Future proofing your life

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

Whoever crafted the term “Future Proofing” certainly came up with a gem of a phrase. In practical applications, “future proofing” is equivalent to the old adage of “saving for a rainy day” or investing today in order to reap benefits at a much later date or in the “future” when we might no longer be able or capable of being productive, physically, mentally or financially. Future proofing has very wide applications and some of them are related to financial planning, health insurance, pre-need coverage for eventualities such as education plan or memorial plans, continuing physical fitness program and spiritual focus on God.

While the world emphasizes wealth and financial security, there are enough pointers in the Bible that tell us that our focus should be more on health and relations with God first, while accumulating wealth. If you read up on the story of King David in the Bible, there is an episode where David the fugitive and his rebel group provided protection for the flocks of a rich man named Nabal. David then solicits some logistical support from the guy but instead of showing his appreciation, Nabal rudely dismisses David’s men, which throws David into a fit of rage and a plan to slaughter everything and anyone they find in Nabal’s property.

Fortunately, Nabal’s wife Abigail is informed of the incident and the impending disaster, so Abigail sets out to deliver reparations and appease David. A couple of days later, Abigail informs Nabal what she had to do to prevent their slaughter. Upon hearing this, Nabal goes into shock, probably caused by a major stroke and dies a few days later. Given that Nabal was portrayed as a boozer and a glutton, it would be safe to say that he lived luxuriously from the fat of the land, was fat, was nasty and then he died because he was so out of shape and had become a ticking time bomb. When was the last time you went for a medical check-up?

In the time of Christ, he gave a parable that Luke wrote of about a rich farm owner who had a bumper crop so large it would not fit in his barns. So the guy decides he would tear down his existing barn and build a much larger barn, store all the harvest and all his goods and said to his soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” Have you done your estate planing, written a will or slowly subdivided whatever?

Going back to the story of King David, his arch enemy Saul did everything in his power to ensure the continuity of his lineage on the throne that he was willing to kill any threat to him or his son Jonathan, who was David’s best friend. Saul spent months if not years devoting himself to the demise of David. Sadly, all that time, effort, resource and hatred was a waste because Saul and his son Jonathan died together fighting their enemies, the Philistines. Have you been too focused on perceived threats or fears and overlooked something that can really do damage to you professionally, legally or from nature?

So, as you focus on “future proofing,” better make sure you are in good health, that your current circumstance will surely allow your continued presence and role in matters and, not the least, that whatever you are doing is clearly aligned with the character and directions of God.

On a more earthly matter, it may be a smart thing to invest in your human relations early in life. Having joined the aging population of the Philippines, I now hear more and more parents lamenting the fact that their children did not follow after their footsteps or don’t seem to appreciate all the investments, wealth or security they as parents have built up through the years. Many friends have expressed sadness and regret that their children have not taken any interest in their expensive hobbies or businesses. The worst comes at the final stage when those children move away or begin to treat them with indifference or obligated care and not with love or respect. Again the Bible warns us through St.Paul (1 Cor. 13). You can be the best communicator, the wisest among the wise, you can do all the corporate social responsibility projects and PR but if in reality you are not a loving person, if you do not do things out of love but for profit or publicity, you amount to nothing.

Proverbs teaches us to bring up a child the way he should go and he will not depart from it. But if we do not do it with love, do not involve them, if there is no joy and you pay more attention to the things and the plans, don’t be surprised to discover that all you’ve achieved is to displace your human relationships. That is why children who are showered with material things as replacement therapy by absentee parents generally grow up not appreciating things. Many hardcore car enthusiasts I know who are in their 70s have started selling their cars because their children did not grow up learning and enjoying those collectible cars that their dad spent so much time and money on.

While we’re on the subject of future proofing human relations, many elderly persons presume they will croak first. But what happens if your child or someone who is not supposed to die before you actually does prematurely? We are not promised tomorrow, there is no contractual agreements on our sequence of departure and we don’t take anything with us. Yes, you can save, you can plan, but the best of all is to love and have a LIFE!!!

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