Milestones have a way of triggering us into reflection. For me, 2022 marks 30 years in which I have invested my life into a career in wealth management. Looking back over three decades, I recognize that I have collected a treasure trove of lessons learned. My career has been a gift, a teacher, and in so many ways, a path in which I have found purpose.
There are two key points I want to share with you from my reflection. The first is this: I am so grateful for YOU! I’m grateful for your years of unwavering confidence and trust. Your loyalty has fueled me to work harder, to be the best advisor that I can be, and it has inspired me to live life by design.
The second key point from my reflection is this: our partnership has revealed my True Calling. I believe that one has choices in life. One choice is to take a job. A job consists of duties and responsibilities separate from the social aspects of life. There is a clear separation of daily work obligations and after-work recreation. On the other hand, a career is all-encompassing. A career is your life. Expanding this distinction further, a True Calling is perhaps a person’s reason for being. To some that may sound unpalatable. In my mind, that is the true crux of determining whether your work is sincerely your True Calling.
From my perspective, if what you do is your True Calling, it rarely seems like work. Rather, it brings you great pleasure, joy, and meaning. Of course, I am not wearing rose-colored glasses; certainly, there are times when the functions of my career do seem like work. There are also times when specific tasks do not bring me joy. However, when it is your calling, these times should be the exception, not the norm. Lastly, a True Calling is a career that becomes your life’s purpose.
Having arrived at my 30-year career anniversary, I know I have found my True Calling.
Articulating how you know something is your True Calling can be abstract. I suppose for me it is a feeling I get when I perform my work and do it well. There are many obvious signs that your career represents what you are meant to do. The best way I can articulate my certainty that I have found my True Calling is to provide a brief list of the intuitive feelings that surround my career.
While this may not be a comprehensive list, these are the feelings that make me believe I am rooted in a career that is rich with fulfilling purpose:
- What is do rarely seems like work
- I have no aspirations for retirement
- I am constantly curious and always seeking to learn or discover new ways to improve
- I passionately pursue my definition of success
- I look forward to going to work
- Time passes quickly while I am working
- Most of my closest relationships revolve around my work and clients
- My work makes me feel as though I am making a meaningful difference
- I wish to contribute to the overall advancement of my field
Recently, I am questioned more and more about MY retirement plans. I don’t know if it’s my 30 years of service or the grey in my beard that is driving these questions! I can honestly say that I am not considering retirement. That is not to say that I have not financially prepared for this phase of my life. Everyone should financially prepare for the day that they stop working.
For me, I suppose it is more a matter of not being emotionally prepared. After all, some of the greatest joy in my life is derived from my True Calling. The thought of giving up that joy is beyond my comprehension. Giving up my career seems as daunting as the idea of giving up breathing.
I know I am affecting people’s lives positively through my work. Although there are many people in the world who work in the same field, I feel that I am truly making a difference in the lives of those who rely on me for insight. I’ve helped people accomplish significant life-changing goals including putting their kids through college, funding their retirement, purchasing their dream homes, providing gifts to charities, creating a legacy, and saving a meaningful amount of tax dollars. In the end, I am certain that my career is meaningful.
I’ve been blessed to work with many individuals at all ages and stages of life. In doing so, I have identified 8 elements that ultimately add or take away from someone’s “True Wealth.” Beyond monetary means, these are the factors that allow someone to feel wealthy – versus merely appearing wealthy on a balance sheet. These elements separately may mean more or less to a person at different stages of life, yet the collective sum when in harmony is when I have seen clients step into a state of undeniable fulfillment, which I define as a “true wealth” state of being.
The 8 Pillars of True Wealth include:
1. Health. The saying is true, health is the ultimate wealth. Making decisions that allow you to elevate your health comprehensively is imperative to ensure you are in a physical state where you can enjoy an elevated quality of life.
2. Relationships. Our connection with others is priceless. Curating a life that allows you the time you crave investing in others is essential for creating enhanced unity within community.
3. Spiritual: Regardless of what your individual belief system may be, you can always embrace gratitude. Honoring your sense of connection to something greater than the self is a powerful path to being selfless and leading with a servant’s heart.
4. Service to Others. Giving back is a vital part of reinvesting in community and in philanthropic causes that create real, tangible impact. Choosing to serve always comes back full circle.
5. Legacy. Each step we take defines the legacy we will leave behind as inspiration for future generations. With each chapter of our life, it is vital to consider the legacy we want to write, one page at a time.
6. Peace. Life’s only constants are its ebbs and flows. Learning to stay in peace and have faith in your decisions allows you to remain rooted with grace – no matter what curve balls the universe throws at you.
7. The Invisibles. For example, a hug from your child at the end of a long day is an invisible that goes unnoticed if you are not present. Time is fleeting, so learning to be present is the key to enjoying more of the moments you will never get back.
8. Finances. Money can be viewed as something to be obtained, or as a tool to allow you to live your life by design. When I consider the people I know who truly are fulfilled, their pursuit was never money. Rather, they were focused on making a difference, providing for others, developing a legacy, and truly living. Having the proper outlook on what money is and how it can be applied to add value to your life and the lives of others is paramount to being financially fulfilled.
While all of us are experiencing different milestones, for me, my 30-year anniversary is all about magnifying what I have learned to help others. My sense of fulfillment comes from knowing that I am present for the Invisibles, wise enough to remain a student of life, and healthy enough to spend invaluable moments with the people, places, and things I hold close to heart that are ever-priceless.
I would like to close the same way that I opened. With Gratitude. To thank YOU for allowing me to be in your life, for years of trust, and for letting me help to make a difference.
Bart Zandbergen, CFP
Founder of The Zandbergen Group