Is it important?

Personal Money Planning |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

Ever get to the evening hours and wonder where the day went? If you’re alive, you probably have. I do,  too. Maybe you are looking back at the last workweek and wondering how all those projects you had to do still aren’t done; your to-do list for next week looks about the same as before. Perhaps you are late into your retirement thinking about all that you were going to do once work stopped and haven’t quite gotten there.

All of that can lead to regrets. If not, it has already led to apathy. Well, we can’t do much about the past, but we can do something about now. With that in mind, I ask you…

Is what you are doing important?

I ask this not so that you achieve more or that you get some reward (on earth or in heaven) nor have I become an efficiency expert. I ask this because Roy Williams asked me (okay, he asked a bunch of us) the same question. His reason was that since you are giving up a day (or an hour, or a minute) of your life for whatever it is you are doing, then surely you must have assigned some importance to it.

The thing is that most of us (yes, I include myself) act as if time was unlimited—some sort of renewable resource. Last I heard this is not the case. The hour or so that it takes me to write this column, that is an hour or so of my life I no longer have. I lived it. Yes, I know you are worth it; and I think it is an acceptable trade: One hour (or so) of my life to get this message out to those who read it, understand it, and do something about it. Now I don’t know if that is one person or one hundred, but at least this time I am mindful of the trade.

Now, if instead I spent the hour reading an entertaining book of fiction, would that be less worthwhile? I challenge myself about this, because how do we measure worthwhileness? Certainly, saving a life is more important than reading a sci-fi novel, but that’s not really the point. It’s not like I was sitting at the lake, heard someone call for help, and turned the page to find out how the story went.

In the Bible there’s a verse that says something to the effect that exercise profits us little. I’ve seen many take that to heart—which isn’t good for the heart. The passage isn’t telling you that your aerobics class is Satanic, but that even though keeping fit is important there are things that are even more important. Sometimes more important than life itself.

I’ll end my rambling. I’ve traded enough of my life for it. I hope it was important enough to be worth your time.

May Ukraine stay free.

Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.