Paul Meloan – Vested Interest

I don’t like to use this forum to tell war stories.  I’m going to break that rule today because I’m hearing so much negativity in the world that I want to inject some positive energy into my own day. This is a selfish move: I’m doing this for me.

I went to see a couple this morning that I have worked with for 15 years.  Although we usually just meet at the office, I decided to pay them a visit at home.  When I got there I remembered that I had not been in their home for one of our meetings since the husband (let’s call him Jack) retired over a dozen years ago. I sat down with him and his wife (let’s call her Anne) in their dining room and went over their finances.

A dozen years ago, Jack was contemplating retirement from his job but was concerned they had not saved enough money to provide the type of retirement they wanted to have (sound familiar?).  I think it fair to say that Jack was even eager to leave work, as he had some health issues that he knew would only make life more difficult as he aged.  He felt good, and they wanted the time that they had in front of them right now.

My job was to review how their family worked and their relationship with the money coming int0- and out of their lives to see if what they wanted was feasible. I determined that it was, and gave them my strongest encouragement.  If this is what was important to them, there was no financial reason not to do it. Jack and Anne decided for Jack to retire then.

This position was based on a consideration of many factors, the most important of which was their willingness to share with me what did (and did not) matter in their lives, and an understanding of how much money it would take to make those things happen.

Another way of saying this was that they had the right attitude about their wealth: they had what they needed to do what they wanted. In my world, this makes you rich.  Their world is one of abundance, not of scarcity.

I won’t bore you with the particulars, as they are irrelevant.  We have been together through great markets and horrible ones, and it doesn’t matter as long as they keep their attitude in line with what matters the most to them. They have done precisely what they said they wanted to do with that time since Jack retired.

Everyone is a dozen years older now, and Jack’s health is a bit worse. They have concerns about their kids, or if Jack’s health worsens. Jack and Anne remain a team who will work together to sort through whatever life throws at them.  All I do is offer them a bit of financial guidance.

Ultimately the markets are going to do what they are going to do, but this should not determine what your life looks like or how you feel about it.

My clients have decided that the quality of life they enjoy is ultimately up to them and what they think and how they act. I know this, because I sat down this morning with a family that is doing exactly that.  It’s working.  And that makes me feel good.



Paul Meloan is the co-founder and co-managing member of Aegis Wealth Management, LLC, in Bethesda, Maryland USA. Before Aegis Paul was a practicing attorney as well as working in the tax practice of Ernst & Young, LLP.

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