What is Your Purpose?  Introducing the Purpose Meets Planning Workbook



October 8, 2021

Dear Friends and Clients,

Every week when I send out these emails I try to attach information that is timely and helpful. Naturally, I read the content and think about it. I offer my observations. Not infrequently, I go off on tangents. It is who I am.

Fortunately, a number of you have told you like my tangents better than the attachments. Several friends have pointed out that after reading my comments they were unsure what I actually thought. According to one reader, "Steve, you are so good at straddling the fence, you should run for public office."

I am flattered. Deb won't let me run. She did not sign up to be a politician’s wife. I will leave it to others to bear that onerous distinction, bearing the thousand cuts a political life is heir to.

The reason for my seeming ambiguity in my is not that I do not have convictions. I do, however, when it comes to the financial markets, I am convinced curiosity and openness beat trying to be right about everything.

I invite reflection and consideration as opposed to playing Mr. Know-it-All. Unlike the barker at a medicine show, I don't have a one size prescription that is  "Good for What Ails You". To make matters worse, my crystal ball has been on the fritz ever since I dropped it watching my Fighting Irish lose to Alabama for the National Championship back in 2013.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in questions about what the market is going to do short term or what the Federal Reserve policy will likely be that we forget what we are planning for. Money is a good servant and a poor master, as Francis Bacon observed. 

 I am attaching a brochure called the "Purpose Meets Planning Workbook". The booklet, designed by our friends at Jackson National Life, provides questions, exercises and thought experiments to fuel reflection on what we want our lives to mean.

I made a three and a half minute video to go over the workbook: 

 My Review of the Purpose Meets Planning Workbook

Every Christmas season, as long as I can remember, the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" with James Stewart, Donna Reed and Henry Travers(Clarence the novice angel) has been replayed on network or off network television. If you want me to distill the movie's message to a single observation it would be this: " It ain't what you got, It's who and what do you love".

I doubt anyone ever arrived at the end of their days and thought, 'If only I had put 5% of my portfolio in emerging market debt.'

Money is important. It keeps our homes warm. Puts food on the table. Funds educations.  Money allows us to do things we care about and travel or live where we want to..

Saving, investing and planning matter.  Figuring out what is worth doing and who or what you care about is more important.

I have heard it said, (and I do not know the source), that if a retires and becomes active in a group, any group, they reduce the chances of dying over the next six months by 50%.

That sounds right.

Whatever your religion (or irreligion), hobbies or avocations, I would encourage you to belong to a group that notices when you don't show up and calls to make sure you are ok. Your social media 'Friends' probably won't bring you a casserole when your spouse is in the hospital.  Join a community with a mission you can be excited about and that cares you enough to have someone take you aside and tactfully tell you when you are full of baloney.

We Americans give a lot of deference to the man on the white horse that rides off into the sunset. Alan Ladd as "Shane", Clint Eastwood as "Josey Wales" or John Wayne as Rooster Coburn in "True Grit" are exemplars of that supposed ideal.

The data is in: humans are happiest as social beings, not loners. Running off to become a mountain man or hermit is overrated.

So with that sermonette, I invite you to take a few minutes and go through the attached workbook and see if it inspires some helpful reflection. Take your time and do not jump to any conclusions. Revise your answers as many times as you need to.

I am here to talk about it, if you like. 

Thank you for your patience with me. As Mark Twain is supposed to have said, "I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time'.

Rain or not, have a great weekend ahead. Happy Columbus Day!


Stephen R. Judge, ChFC CLU

Financial Advisor

LPL Financial  
One Oak Plaza Building           
1 Oak Street, Suite 206
Asheville, NC 28801
T: (828) 348-5216
F: (828) 348-4309

Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.

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