Memory Lane and Financial Planning

Happy kids riding bikes

By Nick Gertsema, CFP®, ChFC®, RICP®, AIF®, CEO & Wealth Advisor 

I had some time to sit East of St. Joseph where I had a great panoramic view of the part of town I grew up in. As I looked to the right, I saw the steeple of Wyatt Park Baptist Church. My mind immediately went to the memories of the hill that was there before the church was built. Since I grew up on Rainbow Court, it was a short ride to the intersection of Gene Field and Leonard. Whenever we’d get a lot of snow, the sledding on that hill was epic. Being that I was fairly young, I might remember the hill being bigger than it actually was. 

I looked a little further south where “The Zoo” was. I remembered being a disappointed 8-year-old when we moved to town and finding out that the zoo was actually just a neighborhood with streets named after exotic animals, not an actual zoo. I remember riding my bike over to my good friend’s house and going as fast as possible down the hill on Safari. I remember my sister using her brand-new shoes for brakes rather than using her bike brakes. I also remember how my parents reacted to that! 

The more I looked, the more memories came back to me. I remember spending a lot of time at Our Lady of Guadalupe as a member of the Youth Group, I remember playing home run derby on the softball field behind St. Paul Lutheran. As I sat there, I started thinking about the things that happened that were not in my line of sight, but just beyond the horizon. I remembered my years at Bishop Leblond High School and playing football. I remembered the afternoons my brother and I would spend at Krug Park in the paddle boats catching turtles. I also remembered my time spent at my favorite haunt, The Rearview, singing karaoke. 

I realized just how many memories happened in just a few square miles. I started thinking about how many memories were being made within St. Joseph. Then it dawned on me how carefree those times in my life were, primarily because I knew that I’d be taken care of. 

I grew up in a household where my needs were met. I may not have gotten every toy I wanted or to go wherever I pleased, but I had a great childhood. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re taken care of and that there are other people who care about you who are handling things for you so that you can focus on living. 

That is what I get to do for others when I am building financial plans. When it comes to financial planning, it isn’t about the inputs as much as it is about the outputs. Our clients want to retire, and they want to know that they’re going to be able to live the retirement they want. Whereas the answers aren’t always what people want to hear, knowing the truth about their situation can be freeing. 

Financial planning for the future gives you the confidence to live in the now. I miss the days where my biggest concern was what I was going to do tomorrow and whether I could convince my dad to take me to Liberty Sound and Family Video on a Thursday to rent the latest N64 games before the rest of the town got there and picked over the selection. My worries weren’t about whether we had enough money, they were about focusing on the present.  

When you engage in truly comprehensive financial planning, that’s the freedom you can gain. Once you know what is possible and what the risks are, your path becomes clearer and you can make a decision about how to live your life and plan for what you want your legacy to be. That’s what we offer when we do true financial planning. We empower you to make life’s choices on your terms. 

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