I love Christmas, and I love it like a 4-year-old loves it. Much of it stems from loving it as a child, listening to the music, spending time with family, and focusing on the important things in life. I know I am not alone because, as someone who dresses as an elf many times throughout the year, I am always met with jubilation from adults and children alike when I’m in costume. Christmas and the entire holiday season remind us that life is not about money or possessions. It recalibrates our perspectives and reminds us that relationships are the most valuable things in life.
The holidays can also create a strain on resources. The greatest resource any of us have is time. You’ve heard that time equals money, while that is correct, the phrase implies that money is somehow greater than time. The exact opposite is true. As someone whose life is dedicated to helping people with money, the best advice I can give you is if you value your life from the amount of money you have, you will never find fulfilment.
What will ultimately lead to fulfillment is being radically intentional with your resources. No one knows how much time they get on Earth, which is planning challenge. Money is much easier and, in some cases, fun to plan for. Everyone will run out of time, but your money has the potential to last much longer than your mortal existence. Often, I see people save and save and then have a hard time transitioning into spending once they retire. People see their nest egg as an insurance policy rather than a leverageable resource to pursue maximum fulfillment. People benefit from working with financial planners to reframe their perspective from one of concerns and fears to one that embraces possibilities.
Here’s the advice I give to clients toward the later stages of life and advice I would ask you to consider during this Christmas. Don’t just sit on your money and eventually let it pass to the next generation out of obligatory guilt. Step 1: Carve out a small piece of your wealth and give the people in your life a little surprise. Watch as they freak out that grandma and grandpa hooked them up this Christmas! Step 2: Monitor and keep notes on who was careful with your resources, who was wise, and who blew it faster than a middle-aged man at a craps table in Vegas. Step 3: Adjust your will accordingly.
Christmas is about remembering that relationships and time are the most valuable things in life. Eventually your time will be up, when it is, make sure that your plan and your legacy doesn’t end. Let your legacy resources transition to the hands of people who will honor the value of your resources and impact generations to come.