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Retirement matters, but so does living life to the fullest

Death is THE aspect of human life that we don’t fully understand all that well. We know that it is a finality of human life, but where we “go” is still a mystery that is mostly left to personal and religious belief. Some people believe that the lights just go out; like when we go to sleep every night. Others believe that we head to divine paradise and are reunited with loved one’s that have preceded us in death. Whatever your belief surrounding death is yours to choose.

We are reminded of the fragility of the human condition when we hear of someone’s passing and ultimately attend the wake and funeral. It’s a time for reflection, a time for love, and ultimately a time where we usually look deep within and ask ourselves “Am I living my life to the fullest?”

The events of January 26th, 2020, in which Superstar Kobe Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna and 7 other passengers passed away in a horrific helicopter crash was an Earth shattering event. It not only struck our nation, but the world. Kobe was larger than life. A superstar basketball player who won multiple NBA Championships, scored 60 pts in a single game, and was drafted at the age of 17.

While here on this Earth, Kobe shared God-like status among his fans. He was Superman, and then some. So for him to pass away so soon (age 41), and to pass away in a helicopter crash, was just something that was NEVER supposed to happen. But sadly, life does happen. We are lucky enough to be born, live our lives, potentially reproduce, and then die hopefully many years later. This linear trajectory of life is how it’s “supposed” to go. However, life is not linear. It’s anything but.

Life is full of ups and downs. Full of joy and sadness. Full of triumphs and defeats. Tomorrow is never promised, yet we all live our lives based upon the complete opposite. Most of us tend to live our lives based upon the assumption that tomorrow WILL come. That we have plenty of TIME to do the things we want to do in this life. Yet, the tragic events of January 26th tell us otherwise. What happened tells us all that no matter who we are, how famous we were, or how God-like we were perceived to be; that we are all simply mortals on this Earth living our lives and crawling closer every single day to old age and ultimately our death. Sorry to be so melancholy and morbid, but it’s the truth.

We live our lives worrying about our futures. Worrying about whether we are saving enough, whether we will be “ok” when we hit 65 or 70, whether we will have enough money to take vacations to go to Europe every year. I’m here to tell you that none of that matters. It is all ancillary to living your life to the fullest. Retirement is one goal of MANY in your life that you should strive to achieve. But at the end of the day, there are usually more pressing and important matters at hand. I’m not advocating that you be fiscally irresponsible, that you not save for retirement or whatever other financial goals you may have. These are important aspects of our life that not only allow us financial freedom, but allow us to create better lives for ourselves and our children. What I am saying is that being a good human being, enjoying the gift that is life, and celebrating that every single day is far more important than trying to hit some number that I, or any other financial planner tells you about when discussing your financial plan.

So here is my advice: Create a plan, automate that plan as best you can, set it, forget it, and periodically review it to make sure it aligns with your goals. Once this is done, look up from your computer screen, your phone, your TV or whatever else is distracting you at the moment and go live your life! Be a good friend, a good husband/wife, a good son/daughter, or a good father or mother. The reward and personal satisfaction will be greater than any amount of money you make on an investment. But ultimately, be a great human being that embraces life and appreciates it everyday. Be someone who wants to make a difference in the lives of those who are important to you; to your pack. Stop living your life based upon assumptions and live it based upon the NOW!