In this age of acronyms, one of the best I’ve heard is QTL.  Quality Time Left.  A friend of mine who was recently celebrating the 29th anniversary of his 31st birthday (my backhanded way of saying he turned 60) introduced me to the concept of QTL.  During this summer season, whether you are traveling or enjoying a quiet evening at home, I hope you will pause to reflect on what QTL you expect in your life and the lives of those close to you.  QTL is an unknown, and we all hope to enjoy many more summer days.  However, the reality is that tomorrow is promised to no one.

One focus in life that I believe leads to a greater level of contentment is a “right” relationship with our finances.  “Money isn’t everything, but it’s right up there with oxygen” (a quote attributed to Rita Davenport) makes me laugh every time!  As unique individuals, we all have different views and expectations of our lives, our careers and what’s important today.  And while our paths are unique, I believe there are foundational principles that we should all consider.  One foundational principle is stewardship, which is defined as the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.  How are you going to take care of the people and responsibilities in your life?  Will you have this responsibility for the next 30 days or the next 30 years?  What responsibilities are truly worth your effort? 

A fun personal example is the fishing trip my sons and I are taking to Port O’Connor before they head off to college later this month.  As a father, I know that my quality time with these young men is going to diminish as they pursue their own dreams.  It’s a bittersweet part of life.  I’m also grateful that my wife and I have had the opportunity to save for our sons’ education.  Neither of these things happened by chance. Having a focus on relationships allowed us to take actions that reflect our values.  This is, in my opinion, our calling in life.

Your contemplation on QTL does not require travel to a mountaintop or hours of meditation.  Simply take time wherever you are to clarify what’s important to you.  The back patio is one of my favorite places for this.  Take a moment and ask yourself who and/or what is most important in your life.  When questions and doubts surface, gently set them aside for a later time.  Simply focus on what’s important to you.  That’s the first step and the most critical.  Being impulsive rarely leads to good outcomes.  Keller and Papasan’s book “The One Thing” is an excellent book that might be a good resource for you in this area.

When you focus on what matters, it can free you to take responsible actions.  It can also reduce the drag and worry of the vast, meaningless amount of garbage being peddled to us via technology.  It’s a daily struggle for me, and I suspect everyone else as well.  Having solid relationships and a stewardship attitude towards finances has helped me personally. I hope it will help you have a better relationship with your finances.  We all have only so much QTL!  Use it well. 

Have a great, safe, and fun summer!