When I was a teenager, one of my favorite musicians was Mac Davis, a crossover country and pop star whose hits included “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” and “One Hell of a Woman.” I still remember one summer, when I was about 15 or 16 and working at the Ohio State Fair. He was performing at the fair, and I was lucky enough to meet him. That memory resurfaced this weekend, when I found myself thinking of another one of his hits while I was enjoying a weekend in New York City with my wife, Gina.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted “Are You Living Too Frugally?” It was a discussion about the tendency of a large number of retirees to spend well beneath their ability. They have become so accustomed to saving money and watching their expenses that they find themselves sitting on a big pile of money late in life that they are hesitant to spend. In the article, I tried to convey that while it is important to keep funds available in the event of a financial or health emergency, it’s also important to experience life. We want to make sure that we cross off our bucket list items before it’s too late.
This weekend, I thought about how important it is to live life before retirement as well. The other hit song from Mac Davis that I alluded to earlier was “Stop and Smell the Roses.” The lyrics of that song convey the message about how important it is to make sure you have a balance between your work and your personal life. Taking it one step further, it’s important to get that work/life balance in order throughout your life, not just in retirement. “Before you went to work this morning in the city, did you spend some time with your family?”
While Gina and I both enjoy our work, we sometimes find ourselves wrapped up in the daily tasks of running our respective businesses. We don’t work physically hard, but we do work hard and often spend the majority of our waking hours inside our business. We are both in the client service industry, so it’s important to make sure that we take care of the things that our clients expect from us. But it’s just as important for us to step away at times so that we can refresh ourselves and recharge our batteries. We are not going to do our clients any good if we end up burned out and not giving our all when we are working.
Plan for the Future, but Take Care of the Present
It’s important to make sure you take time for you and your loved ones. Life is about more than the work we do. As a financial advisor, I’m always emphasizing how important it is to save and invest for our future selves, but it’s just as important to take care of our present selves. We all hear way too many stories about someone we know who passes away at far too young of an age. We get only one shot at this life, and we need to make sure that we are making the best of it. As the saying goes, “I’ve never met someone on their deathbed who wishes they had spent more time at the office.”
This weekend, Gina and I stepped away to focus on our work/life balance. I was attending a conference in New York City, which ended on Friday. On Friday afternoon, Gina flew up to join me. We spent the weekend in Manhattan, sampling the city life. We ate at some nice restaurants, did a couple of runs through Central Park, attended a couple of Broadway shows, and toured the 9-11 Memorial in the Financial District. We didn’t do any work for the entire weekend, which is unusual for us.
We spent quality time with each other and had fun. That’s what’s really important, isn’t it? As I write this, we are on the plane heading home. It’s back to work tomorrow. And while we may be a little tired and might still be recovering from our weekend in the Big Apple, we both feel refreshed, relaxed, and ready to work.
Yes, it’s important to plan for your future and make sure you are prepared for the days when you are no longer working. Save. Invest. Make sure you and your family are protected and that your financial house is in order. Work hard and do the best you can at whatever career you have chosen. But it’s equally important to “Stop and Smell the Roses” along the way.