When I attended Notre Dame, I was enrolled in the First Year of Studies as a freshman. While Notre Dame still has this program, it has changed slightly from what I experienced, and I am unsure what classes freshman students are now required to take. While every freshman was taking classes to enter the college of their desired majors, you also had to take classes in academic areas which were not directly related to your major. One such class I had to take was Philosophy.
Philosophy was one subject I had a hard time wrapping my head around. “I think therefore I am” from Descartes to “The unexamined life is not worth living” from Socrates with many others studied. These statements were very difficult for me to understand. Not so much to understand the words, rather what the meaning of the statements were. Sitting around a table with ten other freshman, I vividly remember a discussion where one student felt as if the reading we just completed explained his reason for living, while when I was asked by the professor, I said I had no idea what the meaning of it was.
With June upon us, I am amazed how seemingly fast the year has gone, yet also reminded of how slow it felt during the COVID-19 lockdown. While not insinuating everything related to COVID-19 is over, we are starting to see cities and economies reopen. The idea of time going by slow versus fast got me thinking about how we view time. It was during a conversation of time with Katie that for whatever reason, I remembered a passage from one of my philosophy classes. Thanks to the beauty of the Internet, I was able to find the quote:
Whoever counts many lustra in his memory need only question himself to find that the last of these, the past five years, have sped much more quickly than the preceding periods of equal amount. Let any one remember his last eight or ten school years: it is the space of a century. Compare with them the last eight or ten years of life: it is the space of an hour.
This quote is credited to philosopher Paul Janet and found in the 1886 article by Williams James in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy. This Journal is not my idea easy reading. Why I remembered this quote is beyond me and the beauty of the brain, is a topic for another letter.
Why I talk about time is there are numerous studies about why we as humans experience time in different ways. Some researchers believe, as we age, a day in the life for a three-year-old versus a sixty-four-year-old is much more impactful merely for the number of days lived. For example, a year for a three-year-old is equivalent to 33.3% of their life while a year for a sixty-four-year-old is 1.57% of their lives.
Another study I read said how we perceive and ultimately remember events can lead to time moving faster. For example, a few months ago, Katie and I took Francis to the park. Katie and I remember it as a nice Sunday afternoon where Francis played on a play structure and went down the slide. We knew he was having a good time and it was an enjoyable afternoon. If you ask Francis though, he will tell you the colors of the structure, how many slides were there and the little boy that fell off the slide, almost as if he had just experienced it. Researchers would say Katie and I have “chunked” this trip as ‘a trip to the park’ while Francis sees it as many different events. So, what do we need to do in order to make time move slower, “unchunk” it. Try and remember specific parts of your day and thus trick your brain into thinking time is moving slower.
You may be asking yourself why I spent so much time talking about time. Obviously as we age, we realize ‘time’ is the one thing we are unable to get back. Knowing this, each interaction we have with you is there to help you keep your time or even try and get your time back. The ‘homework’ we give is not merely a time waste, rather we do not want you to have to waste your or your loved one’s time in the future dealing with something which could be avoided. For example, a financial power of attorney. Not getting into the specifics, this document can be created in a few hours. If, however, it is not completed and something happens to you, your loved one is going to spend significantly more hours (time which could be spent with you) working with an attorney and the courts. Time spent now frees up time for the future.
In our regular progress meetings, we spend a significant amount of the meeting just talking. Talking about changes in your life, from goals to family members to your latest trip. This is by far the most important part of each meeting because not only can it impact the planning we are doing for you along with how your investments are managed, but more importantly it helps us think of ways to try and make your life easier. Easier so as you have more time to do what you want when you want.
As the fog of the past few months seems to slowly lift, we have received numerous questions asking if we have the time to speak with family or friends about their current situation. As a service to you, we will absolutely take the time to speak with anyone you really care about who may be in a complex situation or who just wants to make sure they are making smart decisions in today’s economy. As a fiduciary, we provide this service at no cost and no obligation. Additionally, anything we speak about remains 100% confidential and we will not share anything about you or your situation.
During this conversation with your friend or relative, which we call the second opinion service, we go through the discovery process to get very clear on where they are now, where they want to go and what the gaps are. Following this discussion we will review their situation and see if we may be able to help them accomplish all that is important to them and help them have more time to do all that is important to them. Please see the attached which explains the ‘Second Opinion Service’ in more detail.
Knowing this week is merely one week of thousands in our life, as measured by the S&P 500, the market gained approximately 4.9%.
Have a wonderful weekend and try and do something a little different so as the weekend does not seem to fly by.
Chris Zeches, CFP®