Certain times in our lives, we are reminded that money and possessions really don’t matter all that much.
For me, one of those times was Halloween last year, as my wife and I sat in the doctor’s office waiting to see our baby on the ultrasound monitor.
What happened next would completely change our lives from that point forward and it would completely change the way I interact with clients who are going through tough times.
What felt like just another day…
It was as if our doctor was speaking in slow motion.
“I’m not hearing a heartbeat this time.”
Those seven words are forever etched into my brain.
Several weeks earlier, my wife and I had found out we were pregnant with our first child. We had already gone in for an ultrasound at 8 weeks and learned that the baby was healthy and the heartbeat was strong.
We were obviously nervous about the prospect of being first-time parents (who isn’t?), but we were also tremendously excited. We had already started planning the layout of the nursery, making a list of possible names, and began sharing the news with close family and friends.
A lot can change in a few weeks though.
If you know what it feels like to have the wind knocked out of you, then you know approximately 1/1,000th of the feeling we felt as we sat in the exam room that morning, listening to the doctor’s words.
Dozens of questions stirred in our minds…
- How did this happen?
- Was it something we did?
- Could it have been prevented?
- What happens next?
- Will we be able to get pregnant again?
Now, in all fairness, my wife is a physician assistant (PA), so she knew the medical answers to all of these questions.
But that didn’t make it any easier. When you’re the patient (or the husband of the patient) all bets are off.
We walked into the office thinking our baby was alive and well.
And when we walked out…our baby was dead.
What We Needed to Hear
After what must have been 5-10 seconds of silence, which felt more like an hour at the time, my wife’s physician, Dr. Martin, gently placed her hand on my wife’s shoulder and made a few more comments.
“I’m so sorry. There’s nothing you could have done. It’s not your fault. We’ll help you guys get through this. God has a plan in all of this, even though it doesn’t feel like it.”
Dr. Martin knew exactly what we, and especially my wife, needed to hear at that moment.
We needed to hear that….
- Someone else cared
- We weren’t alone
- Our miscarriage wasn’t meaningless or random
What did any of this have to do with the situation from a medical standpoint?
And that’s the point.
We didn’t need a doctor in those brief moments, we needed a friend.
And that’s exactly what we got.
When Money Doesn’t Matter
Our experience is not unlike many of the experiences my clients face in their lives on a regular basis.
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, then you know that even though I’m a financial advisor, I don’t think money and possessions are all that important in the grand scheme of things. You know that no matter how rich we are by the world’s standards, we’re all lacking something.
Sometimes though, during the hustle and bustle of life, we can forget that.
We can forget that we’re all just one heartbeat away from the other side of eternity.
Then something happens that rattles your world.
Maybe you lost a loved one, such as a spouse, parent, child, or close friend, and you’re wondering how to cope with the loss.
Maybe one of your adult children is going through a bitter divorce and you’re wishing you could do more to help.
Or maybe, you’re just worried about how on Earth you’ll be able to juggle saving for retirement and paying for your children’s college at the same time.
Whatever the situation, my job as an advisor is similar to Dr. Martin’s job as a physician.
How I Help My Clients
Obviously, a big part of my job is to put together a plan that will help you reach your goals and keep you financially “healthy.”
But when the tough times come (and they will), and you cry until your tears run dry, you need someone to put their hand on your shoulder and let you know that someone else cares.
You need someone to come alongside you and remind you that you’re not alone.
And you need someone to remind you that what you’re going through isn’t random or meaningless.
What does any of this have to do with financial advice?
And that’s the point.
Sometimes, you don’t need a financial advisor.
You need a friend.
And for my clients, that’s exactly what they get.
Have you gone through a tough time recently that reminded you that money and possessions aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things?
I’d love to hear your story.
Feel free to share in the comments section below or email me at Tyler@SageOakFinancial.com.