By Tony Batman, chairman and CEO, 1st Global
Personal financial planning is many important things. It is a process of preparation for the inevitable tragedies of life that will financially and emotionally affect us all. It is a philosophy for intentional living, a framework for creating happiness and joy in a world of chaos and entropy. Personal financial planning is nothing less than taking total personal responsibility for one’s life and to make and honor important promises to the people one loves.
My own financial plan was essential to my personal healing in a major medical crisis I experienced beginning in 2006. Six years after a probable death sentence, I have passed a medical milestone that puts me in the “win” column over cancer. In the beginning, I did not fully comprehend the meaning of this experience. By its end, I had no doubt about the truth and power it revealed.
My personal financial plan indeed saved my life!
I do not discount at all the essential merits of faith, prayer, family, friends and modern medicine in my victory. They, of course, are very important.
But my fully implemented, complete financial plan — not an incomplete plan, not a partial implementation of a completed plan and not a yellow pad list of financial “to-dos” still in a perpetual state of procrastination — freed me to focus all my mental, physical and spiritual energies to defeat a killer enemy, Stage 3 cancer of the throat.
The personal financial plan, as a demonstration of my philosophy of life, put me in a perfect, non-contradictory state of being, and allowed all the atomic energy of my soul to be aimed with precision toward a deadly target, a cancerous invasion of my body.
On the fateful morning of my diagnosis, I assured my wife, Vicki, and our two adult sons that everything was OK and they were OK. I believe that is what all of us want to know at times like these – that everything is going to be fine and we shouldn’t worry. I was very, very sure that my family would thrive regardless of the outcome — even though I obviously couldn’t know whether I would survive this ordeal.
I cannot say that the power of my complete financial plan or the power of my long-held personal philosophy of life kicked in at that moment. I can say, though, that the quieting comfort of having inoculated my family against the financial trauma of life’s inevitable tragedies was and is always present. I knew that being personally responsible and not seeking a scapegoat to blame for my suffering was the only right way to look at the world.
I knew, whatever happened to me, that my family would be financially secure. Subconsciously, I also knew that because I did not have to worry about how my loving promises to Vicki and our sons would be honored, I was able to devote all my mental attention to the emergency I faced. With the clarity of hindsight, my financial plan liberated me to devote all my energy to winning this battle over cancer. My philosophy of life allowed me to unemotionally embrace even the direst outcome.
Living a Good Life
A good life is a life of personal responsibility, of courage, of honoring promises, one that brings happiness to others. “He lived a good life.” We all should want that epitaph on our gravestone. But not just yet.
Within days of my biopsy, I had a consultation with my general family practitioner of 20 years, who recommended I begin interviewing several oncologists for my healing team. After thoroughly researching my options, I found a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist, assembling the medical superteam to which I entrusted my life. The search for and choice of one’s personal financial planner should be performed with the same seriousness and rigor.
The severity of my medical problem became clearer in days following my initial diagnosis. The survival of Stage 3 or Stage 4 head and neck cancers is very low, less than 15 percent after five years from the end of treatment. But it is curable, especially if the patient is young and strong. But the disease and the side effects from the treatment were going to be as bad as those of any medical condition one could imagine. There would be a lot of suffering during and after.
I was told that my quality of life during and long after the cancer treatments would probably be lowered, perhaps considerably. My life would not be the same even if I survived the ordeal. I was mentally ready for it.
Though the pain from the radiation was great, throughout this ordeal, I did not have any financial worries. My family would be taken care of if I did not survive. Because of my financial plan, I was 100 percent focused on healing.
Financial Planning: A Philosophy for Living
A philosophy of personal responsibility and honoring important promises is a philosophy for happiness, significance and meaning. My financial plan is a manifestation of my philosophy for living.
My fullest hope is that those flying blindly through life without either a thoroughly designed and fully implemented financial plan or without an integrated philosophy of life should immediately engage the services of a financial planner or wealth manager. One’s personal fulfillment and self-actualization is dependent on it.
My hope, too, is that other financial planners, colleagues in my profession, eliminate any doubts they may harbor concerning the merits of their chosen vocation. I hope to inspire them to see the monumental value in the very important craft and philosophy of financial planning. My hope is they boldly engage in it to make people’s lives better, more liberated and happier.
And finally, I also hope financial planners and wealth managers eliminate any personal hypocrisy — to stop their own tendencies toward procrastination, to take this craft seriously for themselves, and to completely implement every aspect of their own personal financial plan — so as to unify their walk and talk of life as quickly as possible. Peak fulfillment depends on it.
1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 12750 Merit Dr., Suite 1200, Dallas, Texas 75251; 214-294-5000. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at www.1stGlobal.com.
1st Global was founded by CPAs on the belief that accounting, tax and estate planning firms are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive wealth management services to their clients. Each affiliated firm is provided with education, technology, business-building framework and client solutions that make these firms leaders in their professions through dedicated professional client relationships built around wealth management.