The Wisdom and Wealth Podcast

Climbing your own Financial Wall: Episode 88

November 09, 2023 Joshua Klooz
The Wisdom and Wealth Podcast
Climbing your own Financial Wall: Episode 88
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Wisdom and Wealth! A few weeks ago my family had the opportunity to explore a rock climbing wall. As I reflected on the experience several parallels to my daily life and the lives of others came to mind. See below for points I cover! 

1. Don't compare your path to those around you
2. Remember to enjoy the process
3. Do no stop and do not forget your principles or goals

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome in again to another episode of Wisdom and Wealth. Today I want to focus on a few concepts that came back to me during a recent family event and family experience, and the more I thought about it, I thought, you know, it had overarching parallels to what I do day in and day out, and so what I'm referring to is a family outing recently where my kids got to enjoy a rock climbing wall. Now, three kids were old enough to be able to get the harness on and go through the process, and they all enjoyed it, but they all struggled at varying rates and at varying degrees, and so this created an interesting family dynamic, to say the least for about an hour, and not to mention the fact that I think all three kids slept really well after the fact, and so it definitely tired them out, but it came to. It all came full circle. The more I stepped away from the experience and thought about it, one of my children, my oldest daughter, had a harder time figuring out footholds and handholds, and she struggled quite a bit. In fact she, I think, probably attempted to get to the top of the wall I want to say six or seven times, and it took far more effort than she had anticipated. And to make matters worse, she got almost to the top, probably a couple of handholds from the top and slipped. And of course you know they're all in a repelling harness and they come to the bottom. But the last time I could tell she was really, really frustrated. Add to this the fact that her younger sister was pretty natural at the whole process. I don't think she had ever done any formal rock climbing but she just took off and just kind of had a natural, intuitive sense about the path she was going to take, how she was going to get there, and she made it to the top multiple times. So I'm sure that that didn't aid in the process at all from a psychological perspective. And then you contrast that with my younger son, who I think he was just enjoying the process, like he was just out there having fun. He didn't get very far, but he would. He'd spend a lot of time going left or right rather than vertically, which would tire him out inevitably. And then of course you know, hey, he enjoyed the whole repelling process of where he would go to slowly drift to the ground. But I started out as trying to be kind of the aloof dad, of just having to watch from a distance. I just want to see what they're doing and how they're enjoying it and just kind of let them chart their own path, see what happens. My wife encouraged me to get in line, maybe, and, you know, try to show them how to do that. And the more I thought about it it was like man, that looks like fun, but I don't want to stand in line and take away an opportunity for younger kids to enjoy the experience, so on and so forth. But, believe it or not, I found my way up to the side of the wall and found myself encouraging and shouting out different, you know, different helps along the way if someone was having a hard time finding a foothold or a handhold, and so on and so forth, and that actually was a lot of fun. But, starting full circle, I think it was about the 10th or 11th time that my oldest daughter attempted. She actually made it to the top and you know the look of achievement on her face was just priceless. And to make matters even better, she got right back in line and went to the top again a second time, and the second time she, you know, didn't have any issues whatsoever, and so, as I said, I think it was a lot of fun. Walked away from that experience, I wanted to tell my kids that I'm not proud of you because of the end result. I'm not proud of you because of how high you got or how far you went. I'm more proud of you that you didn't quit, that you kept attempting, and I'm also proud of you that you didn't let other people's success discourage you or make you too prideful to give your own best, because ultimately, I've tried to coach. I want them to compete with themselves, not anyone else. So if you're listening to this and you're saying, okay, josh, that's great. What's this got to do with financial planning? I brought away some takeaways that I wanted to share with you, and so the first is the comparison or, excuse me, comparison to others nearly always delays achievement. I don't think it's helpful to compare ourselves to the Joneses. I don't think it's helpful to worry that we're falling behind the Joneses. I don't think it's helpful to think that our life will be more rewarding if we have the same experiences and the same name brands and the same things that everybody else has. I find no data to tell me that anyone gets to the end of their life on their deathbed and says you know, it just would have been more enjoyable if I would have had fill in the blank, so on and so forth. Most of the time, what I have found, what I've uncovered, is that worrying about things that we can't control, conditions we can't predict, only inhibits our ability to make decisions and enjoy the present. I don't think it's helpful to compare ourselves to our neighbors and their family and their situation and try to say that that's a benchmark for our own unique limitations, resources, goals and dreams for our own family. The next piece that struck me is I walked away from this rock climbing experience with my kids was progress, humility and coaching typically go together. It's kind of a petri dish, as it were. Progress is really often boils down to just focusing on the next step, and sometimes it takes an outside coach or it takes an outside voice to help us focus on that next step. We can tend to be distracted by the whole picture, especially when we're clinging to the face of the rock climbing world or whatever the case may be. We're intimately acquainted with the problem and sometimes we need an outside voice coaching us where we know we need to take the next step, but we're not sure where that next step is, so an outside voice can help. But it takes humility to say, okay, I'm gonna go ahead and trust this coach, I'm gonna entrust this outside advice and I'm not gonna worry about what I see up ahead of me, or I'm not gonna worry about what others are doing, I'm just gonna worry about my own situation and I'm gonna trust that this team is going to get me to my desired destination. The next piece that I came away with is that we invest in people so that we can, in turn, invest in people. I'll unpack this a little bit more. I think it's easy to see ourselves as investing in companies for a return of principle, a return of investment, when, in reality, our money that we're investing in the market is being invested in companies that are investing in people. Those people are, in turn, able to invest in their products, their services, their training, all these different facets of life that make their communities better and, in turn, make their organizations better. But that's all a function of the fact that we invested in a company so that it can, in turn, invest in its people and invest in its customers. All investment is ultimately an investment in people, and we invest there because we want to, in turn, invest back into our own lives, our own families, our own communities. It creates this virtuous cycle, one that I, frankly, am fascinated by and addicted to. I can't wait to see the outcomes that happen because of the way that we invest. I think that another thing that is more important to me is I, especially when I think of my own kids, is thinking of ways that I can invest in them and their own learning and their own progression. I don't think that that process ever changes, and the families that I find that are the most content, the most happy, are the ones that continually invest in their own family in some way, shape or form, and I used to think that that was novel. I used to think that that was interesting and unique, and then, the more I look at it with my own family, and even with young kids, I find that, wow, that's a job in of itself, finding unique ways to come alongside my own kids and ask them hey, you're interested. I've noticed that you were interested in X, y or Z topic. Are there things that you wish you knew more about? Right, and then how could I give you the resources or tools that you need to learn more. And oh, by the way, can I come along with you? I'm finding more and more that the trick to having a fulfilling investment in families, or in my own family, is simply asking the questions in such a way where I'm not taking over the conversation, but I'm giving them permission to lead the conversation and view me as someone who's bringing along resources to help them in that process. So, as I came away from this experience, I hope that I get more and more of those opportunities to see my family challenged, to see them struggle a little bit. I find that we as a society don't value struggle in the same way that we used to, and it's a good thing, and it's definitely a needed thing and something that can be a great gift because of the confidence that it builds and the self-knowledge that you take away from it. And whenever I lead people in a financial planning engagement, I hope that these are some principles that they can take away and apply. I don't want them comparing themselves to their neighbor. I don't want them comparing themselves to the market as a whole. I want them planning the next step of their future and of their plan and of their dreams and of their goals. No one gets to the end of life and says, man, I just wish I would have beaten the S&P, because then my hopes and dreams would have been fulfilled. Secondly, I hope that people realize that, whether it's in financial planning, whether it's investing or any aspect of life, that having that humility to listen to outside voices that you trust can be incredibly helpful. Getting a better sense of the bigger picture from those that you trust is always a good thing. And, lastly, we invest in people so that we can continue to invest in people. We invest in people that we trust, ie, companies that we trust so that we can invest in those that we love, with the returns and this virtuous cycle makes all of it even more rewarding and helpful. So, hopefully, you found this topic as enlightening as I did. I'm gonna continue reflecting on it as the days go by. If you have any questions or thoughts, please reach out to me via email and also, lastly, please like and rate the podcast, as this helps us reach and serve additional listeners. As always, remember that we are wishing you continued truth, beauty and goodness on the road ahead. Have a great day.