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$mart Money - The whole person

Recently I was at the local hospitalgetting some routine tests done.The hospital has one of those little "TakeA Number" machines that lets you knowwho is next in line for service.

Recently I was at the local hospitalgetting some routine tests done.The hospital has one of those little "TakeA Number" machines that lets you knowwho is next in line for service.

Shortly after my tests, probably at atime when I had multiple people wantingme to tackle multiple tasks, all of whichneeded my immediate attention, I toldmy wife that I need one of those Take ANumber machines. Get the kids dressed?No problem, take a number. Feed thepets? No problem, take a number. Packthe truck? No problem, take a number

All of us are busy people, and in ourbusy lives it is difficult to juggle all of thevarious things that compete for our time.It's easy to get too focused on certainareas of our life, such as work, andneglect other areas, such as family.

This is nothing new, however.

The Million Dollar Round Table is afinancial industry organization that wasformed in 1927, and is billed as ThePremier Association of FinancialProfessionals. Back in 1961, a philosophernamed Dr. Mortimer Adler introducedthe Whole Person concept to theMDRT .

The objective of the Whole Person conceptis to lead a balanced lifestyle, whichleads to peace of mind, increased productivity,and a sense of personal and professionalfulfillment. It's also the foundationfor ongoing happiness, loving family relationships,strong friendships, self-confidence,and good health. Not to mentionfinancial security, which is how it ties intothis column.

Dr. Adler suggests that there are sevenelements to living a balanced lifestyle.

The first category is relationships,where the goal is to be able to spendmeaningful time with your spouse andchildren, family and friends. Here are afew questions to give you an idea howwell you might be doing here: Do youinclude time with your family and friendsinto your daily and weekly structure? Doyou give your family and friends your fullattention by turning off your cell phone /BlackBerry / iPod, etc. when you are withthem? Do you talk regularly with yourfamily members about what you can doto be a more loving spouse / parent /etc.?

The next category is health and, comingfrom a guy who took his health forgranted for the first half of his life, thisis one that you need to pay attention to.The goal is to maintain a sound mindand body through a well-balanced diet,regular exercise, and lifestyle choicesconducive to physical and mental well being.Do you invest at least 30 minutesin cardiovascular exercise three times perweek? Do you eat well-balanced meals,and exercise moderation in sweets andother snacks? Do you smoke? Do youcontrol alcoholic consumption?

Education is the next category, withthe objective of enriching a person's lifethrough continual intellectual development.Do you read, study, or attend classes?Do you have a passion for learning?Do you keep electronic entertainmentsuch as television and Internet use inmoderation?

Your career is an important element ofhaving a balanced lifestyle, but having arewarding career is not the same thing asspending a lot of time at work. You canstrive to be more productive, to enhanceyour professional esteem, to pursueincreased knowledge, and to contributeto industry and professional organizations.You might also seek to improve thecareers of fellow professionals throughmentorship and leading by example. Doyou invest time and other resources in thedevelopment of my intellectual resources?Is increased productivity a component ofyour personal and professional developmentplan? Have you created and regularlyreview your business and successionplan?

Service is a rewarding component of abalanced life. Do you contribute "handson"time, including energy and leadership,and financial resources tocommunity organizations, educationalinstitutions, government, civic and charitableorganizations, and other worthwhileendeavors?

Dr. Adler suggests that a spiritual componentis also an important componentof living a balanced life. Strong personalbeliefs can be fostered through spendingtime each day reflecting on or readinginspiring materials. Are you passionateabout living a life that reflects your strongpersonal values?

Finally, a crucial section of a balancedlife is the financial component. Being incontrol of your finances means that yourfinances don't control you, and thatallows you to spend important time onthe other aspects in your life. Do you livewithin your means? Do you enjoy andshare the fruits of your labor? Do youplan and implement programs for the creation,accumulation and preservation ofcapital consistent with the stages of yourlife? Do you have written financial goals?

Each week in this column I write aboutmoney, but don't forget that money isjust one component of the whole person.

The balanced lifestyle is somethingthat I struggle with sometimes myself.Even now is a bit of an example. It's currently2:00 am as I am putting thistogether. But I also took my kids to thepetting zoo, went for a motorcycle ridewith my wife, and played some golf withmy Dad.

It was a good day.

The opinions expressed are those ofBrad Brain, CFP, R.F.P. CLU, CH.F.C., FCSI.Brad Brain is a Certified Financial Plannerwith Manulife Securities Incorporated,Member CIPF and with Manulife SecuritiesInsurance Agency in Fort St John, BC.Brad Brain can be reached at brad.brain@manulifesecurities.ca or www.bradbrainfinancial.com.

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