The Mystery of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Our mystery story begins 248 years ago on July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia, PA with the signing of The United States Declaration of Independence.

Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the historic document contains the oft-pondered phrase: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Scholars say Jefferson’s phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” gives three examples of the unalienable rights which the Declaration says have been given to all humans by their Creator.

Like the other principles in the Declaration of Independence, this phrase is not legally binding, but has been widely referenced and seen as inspiration.

For me, it is inspiration as I help guide families to safeguard their retirements. But it is also a great mystery.

Interestingly, Jefferson never explained his use of the phrase “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence.

Some look for clues in Jefferson’s library at his home in Monticello, which was filled with the works of historic philosophers. In fact, one of Jefferson’s favorite thinkers was English philosopher John Locke. Locke originally put forth the idea that a person’s right to live a healthy life, free to amass and maintain property is one granted by the Creator.

No doubt Jefferson took Locke’s concept of “life, health, liberty, and property” and applied it to the fledgling United States and its citizens in the Declaration of Independence.

Let me do the same for you and take some mystery out of a successful retirement.

The Pursuit Of Life

To pursue life in retirement you should be concerned about health. Betting you won’t need long-term care could jeopardize all of your planning if you or your spouse become sick.

When most people think about the challenge of long-term care, the first solution that comes to mind is long-term care insurance. Yes, long-term care insurance is one way you can go. But there are a lot of other options out there that we need to educate ourselves on to see if it makes sense for our situation.

If long-term care is necessary, that is a serious financial problem.

Needing long-term care can quickly eat up your retirement savings. It is true long-term care insurance is highly expensive and there are challenges to even obtain long-term care insurance. Thankfully, there are other options that allow you to protect yourself without purchasing long-term care insurance.

The Pursuit Of Liberty

The pursuit of liberty reminds me of financial freedom, which means cash flow and the opportunity to enjoy your life. This requires an income plan that takes the ups and downs of the stock market into account.

How do you take stock market luck out of the equation? Any plan that you create should be customized. You need to have something that is guaranteed income. If you have money in the stock market, it should be allowed to compound. And the one rule of compounding is it must be left undisturbed.

Consider buying a T-bill for safety, a fixed annuity for income, and then you let the rest of the money grow to offset what you are withdrawing. These strategies can go a long way toward providing you with financial freedom.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Jefferson did not define the pursuit of happiness, but how do you define it?

When I started my financial planning business, I used a “no agenda” philosophy. One of the first things we do is understand who you are and what is your vision for retirement. We don’t want you to have our vision, we want to address yours.

Will you pursue happiness by spending more time with your grandchildren? Does your vision of happiness include travel to National Parks, major league ball parks, or maybe a park bench in Paris? Or is it spending time volunteering helping others through a charity, church, or cause?

The first way we help is to help understand your agenda for happiness.

There are two more ways we help you pursue happiness. Our second process is education, so you see where you stand today. Our third step is to see if there’s anything we can do to improve what you’ve already accomplished.

Don’t settle on a cookie cutter financial plan to pursue your retirement life, liberty, and happiness. Invest time and resources for a customized plan.

Jefferson did not create the Declaration of Independence in isolation. He had input from some of the greatest minds of his day, including John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and inspiration from others like Mason and Locke.

To quote the old adage, “Nothing great was ever achieved alone.”

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