“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Mary Oliver (1935-2019), Pulitzer Prize winning poet
In Mary Oliver’s famous poem The Summer Day she begins with an existential question: who made the world . . . and the swan, and the black bear, and the grasshopper? Fixated on the grasshopper, she uses the next several lines to describe its subtle movements, with a sense of reverence for the created thing. It is as if paying attention is an act of worship to the creator of the world. She asks, “Tell me, what else should I have done?”, as if there was nothing else that made sense to do in that moment. Our productivity-driven minds might dismiss this seemingly purposeless attentiveness as a waste of time, or at least as something to be done when everything of greater importance has been accomplished.
What gets your attention? And who decides?
At Mint Hill, we often talk about simplifying your financial life. We know that finances are an essential part of living, and we believe that streamlining them will free up some of your attention to focus on what matters most to you. In fact, that’s the primary reason most clients come to us – because they want to prioritize their time on what matters most to them – and while their finances are critical, the details can be burdensome. We understand this, and we gladly take on those details so you don’t have to worry about them. Do we do this to make your life easier? Absolutely. Is that the only reason? Certainly not.
Our objective in simplifying your finances is to help you create space in your mind to contemplate Mary Oliver’s ultimate question: what will you do with your one wild and precious life?
We would not presume to be able to answer this question for you, but we invite you to ponder it. As your financial advisors, our ultimate goal is to empower you to live fully into your answer. In a world that is buzzing with distractions and increasingly filled with algorithms that are very effective at captivating our attention, we invite you to take a step back and consider: what is most important to you?
How might simplifying your life – starting with your finances – pave the way for your wild and precious life to be lived to the fullest?
Practicing Financial Simplicity
Simplicity is not just something we advocate for our clients. At Mint Hill, we also strive to practice simplicity in our own financial lives. COO Matt Lessman is married to a physician, and he functions as the CFO for their family – touching base with his partner at a high level on the important topics to ensure they are on the same page, but stopping short of the unnecessary details. This arrangement brings simplicity by clarifying each person’s role and providing freedom for Matt to manage the minutiae as he sees fit.
Senior Advisor Jake Stevenson and his wife, Lena, sat down together to simplify their financial lives by establishing goals and priorities for their family. Like Matt, Jake takes the lead in progressing toward those goals on a day-to-day basis. For Jake and Lena, this approach transformed conversations about money from potentially stressful and confrontational to goal-directed and collaborative.
For CEO Tim Beldner, financial simplicity involved planning for worst-case scenarios by obtaining insurance policies (e.g., life, disability) that gives him peace of mind that his family is protected in the face of an unexpected event. While neither he nor his wife enjoyed thinking about such possibilities, they recognized that avoidance would ultimately not serve their family well.
These are just some examples of ways a Mint Hill Advisor will help you simplify your financial life – taking into account everything from the worst-case scenario to the day-to-day minutiae.
Simplicity Beyond Finances
When you begin to consider your life and activities through the lens of simplicity, you may discover other areas where simplicity brings freedom of mind to attend to what is most important. For Mint Hill President Tyler Anderson, pursuing simplicity in his marriage means focusing on his ultimate goal: to love his spouse well. When the stresses of parenting and managing a home intensify, Tyler recalibrates by focusing on his primary goal of loving well, and the stressors and distractions fall away.
For Matt and Tim, who have 9 children between them, simplicity in managing busy families is a bit less romantic but extremely practical. Matt and his wife, Katie, have been proactive in building their lives to be as efficient as possible. They have chosen to live within 5 minutes of their jobs, schools/daycares, and church, and they tend to limit their shopping and dining out to this radius as well. Doing so has allowed them to reclaim the time that was previously lost to commuting, and they consider it one of the best decisions they ever made. For Tim and his wife, Meagan, simplicity means outsourcing. Paying for services – such as housecleaners and lawn professionals – enables them to spend more time as a family, attending sporting events and performances, playing in the yard, and just being silly together.
Simplicity the Mint Hill Way
Your Mint Hill Advisor will embody simplicity in their work with you by:
• Specializing in the unique needs of doctors and dentists, which means understanding the complexities and opportunities of your finances across the professional lifespan;
• Helping you channel the goal-directed energy that enabled you to become a doctor and directing it toward your financial goals;
• Taking a comprehensive look at your finances to cover all your current and future priorities while also drawing your attention to opportunities you may not have considered;
• Mapping out a clear action plan, including automating debt repayment and savings whenever possible;
• Establishing the basics – life insurance, disability insurance, wills – so that you are not caught unprepared;
• Partnering with you across time and helping you adapt to shifting goals and obligations;
• Finding trusted partners in other industries (e.g., tax, legal, insurance) and brokering quality private equity deals (e.g., real estate);
• Prioritizing convenient methods of communicating (e.g., videoconferencing) to protect your precious time.
Why do we do all this? Because as your advisors, we are invested in your one wild and precious life. And whatever you choose to do with it, we will be with you to help you do it to the fullest.
Melissa Smigelsky, PhD, is a clinical psychologist by day and a freelance writer for Mint Hill Wealth Management by night. As someone who sacrificed earnings in her 20s and 30s to pursue a doctorate, Melissa has a deep appreciation for the unique services and perspective offered by Mint Hill. She also knows from personal and professional experience that money is one of the most important (and often neglected) topics in relationships. Melissa is excited to use writing to foster personal reflection and purposeful communication that can contribute to intentional living for all Mint Hill clients.
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