Olympic Behaviors

What’s your medal in?

What are you working toward?


 By the time you read this the 2012 Olympic events will be well on their way to entries in the history books.  We will be relishing thrilling victories and agonizing defeats.  Past champions limelight will be lavished on new individuals.  Personally I’m rooting for Michael Phelps to become the most decorated Olympian ever.  This personal desire takes nothing away from Ryan Lochte theUSswimmer in his orbit who is supposed to provide the biggest challenge to Michael.

Since many of us are glued to the TV at night or to the Apps on our smart devices that allow us to watch events in real time I just have to make an observation.  These athletes have been quietly preparing for their shining moments for many, many years.  For most this has not just been a four-year preparation period.  For many it has been a life long goal, an obsession to achieve their personal bests.  Striving for their best while representing their respective countries must add a special feeling to their achievements.

What is your Olympic moment?  No, I’m not asking for your favorite sports event.  What achievements in your life are worth a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal?  We all have different areas in our lives that we continually work to improve on and in.  In your opinion, have you achieved the Olympic pedestal in some area? Let me know your thoughts!

Life is not a spectator sport!  In real life, I believe we work at many skills that are medal worthy – being a parent who raises an independent productive child, being a good and responsible child to our own aging parents, excelling and being passionate about our chosen profession,  being responsible in saving at least 20% of what we earn, being sure we can have an independent retirement, preparing for our own long term care needs in the future so we aren’t a burden to our family, treating our employees or co-workers as the peers they are.  Behavior that earns medals involves CHOICE.  What daily choices do you make?  Compare your choices to the athlete who chooses to do things daily that lead to success in the future.  Are you modeling Olympic behaviors?

I had breakfast with a young man in his early forties today.  He has baby boomer parents.  I thought his observation was acutely perceptive.  He said that with 10,000 baby boomers daily turning 65 for many years to come a sad reality was going to hit them. (I’m a boomer and in my opinion it’s going to hit like a tsunami!)  He said he and his wife are worried about the impact the boomers are going to have on the economy, his generation and that of his children.  He said these baby boomers are, for the most part, like his parents.  They are people who have lived beyond their means for most of their adult lives.  They have been used to houses appreciating in price and buying up because of it.  They have been used to the bull market in stocks and being able to make money, in most cases, without having to pay much attention to their investments.  He said the new reality, in his opinion, was not sinking in.  People are not making the necessary behavior changes to adapt to things as they are now.  He said he just didn’t know how the baby boomers were going to be able to adapt to the reality of not being able to continue spending more than they make.

The people he described are not candidates for any Olympic medals.  His description enlists an “ouch” response from many boomers I bet.  His parents apparently didn’t have an acceptable answer for him.  He is worried.

We preach fiscal responsibility and personal accountability to anyone who will listen.  It was validating to hear it from someone outside the planning profession.  What’s your reaction to this?  Do you have parents you are worried about?  Are you a boomer who fits this description?  If his comments disturb you are you going to take action to correct what disturbs you or will you remain an armchair athlete and change the channel?

The main question, as it relates to Olympic behavior is this.  What behavior patterns are we willing to change to assure ourselves a top ten finish?  We don’t need to be number one.  We need to strive for a top ten finish in many areas: parenting, in health, in accumulation of wealth to sustain ourselves in retirement, in spiritual connections, in our careers, in our friendships and family relationships. There are more areas.  We all have our work cut out for us.

Go Team!



About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and has assisted her clients with their financial planning needs for over 40 years. Have a financial question? ASK SARA!


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