I love the few weeks during spring migration when the warblers pass through Minnesota. The sparse leaves on the trees and the birds' vivid colors make the birds easy to see, although their rapid movements make them hard to identify.
We know that for many species, their time here is limited, so we adjust our calendars to add walks and weekend day trips.
Is it because this is a very concrete period — usually late April to late May — that makes it easier to set aside time?
I ask because so many other aspects of our lives are transitory, yet we may keep ignoring them as if they weren't. While it is important to enjoy what you have, it is equally important to identify and acknowledge that you won't have it forever.
Often our clients say they will have to leave their homes feet first, meaning that they would rather die than entertain transitional living. For those who die early, this may be the case, but it is wise to start planning before health changes force the issue. Clients who have actively looked for facilities that fit their desired lifestyle and budgets are more willing to accept this change and do better adapting to it. Even clients who have the resources to stay at home may end up in a graduated care facility because so much is taken care of for them. Planning for the time when you may no longer be living in your current home allows you to fully appreciate what you have, while recognizing it may not last forever.
I have been in this business for more than 40 years, so I have seen couples plan their retirements only to have a dramatic change cause them to be forced to adjust their plans. I guarantee a change will occur, but I have no idea when. How do you retire a little every day rather than wait for that target date? Incorporating some of the things you want to do before retirement helps you experiment with how you wish to spend your retirement time if you have the luxury of eventually choosing. It also helps you beat that ever-present, ever-ticking clock of regret.
If I went on as if the warblers were not just passing through, I would most likely miss them. But we are all really just passing through. What may you be missing in your life?
Spend your life wisely.
Ross Levin is founder of Accredited Investors Wealth Management in Edina. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.