Every year our dealer – Hollis Wealth – puts on an event to assemble many of the top financial minds who share their forecasts, predictions, thoughts and opinions with us.
This year, they hosted a speaker who veered off course to share his thoughts on the stunning results of recent elections around the world. The electoral outcomes of Canada, Brexit and the US were listed as examples of what can happen when you have groups of people searching for something different, but not yet knowing what that ‘different’ is.
He described them as: “People who know they don’t want what they have, but don’t actually know what they want. “
What did he mean by that? How can you recognize that you don’t want what you currently have if you don’t know what you want? I struggled with this statement for days.
It wasn’t until I broke it down and thought about it in the context of an individual that I started to see the truth behind those words. First, I had to ask myself a hard question: What do I want?
What a question to wrestle with!
If you had asked me as a little boy, all I wanted was to be a garbage man. Pretty understandable. After all, garbage men get to drive around in those cool trucks. Then, through my pre-teen and early teenage years, I wanted to be an NHL hockey player, marry a supermodel and live in a big house with lots of toys. Oh to be a boy again and still be able to dream and fantasize!
Today that same question almost seems too big for me. A question that should be so easy to answer and yet, I can’t even figure out where to start.
The hardest part is trying to figure out what I actually want. Not what I am told I should want or what someone else wants for me. We live in a culture today where keeping up with the Joneses’ is normal and the media is constantly trying to manipulate us on how we should look, how we should feel, what we should be saving up for, etc.
It wasn’t until I was able to clear away all the muck that I began to get a better understanding of what it was that I wanted. And I realized during this process how simple and attainable what I want is for me. As a matter of fact, most of the things I want don’t involve much money at all. Those that do, can be achieved without ever having to become a millionaire.
I also learned that my profession has nothing to do with what I want. The world today wants to define us not by who we are but by what we do and what we have. Yet everything I want in life, I can achieve regardless of whether I am an NHL hockey player, a garbage man or in my role today of helping others experience better with their money.
As an advisor I couldn’t help but wonder what my own struggle with this might mean for the clients that I serve.
How many of them really know what they want? Have they wrestled it to the ground like I had to? Were they able to clear away all the garbage that we are conditioned to want and really figured out what they want?
After putting in the time to get an answer for myself, I know what I want and can now work on the best course of action to achieve my goals. I don’t have all the answers, and surely, I will make mistakes along the way, but I can make decisions with clarity now, knowing the end goal.
If you haven’t spent time asking yourself these hard questions, I urge you to consider doing so. Knowing what you want will help you make better decisions for your future. And if you’re having trouble, please reach out. While I don’t have all the answers, I know how agonizing it can be to wrestle with the question. It would be my privilege to help guide you in understanding what it is you truly want and how best to get there.
Wade Bedard, CIM®