If my finances are pretty good, why do I feel so stuck?

Q: I don’t really have a money question for you; I guess I just need a new perspective and I hope you can have it. Life seems a bit bleak right now, with the war in Ukraine, homelessness in our community, and the COVID-19 crisis not over yet. On the other hand, I’ve managed to keep my job during the pandemic and have extra money because I’m spending less on items like live entertainment, dining, and gas to get to and from work. I even managed to pay off my student debt for the last two years and just made the final payment on my car loan. My little bungalow in Hamilton has gone up a lot in value, and I am so happy to live in this great city and country. If my finances are pretty good, why do I feel so stuck?

AN: Although I write about money for The Spectator and often discuss financial issues and estate planning strategies, money is simply a tool to help you create the life you want to experience. A new set of glasses may be all you need to change your point of view and I’m happy to let you borrow mine. Even better, let me offer a different perspective from someone I’ve never met.

My most recent life teacher is Dr. Edith Eva Eger. I just finished reading her book, The Choice: Embrace the Possible, and I’ve already decided it’s my favorite book of the year.

At 94 years old, Dr. Eger is a renowned practicing psychologist, great-grandmother, and also a Holocaust survivor. She was a 16-year-old Jewish Hungarian girl when she was taken to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during World War II. Her book taught me numerous life lessons, and maybe my sharing will do the same for you too.

She writes: “The Nazis could beat me, torture me or kill me, but they could never murder my spirit.” Even at Auschwitz, Eger believed that she could still choose how to live her life. She tells us that it is the choices we make that create and fulfill our lives!”

Standing in line to enter the concentration camp, Edith’s mother’s last words to her were: “Remember, no one can take away what you have put into your own mind.” Moments later, Edith was separated from her mother, never to be seen again. Eger says that her mother’s final message helped her survive Auschwitz, and she inspires me that I can live life to the fullest with what I put into my own mind.

Dr. Eger tells us not to waste her tragedy. Incredibly, she decided that Auschwitz was a gift to her, that it was an opportunity to choose. Surely we, too, can make the decision that life is not about what happens to us, but about what we do with the cards we’ve been dealt. Like Dr. Eger, I want joy, passion, and happiness in my life, and she tells us they can be achieved by embracing the possible.

After reading Dr. Eger’s book, I have a new perspective on life. Even in my darkest days, I have never experienced what this woman has been through. And by the grace of God, I can’t imagine I ever will.

I am also heartbroken by the war in Ukraine and I know that there are many social problems that require our care and compassion. And as terrible as the last two years have been in this global pandemic, I’ve learned that it’s not what happens to us that matters, but what we do with it.

Dr. Eger says: “The largest concentration camp is in our own minds and the key is in our pocket.” And this ends the lesson.

Thie Convery, RFP, CFP, CIM, FMA, FCSI, is a Wealth Advisor at Dundas, choosing a life of joy and knowing the key is in her own pocket. Her column appears biweekly in The Hamilton Spectator. Thie invites questions to TheSpecMoney@gmail.com or by visiting ConveryWealth.com.

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