The three key areas of wellbeing

I remember the first time a client shared with me that they received the news of a cancer diagnosis. I was about to dive into our typical review meeting agenda when I was blindsided by this bombshell. Reviewing the “numbers” was in my comfort zone, so when the cancer news was disclosed, it certainly rattled me. Suddenly, all the analysis, planning, and portfolio information didn’t mean a thing at that moment. We talked about their treatment plan, their optimism in fighting back, and how their loved ones have already been stepping up to support them. Eventually, we reviewed their financial situation, and how the diagnosis has affected our planning. As we concluded the meeting, the client shared with me how they felt a little more at peace.

This meeting was more personally impactful than any in the past. It helped me realize that even though our true expertise lies in helping our clients achieve optimal financial health, we so often find ourselves in situations where finances weave into our clients’ physical and mental health. Optimal wellbeing lies in the balance between financial, physical, and mental health.

While there are approximately 5,375 books written on the topic of wellbeing, we’d like to touch on some of the most important considerations in achieving a proper balance.

Financial Health

Good financial health centers on creating the abundance and flexibility you need to achieve all your realistic life goals. In its simplest terms, it’s having enough money to do the things you want. It’s having the resources to create experiences and memories with family and friends. It’s building enough wealth to allow you to create a stable stream of future cash flow. It’s saving enough to allow for community contribution through charitable giving. This is achieved quite simply (but not necessarily easily) through awareness, discipline, and a proper plan for savings and spending. It’s also important to understand that money is just a tool to achieve good financial health, much like a treadmill can help achieve good physical health.

Physical Health

A client recently shared with me his venture into teaching taekwondo to senior citizens. As a result of his teachings, he has noticed a significant improvement in the all-around physical health of his students. As a middle-aged father of two who has started my own journey into the world of martial arts, I have become acutely aware of the components of good physical health. This includes good balance and stability, maintaining a healthy weight, and making sure to carve out enough time in the day for relaxation and sleep. Oh, and being mindful that we are moving and stretching throughout the day can’t hurt! The best diet, exercise program, and approach to sleep is the one you can follow, consistently. While the age-old expression tells us that father time remains undefeated, we can set ourselves up to at least stay in the battle with minimal scars.

Mental Health

What has historically been thought of as a taboo subject is beginning to become more ingrained in the vernacular of today’s society. While we have much more groundwork to cover, the awareness of good mental health is gaining momentum. While I don’t claim to be mental health professional, I do have the unique opportunity to witness how our clients create fulfillment in their lives. Studies have shown that the greatest factor in people’s happiness and mental wellbeing is the strength of their relationships with family, friends, and community. We observe this as clients share the joy of traveling with family and friends, being part of clubs and other affinity groups, and spending time with their community of neighbors and those in need. We also notice there is a tight bond between wellness and carving out time for spirituality.

The road to wellbeing is often one with many twists and turns and isn’t always as straightforward and neatly laid out as in the paragraphs above. However, if we strive to be mindful of its components, it could set us in the right direction.

As for our client with the cancer diagnosis, he was lucky enough to live to fight another day. Through discipline and awareness, he put himself in a financial position to handle the burdens of the cost of treatment. He arrived at the diagnosis in particularly good physical health, which gave him the strength to put up a hell of a fight. Finally, he had support from loved ones and community throughout the cancer journey. While it is unfortunate that most cancer diagnoses won’t lead to remission, our client’s journey certainly demonstrated the power of achieving wellbeing and the peace of mind that can flourish in its proper balance.

Headshot of Dan A. Barnett, CFA

Dan A. Barnett, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager, Principal

Johnson Investment Counsel is a Goering Center sponsor, and the Goering Center is sharing this content as part of its monthly newsletter, which features member and sponsor articles.

About the Goering Center for Family & Private Business

Established in 1989, the Goering Center serves more than 400 member companies, making it North America’s largest university-based educational non-profit center for family and private businesses. The Center’s mission is to nurture and educate family and private businesses to drive a vibrant economy. Affiliation with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati provides access to a vast resource of business programing and expertise. Goering Center members receive real-world insights that enlighten, strengthen and prolong family and private business success. For more information on the Center, participation and membership visit

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