For the second year in a row, we have fires locally that are endangering people’s homes and lives. I must say, it is a useful reminder to all of us as to the relative importance of many things in life. I have heard it said that nobody on their deathbed spends any time wishing they had worked more hours and accumulated more.  Indeed, it makes sense that when we look back on our lives, accumulation of wealth and stuff will probably not be what we most cherish. It will more likely be the kindnesses we received and those we provided others that give us meaning as we reflect on our lives.

Nobody on their deathbed will spend their time thinking “I sure am glad Ted bought me ABC Investment right before it went up 10 per cent”. I don’t mean to belittle either what I do or client concerns about “how they are doing”. We chose the name Capstone very purposefully, as we believe that what we do is necessary but not sufficient. Our goal is to help people achieve their goals, spend time in the pursuits they find meaningful, and assist in improving the quality of their lives. Those are not insignificant pursuits and do help give my life meaning. The ability to look back and know, while I did not always succeed, I always had the best interest of my clients at heart is an essential part of what gives me meaning.

Without being maudlin, the fires in Black forest do help us look at the really big picture. While we in this industry typically sit around and debate whether the market is heading up or down 5 per cent and what to do about it, that is focusing on the trees and not the forest. We need to try to maintain the balance between the small things in life and the big overarching ones. Somehow, those little daily concerns (the yang of life) can overload us and leave us without the peace (the yin of life) to step back and keep the proper perspective on life.

By Ted Schwartz