In my previous experience working in wealth management with individual private clients, the focus of my role was providing advice on investments to help people reach their personal and retirement goals. However, most often I would find that people had no idea what those goals were, what they were looking to achieve or when they wanted to achieve it. They simply wanted to make money, to build wealth, even at the expense of their health, caught in that cycle of working more to earn more.
Overall, in my ten odd years working in the investment industry, advising on financial markets, I can say for certain that the most undervalued commodity in this world is our health. It is only when we are faced with injury or illness in our lives, be it our own health or that of loved ones, do we wake up to this fact. Even then that moment of clarity can be fleeting as life moves on.
For me, financial planning is just one part of a balanced life plan, a plan that should incorporate preemptive measures for managing one’s health. Perhaps, if we approached health in a more proactive way, it might prompt more open discussion with doctors and also our loved ones who might be struggling with health issues. In an ideal world, our health system would facilitate a detailed personal health plan for every individual, with regular check ups to ensure they remain on track. Let’s face it, nobody likes going to the doctor, it is an anxiety fueling experience from start to finish.
On a personal level it can also be difficult to talk about health issues with the people you care about. Irish people are known for the craic; we’re generally seen as quite outgoing, friendly and always up for the chat. However, when it comes to the serious stuff our coping mechanism tends to be more inward. I’ve been lucky enough to travel and live in different countries and it seems to me to be more of an Irish trait that we prefer not to talk about the elephant in the room, be it health or other personal matters.
In that vein, I have been looking for other ways than talking to show support for someone very close to my heart, who has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Last weekend, I came up with the idea to organise a charity climb of Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry, in aid of the Association of Parkinson’s Ireland, the national support and advocacy charity for Parkinson’s in Ireland. While Carrauntoohil would be dwarfed by the likes of Everest, it is still the highest peak in Ireland at 1039 metres, and for myself and my friends who will make the climb – with little climbing experience – it will represent a challenge.
In the process we hope to also raise awareness about Parkinson’s, the need for further resources to be allocated to research into new and more efficient treatments and also into services dedicated to helping those that have been impacted by this condition. Finally, something I found inspiring was the reason behind why the Association of Parkinson’s Ireland chose the Aspen leaf logo as a symbol of Parkinson’s: “the Aspen leaf trembles even on a still day but the branches and trunk of the tree are sturdy and strong”.
If you would like to support this great cause, you can donate online via our fundraising page: www.mycharity.ie/event/ReachingthePeaktoTakeonParkinson’s As well, company sponsors can have their logo placed on the Aspen leaf flag we plan to raise at the peak!