In the early 1960’s, crooner Tony Bennett popularized a song called “The Good Life.” It is a very harmonious ballad, but after researching the lyrics, I did not get any help in defining the good life. What is the good life? Is it wealth, fame or fortune? Unfortunately, if you have watched the recent news, it seems a number of the “rich and famous” end up in reputably tragic situations—Michael Jackson, Steve McNair, Bernie Madoff and etc.
Perhaps the good life can be better described by our spirit, our relationships and our general well being. Below are my thoughts on the good life, but I would be interested in hearing from you and getting your thoughts.
Faith and hope
Faith, hope, heart, soul and courage are all words to describe having a resolute spirit. Having the conviction and belief that you can find a way, when there is no way. It means having the ability to confront seemingly overwhelming circumstances. When your world has been shaken by traumatic events such as the loss of a loved one or a serious illness, sometimes the only thing you have to stand on is your faith. Faith and hope is the invisible magic that moves people, to think, to act and ultimately to survive. Faith and hope are not a given and have to be nourished and fed regularly. How do you nourish your faith and hope on a regular basis?
Family and relationships
Our family and relationships define who we are. A few years ago, I attended a funeral that had more than a thousand people in attendance. The deceased was not a celebrity or public official; however he had touched the lives of many through several community roles that he had performed. The program was fairly normal, with the exception of tributes by several of his nieces, nephews and close friends. All expressed their gratitude for his positive attitude, his ability to share and the care that he expressed for them as individuals. Conspicuously absent from the funeral were his manager, banker and broker. Who will be at your funeral and what will they say about you and your life?
Mental and physical fitness
Your body is your living temple. What you read, listen to and watch will significantly impact your success or failure. The subconscious mind feeds upon random thoughts. The choice is yours, you can think your way into failure or success to a large part depending on what you allow into your mind. Likewise, our bodies will respond to what we eat, drink or otherwise injest. Like our minds, our bodies, if not exercised regularly, will operate at less than peak efficiency. No amount of money or fame can compensate for poor mental or physical health. How do you care for your living temple?
Career and finances
A large portion of our adult life will be spent on a job. If the job is one that you enjoy and you are good at, it will be a successful experience. However, if it is one that you don’t enjoy, you will only go through the motions until the end of each day. Is your job one that you are excited to go to each day? If not, how can you change it to be more exciting or do you have to move on to something more in line with your motivations?
Your finances allow you to provide for your family’s security and well being. Have you established personal financial goals? If so, are you on a track to achieve them? If not, what will you do to provide for your family’s long-term security and well-being?
Life is a journey, not a destination. We must live each day to its fullest, for tomorrow is not promised. We cannot take life or the people in our lives for granted. Are you living the “good life” or what do you have to change to get on that path? I would like to hear from you, so please e-mail me your thoughts.
Michael G. Shinn, CFP, Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of and securities and investment advisory services offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC. Visit www.shinnfinancial.com for more information or to send your comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. © Michael G. Shinn 2009.