By Kevin Engbers, CFP®, Founder, Wealth Advisor
I miss my mom and dad and I think of them almost every day. My dad passed away in 2015 and mom in 2020. (To answer the question that normally follows, my mother did not pass from the pandemic. However, she was in a nursing home, and I firmly believe the isolation expedited the process.)
I miss their love and their wisdom.
Recently I remembered a conversation my father and I shared while up north, fishing in his little red Lund. We had been talking about faith, finances and wealth. The conversation was winding down when he broke the silence and said, “I think I’m wealthy.”
As a pastor, he never made a lot of money but was a diligent saver and good steward. Still, I’m amazed at what they were able to pass on to their children. But hearing the words, “I think I’m wealthy,” at that moment, I couldn’t agree.
Before I could respond, he continued: “I have enough money to buy bait when I want to fish, enough to buy gas for the boat, and even better, the boat to fish from. It might not be the latest and greatest, but it’s good enough for who it’s for.”
He went on listing so many things, none of which were tangible property. Then, he ended with, “What else could I possibly want?”
I found myself searching for a response. What kept running through my head was how I spent so much time preaching about a fulfilling life of “True Wealth” – but they truly lived it.
It was inspiring. There was a unique level of contentment and appreciation for living. It provided me a deeper understanding of the value we might receive in our choices.
He saved and purchased within their means so he could buy a boat that was good enough. Yet, it wasn’t the boat he valued, but the time and conversations with people he loved.
It was always special to climb aboard on a crisp Minnesota morning and witness the sun peeking out over the treeline. I loved hearing the special way dad would say, “Fish on.”
But we seldom talked fishing unless it was for illustration.
When I discussed the importance of investment diversification, he’d reply, “Don’t go fishing with one worm.”
If I brought up how changes in the economy might shift the markets, he might suggest changing baits based on the weather. A good reminder that when the environment changes, you may need to adjust to take advantage of the opportunity.
There was no catch-guarantee, but when it came to fishing, he was often correct.
The Five Minute Challenge
Yeah, I miss dad and mom. I will have to share some memories of mom another time, but here is my True Wealth challenge for you: Take five minutes every morning this week and list what you most value.
Use those five minutes to review, revisit and refine the list of things that are most important to you. Once you can define that list, we can help design a financial and life game plan to help you focus on your list.
After all, we all want to express the same sentiment as dad – to look back on our lives and say with confidence, “I think I’m wealthy.”
It’s a journey worth traveling, and the destination is True Wealth. Let’s live life by design, not default.