As the 4th of July rolls around and we celebrate America’s 242nd birthday, my mind contemplates my ancestors and the history of this country.
American since 1893
My family came over to the United States in 1880 to avoid being drafted into the army. James Johansen changed his name to James Johnson when he applied for citizenship September 8th, 1893 and received citizenship just 10 days later on September 18th, 1893. Johnsons were officially Americans. He applied because it was the day his son was born. James Roy Johnson. September 8th, 1893 was a pretty great day for the Johnsons. Now there’s over 200 of us, his descendants, living in Idaho, New York, Utah, California, and more.
Why We Do What We Do
Why do we run the round-about wheel of life? We work hard, we play hard, we sleep hard, we plan vacations and trips, and build up businesses, and buy clothes, and cook food, go to rock concerts, plow fields, grill steak, play football, enjoy days swimming in the river, learn to skateboard, visit grand canyons and skyscrapers.
Why? It’s all about family. We love them. Families create a sense of belonging- feeling needed and wanted for who we are without regards to what we do. Family is a source of unconditional love; and though we aren’t perfect, we know we are happiest when we are with our family. My father’s greatest ideal for happiness is grilling outdoors on a warm Sunday afternoon with the whole family and all our cousins around, just talking and laughing.
That’s it. That’s the ‘why’. All of us deep down are looking for our tribe, our calling, our people. A family is an ultimate tribe that lasts forever. That’s where my thoughts turned to the simple and sweet reality of how we spend both money and time.
Early Puritans and Calvinists used all their time and resources to escape England so their families could worship God the way they wanted. They wanted good things in the future for their families.
I mean, think of the early indentured servants that came to the US colonies. They would pay for their passage to the new world with 7 years of their life. If they were in a colony that allowed them to have their own possessions while indentured they would save up to buy their own freedom.
Settlers moved out west for the opportunity for their own land, so they could grow their own food and take care of their family. Their time and money aligned for family.
People start businesses so they can eventually have the flexibility to go to their son’s ball games and piano recitals, and so they can see their daughters perform in the play or play in the jazz band. I’ve seen my dad and mom sacrifice for me to be able to take dance lessons, and spend so much of their time on coaching me through debate teams, and which college I should attend, and what car I should buy. They love me, and I love them.
What’s Your ‘Why’?
You show me what your time and your money are spent on, and I’ll tell you exactly what you love.
Used with permission from Carl Richards, Copyright Behavior Gap© 2013“Knowledge is accumulation, Wisdom is elimination” – Dan Lok
Part of what I do as a financial planner is help people not only identify their ‘why’ but identify what’s next and create a game plan with them to prepare for their next best part. The best part of the process is eliminating the excess. Do you ever feel so cluttered with so many things you can do, so much stuff in life, and so many hows? Along the voyage for my family, it must have been easy to lose track. Why are we going to America and moving out west and planting our own fields and and and and and. The simple line at the top of the Johnson one-page plan was then and still is “Family, Freedom, Future”.
Planning is eliminating the extra and getting to your one-page plan. It becomes easy to identify what’s important and what’s not when the plan is simple.
So here’s a reminder to consider. What’s your ‘why’? Why do you spend your time as you do; why do you spend your money as you do? My family didn’t end up in America by a wish, or a dream, and you’ll only become what you plan. So, what are you becoming?