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Jerry Citarella: Life is like a parade

Financial Truth

Posted: July 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Last week, as I was preparing our float for the annual Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July parade, I recalled one of my favorite quotes. It’s something I’ve reflected on many times, over many years. I actually have no idea who originally said it—or if, in fact, I made it up. Either way, I love what it says. I’ll use it as the basis for this column.

The quote I’m referring to here is, “We can’t all be in the parade. Some of us have to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” This quote is a great metaphor for acceptance, humility and our place in life. It teaches that instead of being jealous or critical, we should honor and congratulate those who achieve.

Most importantly, it helps us accept that others will have things we don’t have and that’s OK. We don’t have to compete; constantly trying to one-up everyone else. How many times have we been part of a conversation where no matter what we say, someone else feels the need to tell their story—which just happens to be a little bit better than our own?

Wouldn’t it be great if people could just say, “Wow, that was a great story,” and let us have our moment? They’ll have their moment to shine another time. It’s OK to clap for others and hopefully they’ll clap for you when it’s your turn. If you’re surrounded by people who won’t clap as you go by, maybe you’re in the wrong parade.

In life, we all have a chance to be in both the proverbial parade and standing on the curb. How we handle each of those moments defines who we are.

When you’re on the curb, do you look up with jealously or are you sincerely happy for the participants?

When you’re in the parade, do you look down at the people on the curb as if they’re beneath you? If you had the chance, would you ever let someone ride on your parade float or would you strive to keep others out of your spotlight?

In real life, our parade moments are not always obvious, but they are there. Some last a moment and others, a lifetime. How these moments are handled often defines people’s financial futures.

Many times I’ve discussed why some reasons people fail financially. One that’s relevant to this discussion is often referred to as, “keeping up with the Joneses.” I’ve mentioned it before. This concept simply refers to those who spend beyond their means; always trying to have things that are better or more expensive than the people around them. This never-ending battle leads nowhere. Let the Joneses be in the parade. You can sit a few out. Don’t risk your future making sure you’re also in every parade.

This year’s Independence Day is still fresh in our minds. Let’s all make a pact to become just that … independent; independent in our thinking, our actions and our goals.

Let’s worry about ourselves and our own needs rather than defining our lives by what others have or do. Ultimately, this will lead to something that gives people a feeling like no other … financial independence.

I assure you, I’ll do whatever I can to help you get to your parade and I’ll clap as you go by. Do the same for others. You’ll be better off for it.

Thank you to everyone who said hello at our annual Independence Day parade last week. We appreciated your waving as we went by. This was, as it is every year, a great community event and a wonderful way to start off our great country’s celebration of our independence.

Jerry Citarella is the owner of Infinity Wealth Management www.InfinityGoals.com. 23734 Valencia Blvd., Suite 301, Valencia, 661-255-9555, ext. 11. He is also the author of The Truth Helps Series of financial planning books. Mr. Citarella’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Submit questions to: jcitarella@nextfinancial.com. Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinity Wealth Management is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group Inc.

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