My friend, John Minnick, president of Minnick Capital Management, has a closing salutation on his email that quotes former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” As I contemplated this quote, I thought about the broader context it holds today. In some ways, it seems like everyone in the world retired at the same time this year. Suddenly everyone was in need of a financial plan! The stay at home orders sent everyone scrambling to figure out what to do next. So many people lost their jobs completely and experienced a mandatory retirement. Others were sent home to work remotely, which may have caused some angst for both management and workforce. No doubt, others who are manning the front lines have been working harder than ever. Never has making a living been in such an upheaval. Unemployment figures are devastating, and the stock market reflects the anxiety of the workplace.
In contrast, we have observed many silver linings come from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Families have been drawn together and priorities have changed. Community organizations are reaching out to help those in need. Neighbors are checking on the Elders that live close by. We are visibly sharing our concern for others by wearing masks.
Making a life is the highest aspiration of all. Nothing can keep us from being givers, no matter the financial times. If we focus on what we have to give, we might, at least for a moment, forget about what we’re not getting. From the college student without the prospect of a new job, to the young parents struggling to pay the bills, to the retiree whose investments have collapsed, we can always make a life by giving. It may be an act of kindness, a word of encouragement, a smile, a prayer; we are never devoid of gifts to share. An unknown author said, “The road to success is not crowded. Because while most people are looking for ways to take, the successful people are finding ways to give.”