that you felt comfortable and that you understood at a level of detail, the industry and how it can best serve your needs. But I've got a question for you, the audience today. It's one that we ask around here from time to time and one that, frankly, sometimes makes me a little bit uncomfortable. I'll be fully transparent, but the question is have you written your eulogy? It may seem like an odd question to ask, and maybe even one that doesn't have much to do with financial planning or wealth management, but I submit to you that it does. So I want to go into a little bit more detail about that. In financial planning and wealth management, I think it is easy to fall prey to the trap that a financial plan is a 90-page document or an event, something that you think through, and it's a one-time deal and it's done. You're now, like we think of it, as like a vaccine, you're inoculated and you're good. But really true, financial planning is a process. It's a reminder of what you believe, why you believe it, and a reminder of what you hope your future holds. This process uncovers some really profound questions and it's uncomfortable. It's the questions that we ask. We don't have answers to in the moment because they're incredibly personal. So I think that we give short shrift to the financial planning process when we reduce it to things like rate of return and mitigating different risks and so on and so forth, when true, meaningful financial planning has far more to do with whether your eulogy will be meaningful than it does whether your bank account will be plentiful. I want to dive into some of that. As we go along Our society, I think it's easy to fall into the trap of finding all of our meaning from the work that we do. I'm one of these people that believes that work is a good thing. I love what I do and I plan on doing it as long as the Lord gives me the capacity to do it. But in our society where I'm not going to give you discoveries here, necessarily, but I'm going to give you observations that I've made when people go from having work that they enjoy, or even work that they don't enjoy, to absolute time freedom. Our society likes to call that retirement. It creates a very painful air bubble that some people fill with productive things and others not so productive. I think that it would be unkind if we, as financial planners, didn't help our clients think through that process. We hint at it, we say, well, when every day is a Saturday, what are you going to do? Just the same, too much of a good thing we all intuitively know is not helpful. Having unlimited time freedom sometimes might not be a good thing as well, just the same as that fourth class of wine might not be a good thing. That second bowl of ice cream you may pay a price for. Everything has diminishing returns if you leave it to its own design and consume too much of it. The things that I want clients to focus on are now that I have time freedom, what am I going to do that in this next chapter of life that is going to bring not just myself but those I care about and the organizations I care about joy, contentment. What are the things that are going to enrich myself but also others in the process, relationally? No-transcript. Yes, there is a process that we go through financially to achieve that, but the next process is just as important. I used to think that one of the greatest kindnesses in life was that flickering moment where you would have your life flash before your eyes and it would all make sense. And you would just make sense to me like that was my life's purpose. Because I've aged, I'm a toured. I still think that may be the case for some people, but I've modified that thought a little bit. I think there are several moments in life where I've thought to myself to this point. Man, this is one of those moments that I was created for. This is one of those moments that I was put here for. One of them happens every night around my dinner table. But I now view these fleeting moments as kind of a puzzle piece, and maybe I'll get to put those puzzle pieces together at the end of my life and it'll all fall into place completely and I'll understand everything completely. Or maybe my kids or my spouse will do that for me after I'm gone. Back to that eulogy question have you written your eulogy? So when someone comes to me asking questions about their financial future, they're typically asking how much do I need for it to be enough? How much is enough and will it continue to be enough. And I can't help but remember the movie Up. I don't think it's Pixar, it's a Disney movie, I believe. But in this movie Carl and Ellie Fredrickson are saving up for their dream vacation their entire life. You see through a sequence of events. They age, bills get in the way, events get in the way and their dream of that ultimate vacation kind of drifts away and then Ellie passes away. But the reason this movie besides the fact that it has an outstanding soundtrack and there's a voice over of a dog in the movie it's an animated movie but the voice of the dog in the movie absolutely nails what I think of a dog's voice would be. I hit under your porch because I love you. Of course I'm joking here. But the reason I love the movie is because, in all seriousness, it points to the process of walking through life together as the true gift. You realize in the end that they wanted to take an adventure together and in the end you realize that Ellie fully realized that her adventure was simply walking with Carl. It's pretty poignant when you think about that process together in the financial planning context. So yes, I don't want people to delay life experiences. I want them to invest in their life now. I want them to enjoy life as much as possible, but I think we in the financial planning industry, when we give too much attention to the how much is enough question, we delay a lot of things that if we just ask some difficult questions, some tough questions and move some things around, we could invest in today. So Answering the question of what do you want to be when you grow up never really goes away, because we're all Answering that question of what do I want to be in this next chapter of life. Yes, I'm grown up. Now I have all the time freedom. I have the financial independence Necessary to do what I want to do, but what do I do? Right? I don't think we spend enough time on that. When it comes to your net worth statement, I've always said you know, when I look at it, when some people look at a network statement, they see numbers. When I look at a network statement, I see words, delayed gratification, sacrifice, commitment, belief, faith in each other, etc. When I see a person Planning for what society calls retirement, I'm reminded of what David Brooks talked about and this ties in with my eulogy analogy but what David Brooks talks about in his 2015 New York Times article of we need to spend more time focusing on our eulogy virtues rather than our resume virtues. And so there's this tension. Yes, I need the resume virtues in order to Fully be able to devote my time to the resin, to the eulogy virtues, but the one that is most meaningful, the one that we want to emulate most often, are those, those eulogy virtues. I can't hide, I can't hunt more. Highly recommend that article to you. If you have time, quick Google search and you'll find it. But I think we spend, we do ourselves a disservice in the financial planning process If we spend all of our time focusing on the balance sheet and that worth statement Rather than what I believe is going to be our final network statement, our eulogy. So again, I don't want to Downplay all the different moving tactical things that go into play that can, when you plan through those processes, can bring you a certain amount of Of confidence that you know you've wargamed different, different outcomes and different scenarios, but I also, in that process, don't want you to miss. The greatest risk is that you have a huge pile of money at the end of your life, but there are relationships that have died on the vine or there are experiences that you Should have invested in, that would have been meaningful to you, that you didn't have. I'm convinced again, just as an aside that we overestimate how much time we have in this life and underestimate how much we can do with just a little of it as well, and so, in that regard, I think you know that the principles of investing that we apply to Money and numbers can be applied to time, relationships, belief systems, so on and so forth, for good or for real. Helping people save and invest and strategize for their futures, rewarding work, but helping them invest in their lives today and in their relationships today, those things that bring them happiness, fulfillment, that that's incredible at a very meaningful level. So, if I had to, to leave you with anything, one of the first questions that you need to be asking, over and above how much is enough, is what are the things that I'm going to do today, now that I'm on the cusp of, or now that I have or I'm planning for, financial independence? What are the things that I'm going to do today that are going to lead to a fulfilling eulogy, and how can I invest my time, my talents and my treasure I, your money into those things that will influence your final balance sheet when everything is said and done. I spoke with a speech writer A few days ago, and he has had the ability to do some some eulogies over, or help with some eulogies over the time of his career, and he said Josh, one of my observations is that the eulogies that I wanted most emulate Talked about qualities of character that were expressed in the way that I wanted to, and the ones that were explained by stories the ones that I probably shrank away from or struggled with were the ones that talked about achievements, because typically achievements aren't experienced in community as readily as those qualities of character are. So hopefully this has been helpful to you as we transition from how you interview a financial advisor and how you Interview a wealth planner. I hope that this gives you just a different sense of what I'm hoping my clients and even my neighbors Think through, how they think through the process and how they think through financial independence. If you have any questions, as always, please reach out. I'm happy to engage with you to whatever degree necessary, as always, it goes without saying, I'm wishing you and your family continued truth, beauty and goodness. As one last request, please like, subscribe to and rate the podcast and in these episodes, as it helps us serve additional listeners. Thank you again for your time and we look forward to talking more with you in the weeks to come. Have a great day.