There are many ways to create a legacy. Some people want to make sure their grandkids get an education. Some want to leave their kids money. Others have disabled children and for them we need to set up certain trusts to ensure that the kids don’t receive a windfall of money and lose their benefits. Many of my clients, like me, are truly grateful to the Veterans like Fran, those men and women that sacrificed their lives so that we can live free in this great country – so they set up charities to leave money behind to help these folks. Many of us who have been touched by addiction want to leave money to help men and women struggling to get help and recover so that they too can be the parents, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and productive member of society that they are meant to be.
I always like to say that it’s not about the money, but what we use it for. If we get clients great returns one year but they’re in risky products, then we didn’t truly give them anything of value because they could lose it the next year. Those kinds of paper gains, i.e. mutual funds, stocks and bonds, are by definition not solid. On the other hand, when we utilize tools that insure our clients’ principal and lock in all gains, we give our clients solid, enduring gains that enable them to enjoy their retirement years with greater peace of mind.
Learning the Real Value of Money
Back in my 20s, I really didn’t understand this truth about the value of money and the best ways to use it. I made a great income but I was using it to try and fill a hole within myself rather than taking a big picture perspective about how I (and the money) could be of benefit to others. I was all about me, me, me in those days. I bought watches, clothes and cars and put a great emphasis on consumerism and accumulating “stuff.” I tried traveling, and it was the same result. I also entered into friendships and romantic relationships selfishly in one sided attempts to fill a void inside. I dated more girls and lived the wrong way, only to find that girls didn’t fill the emptiness, either. Even got married thinking that would help, but it didn’t. During this time in my life, I started trying to fill that void with drugs and alcohol. They were a solution that worked for a while, but then as it took more and more to keep me “up,” it started to not work so well. Then it didn’t work at all, and I was left a broken man – poor, lonely, addicted, lost and with no connection to God. My spirit was lost. Ultimately I paid a huge price to learn the truth. You can’t fill a God-size hole with stuff. Or drugs.
I like to say I had to fall to gain it all. I grew up with a father and grandfather who taught me the value of integrity and I had to lose everything to gain that sort of integrity and live my life according to what I learned so many years ago. I broke my parents’ heart once and now to see their joy in the life I lead is everything to me. I sponsor recovering addicts and when I see the light go on, take that kid who was once on the couch half dead and show him how to live right, that’s what’s important to me. Making a difference in people’s lives is what drives me every day. It’s like a ripple effect. If you do the right thing, you can’t help but make someone else’s life better.
People who know me personally often hear me say, “What was once the curse is now my blessing.” What I mean by this is that from my pain and the hell I went through came my “it.” Each person has an “it,” the one thing they were meant to be and do. My “it” isn’t what I earn, drive, where I live or who’s around me. As a retirement specialist, my “it” is to help seniors achieve safe, guaranteed income solutions. On a personal level, my “it” is helping addicts find hope and build amazing lives that they love so much that they wouldn’t sacrifice or squander for the momentary high of a drug. My “it” also involves helping parents and children of addicts to deal with their pain. I believe my purpose is to make the lives of other people better, and I am at my happiest when I’m being of service to others.