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When I spend time at our lake house, I think a lot.

One afternoon, I sat quietly watching the clouds reflect off ripples moving across the lake. I felt nostalgic. I wanted to pen a note to my daughter, Jessica.

I wanted to tell her how to live life without regret.

I’ve had my own. But I wanted to spare her the regrets so many of us experience when life falls short of its full potential.

Jessica is strong, smart and well into her career. I know she will do well in life. What could become her regrets, I wondered. And could I help her?

Then, I began to think about you─our clients, your families and what regrets you might be shouldering at this moment.

In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware shares the thoughts of her patients as they prepared for their quiet endings.

What matters most at this point?

And why would a financial advisor like me dare to comment on such a sacred subject?

Here is Ms. Ware’s list of the top five regrets (think wishes) of the dying:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expect of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

Do you see yourself in these thoughts? Are they meaningful to you?

Do you notice not one is about money?

Although I am in the business to manage money, grow and preserve wealth, I find myself surrounded by the emotional side of money every day.

The freedom it brings. The responsibility. The stress. The fear of loss.

So I counsel my clients, usually by asking many difficult questions. I need to know you not only on a financial level but on an emotional level, too.

And now I want to learn how my skills at financial advisory can help you live life without regrets.

Most credit Mark Twain with saying: I believe we feel the most regret about missed chances we did not take.

Twenty Years From Now Mark Twain

That’s because our “psychological immune system” allows us to recover from unpleasant experiences more quickly than we think due to our ability to rationalize and reframe how we view things. However, it is harder for this system to kick in when we have never tried something in the first place.

Emotional Side of No Regrets

Let’s talk about the things you can do now to diminish regrets in your life on an emotional level; then we’ll talk about tangible things you can do on a financial level to buffer you from regrets later.

Here’s a personal roundup of seven areas I work on to reduce the potential for regret:

  1. Question assumptions; discover your own path
  2. Trust your gut instincts
  3. Take risks; move outside your comfort zone daily
  4. Learn to love change and the opportunity it brings
  5. Keep your work in perspective; focus on what’s meaningful in your life
  6. Practice forgiveness and kindness with everyone
  7. Tell and show your loved ones you love them as often as you can

Write down what you believe you can do now to leave no regrets.

It is a very personal process, just like financial life planning. Give it a try. It can be liberating.

Financial Side on No Regrets

Now, let’s turn to the practical side of regret-banishing. There are certain financial actions you can take right now to help avoid regret in the last chapter of your life:

  • Prepare Your Will, Living Will or Trust (trusts can limit estate taxes at 40 percent or legal challenges)
  • If You Own a Business, Do Your Succession Plan (protect what you’ve built)
  • If You Hold Assets, Develop Your Estate Plan (protect what you’ve accumulated)
  • Complete a Durable Power of Attorney (to transact business on your behalf)
  • File a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (with your doctor, hospital, family)
  • Do Your Beneficiary Designations (assets may pass to heirs outside of a will)
  • Do Guardianship Designations (critical to the future lives of your children)
  • Write a Letter of Intent (so executor or beneficiary can carry out your wishes)
  • Prepare to Leave a Legacy (it’s our responsibility to leave Earth a better place)

We’re all in this business of life together.
Let’s help each other make the journey shine like the ripples on our lake.

To Your Financial Freedom,

rick roush

Rick Roush AIF®, CPFA

Roush Investment Group

O: 559.579.1490 F: (559) 490-2015 C: (559) 285-3318