As a certified financial planner, I’m immersed in helping people build wealth. But I learned early in my career that wealth isn’t all about money. The “wealthiest” people I’ve met didn’t always have the most money, but they were very happy because, in part, they lived well-balanced lives that brought them great satisfaction and contentment. These folks knew that ignoring any aspect of life is dangerous. Career, family, friends, spirituality and health all must be lovingly tended.
I took that lesson to heart and now strive to live a well-rounded life that keeps career and money in perspective. Every January, I sit down with my wife, Lynne, and we draw up goals for the coming year in five areas:
Our goals are specific, attainable and measurable, such as having “date nights” a minimum twice a month, achieving set fitness goals, sponsoring two charity events, and boosting our contribution to the kids’ college fund. We try to be realistic about what we achieve, so we keep the list to about five goals per category.
I keep a copy of the list in my top desk drawer at work, and another at home. Lynne and I routinely discuss our progress and where we are slacking. The result? While we rarely meet every goal, we have never been disappointed by what we did achieve.
This system works really well for my family and me. But if it’s not for you, find another way to maintain a well-rounded life. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself bumping along like a car with unbalanced tires. That’s not comfortable or safe.