Why? - Mortality and Morbidity

By Mark Bertrang, The Creator of the Financialoscopy® on Thursday, November 3rd 2022


My favorite author is Simon Sinek. I believe that if you are growing; you are growing, and one of the ways to do that is to make sure that you are fully engaged, both mentally and physically throughout your entire life. One of the main themes of Simon Sinek’s books is the WHY behind why you do things. This is in business. This is also in your own personal life. Often times people will ask me WHAT do I do, and then they will ask HOW do I do that, but the most important question that I think they should be asking is the WHY. Why do I do what I do?


The WHY has to do with living as long of a full, enduring life as I can possibly live. If I'm looking at the WHAT: the what is how do I live my life? The HOW is: how do I live my life as long as possible? Often times people will come to us and ask how can they be certain that they will have enough money to live the life that they would like to lead. They don't want to run out of money before they run out of life. The WHY is why are you doing this in the first place? What is the meaning that you have in your life?


There are two things that I am typically thinking of as we’re going through this process with people. The first is mortality, and we understand what that is; how long are you going to be on the planet? There are mathematical calculations that we can make, and we can look at a person's history, and we can look at the type of life that they're living now. Is it full and enduring? Are they engaged? The more that they are the more likely that they will last as long as possible and have that long, enduring life. Along with mortality, how long they're going to be on the planet, and how long you might be on the planet, how are you going to be living that life? Then I get into the discussion of morbidity.


Morbidity is the discussion of illnesses, sicknesses, disabilities, etc., things along that line. Everyone is going to have morbidity in their life. The question is: is it going to be a long-term morbidity or a short-term morbidity? With long-term morbidity, I see this time and time again with people when they retire, and they immediately shut down. I can remember my grandfather when he retired saying, “I am retired, and I am tired.” For a long period of time, he just basically sat back enjoying television and didn't do a whole heck of a lot until he began engaging himself with gardening and other projects around the house. Things that he never had an opportunity to do during his life as a baker.


I know many people who, within a month-and-a-half of retiring, had previously been so active with so many different things all of the sudden they are gaining 15 lbs. and slowing down and not doing a whole heck of a lot with their life. So, what happens during that situation is that they now may experience a long-term decline in their health, a long-term morbidity. My wife Betty, who is a realtor, is often approached by couples who are in their late 50s or 60s, and they want to downsize and get into a house that has no steps. She has a saying that goes: once you begin no longer doing steps (because that's the kind of house that you wanted) you stop being able to do steps. Then, we find that people like that are now exhausted because they no longer do steps every day. That reminds me of another client who lived on the north-side of La Crosse, Wisconsin. She lived until the ripe old age of 94, and her and her husband had this old, Victorian house. The bedroom was on the 3rd floor. Literally almost until the day she died, she would walk up the 3 flights of stairs to be able to go to bed at night. It's one of the ways that she remained engaged and physically active.


So, short-term morbidity or long-term morbidity: that really is your choice. Short-term morbidity usually works like this: you have a 90-year-old client and all of the sudden that person passes away and someone says:

“Did you hear about Bob?”

“No, what about Bob?”

“He died last Tuesday”

“You’ve got to be kidding me, because two weeks ago he was playing tennis!”


Short-term morbidity is staying active and staying engaged with your mind as opposed to long-term morbidity. That's the morbidity that we take years, maybe decades, as we slow down, and literally you can see the gravity pulling on the person until they're finally in the grave. So, I know WHAT you want. The WHAT is a full, enduring retirement. We know HOW to do it: remaining engaged and making sure that you're having as full of a life as possible, both mentally and physically. We also know the WHY. The why is: every single day you wake up, you want to make certain that you are having as full of a life as you possibly can.


When you meet with me and my team: know that we talk about the WHAT, we talk about the HOW, but the most important question in your life that we will ask is the WHY. Why do you want a full and enduring life?


If you can answer that, perhaps it's time to schedule your Financialoscopy. 

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