What Do We Build Our Lives On?

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When I started counseling people through financial troubles, I came to realize that material wealth (i.e. houses and cars) can actually be a burden that can keep people from living happy and fulfilling lives. I have seen many instances where my clients live in a million dollar prison because the cost of servicing the debt and maintenance keeps them from maintaining their health, saving for college, saving for retirement, traveling or experiencing the freedom of having the money to do the things they want to do.

Recently, we helped a client downsize a large home. When I first met this client, she had a hard time dealing with all the emotional issues that come with giving up a home. How do I sell the home where my children grew up? What will my neighbors say? What am I going to do with all this stuff? It was very overwhelming for her and her natural instinct was to ignore it all.

It was plain to see her situation would get worse if she didn’t address her situation, and she needed to start asking the right questions. It took her a long time to realize this, but one day I asked her what she wanted her future to look like? Her response was, “If I could do it, I want to live in a small apartment I can afford and maintain in a neighborhood were I can walk to coffee shop or a restaurant and be free of all this stress.” At this point, I knew she was ready for our help.

Over the next two years, we helped her market her house, kept her creditors at bay and developed a plan to let her move on. Now she is beginning to live the life she described and sent the following email:

“It really feels great to shed the burden of the house and the sale. Thankfully I had you and Matt to help me navigate through that quagmire. I really don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have you both holding my hand through it all. I am very grateful for you and Matt as your Firm offers a truly magnanimous service.”

Stories like this always remind me that we are not defined by a house or a car material wealth as those things come and go very easily. It’s ok to have a nice car and a home, but it’s more important to invest our in our health, our growth and our relationships with others, because those are all things we can keep no matter what our financial situation may be, to form a solid foundation for a fulfilling life.

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