“My financial plan saved my life.”
I recently attended a conference where another CPA financial planner named Tony Batman uttered these words during his presentation. How could a financial plan save someone’s life?, I wondered. Sure, I think financial planning is really important - which is probably obvious since it’s what I do for a living. I know how much it can impact someone’s life and I’ve seen what financial struggles can do to a family. I take what I do very seriously and I know when we give advice we are helping people make major life decisions. Whether it’s deciding when to retire, how much to spend on a house, how to invest a portfolio, or any of the other issues we deal with on a daily basis, our clients depend on us to help them make the right decisions.
But could we really save someone’s life? I’m not a police officer out there catching bad guys and keeping the public safe. I’m not a firefighter putting my own life on the line to rescue people from a burning building. I’m not a soldier fighting terrorists to protect our country and our freedom. And I’m not a doctor performing life-saving surgeries. No I’m not nearly as important as any of these people and I’d certainly never compare what I do to what these and many other brave men and women do on a daily basis.
So how could Tony possibly say that a simple financial plan saved his life? I have to preface this by admitting that his is a biased viewpoint. He is a financial planner so he already understands the importance of a financial plan. BUT that doesn’t mean his views are without merit. So what made him think his plan saved his life? Well, he was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer.
I’ve seen loved ones receive that diagnosis and unfortunately I’m sure many of you have as well. I can’t even begin to imagine what it feels like to be in that position and hear those words from your doctor. Surely finances are the farthest thing from your mind at a time like that. Suddenly you are in a fight for your life and you need to focus all your energy on that fight. And that was exactly why Tony said his financial plan became so important.
You see, he had a complete financial plan and was prepared for every scenario. He didn’t have to worry about what would happen to his wife if he didn’t win this fight - he had the appropriate amount of life insurance. He knew what type of disability insurance he had so that he could still support his family if he could no longer work. He had a proper will in place and beneficiary designations on his accounts. In short, he didn’t have to worry about finances or any of the doomsday scenarios that were likely floating around in his head. Instead he could focus on his chemotherapy and his fight with cancer.
Tony won his battle and his cancer is currently in remission. I would say that his doctors and the miracles of modern science saved his life. But maybe, just maybe, his financial plan played an important role as well. We might not be able to save your life with a financial plan, but we can certainly help you improve it. So if you don’t have one, NOW is the time to get one.