Monday, June 29, 2009

Life lessons from the passing of the King of Pop

It’s late Thursday afternoon. I’m busy finalizing today’s blogpost (yes, I usually write them a few days before I post them) – and my phone rings. On the other end is a good friend, almost gasping for air. Then, these words : “Sam, oh my God, oh my God, I’m so sad. Michael Jackson is dead.”

For those who might be wondering, yes! This is a financial blog. And you’ll agree by the time you’ve finished reading this post that there are important – financial – lessons here for everyone.

I am not qualified to discuss the King of Pop’s undoubtedly astronomical accomplishments or the brouhaha surrounding the world’s loss of a true musical genius, recipient of 13 Grammy Awards, the man behind “Thriller” – the best-selling album of all time – the biggest pop star on earth who dominated and shattered the musical charts and, in my opinion, the most famous face on Planet Earth. I’ll leave that for establishments like TMZ, MTV, CNN and the host of other entertainment news organizations – just Google Michael Jackson and you’ll find more than you could ever read.

My Take-Aways From This Historic Moment

Warning: These lessons may appear very elementary, but I recommend that you read all the way through to the end – because if I’m right, you will begin to see certain things differently. This might be a good example of that saying, “We all look, but only a few see.”

Back to the phone call with my friend on Thursday. It took me a few seconds to respond to the news. During those moments, this thought flashed across my mind: No way! It’s Michael Jackson! But at that very moment, I remembered these basic facts of life that I frequently teach my audiences:

  • First, we’ll all die someday – unless, of course, you have a special arrangement or have Terminator or android parts that make you superhuman.
  • Next, for the most part, we leave this earth at the most inconvenient time. Michael Jackson was preparing for a 50-show tour in London, with the first date slated for July 13th. And he was raising three young children. But most of us feel invincible, for the most part – don’t we? Death is something that happens to other people.
  • Then, whatever time we leave this planet will either be before or after we’ve retired. There is no third option.
  • As the saying goes, life is short. Therefore, we must focus our energies on the important things, rather than the urgent things. In other words, there’s a distinction: not all urgent things are important.
  • Above everything else, build strong family relationships, maintain high moral standards – no matter what, and give back to society in the form of your treasure, time, and talent.
  • And last, but certainly not least, maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid as much stress as possible. The only thing stress does is make you paralyzed about the very situation you’re stressed out about. Experiencing the feelings of anxiety, frustration, and indecision do not change a thing, so why stress out in the first place?

Elementary concepts? Well, maybe. But how many times have you really taken time to think about these ideas during your busy days, weeks, months, lives? Do you see how this story is related to your overall well-being? If someone-you care about depends on you financially, what would happen to them if the unthinkable should befall you? What kinds of plans do you have in place for burial, insurance, and the future?

Memories, Memories, Memories

Here are a few of Michael’s sensational music:








Michael Jackson, 1958–2009. May his soul rest in peace.


  1. Very interesting, even though it's elementary a lot of people missed this simple concept!

  2. Couldn't agree with you more. You are a great teacher as you always have a simple way of driving home your point. Alot of us simply go through life with that attitude of "I'm in charge and things will turn out as I plan" but thanks for your reality teaching.

  3. imagine anybody can get that call! we need to put things in place for our families so if we get that call the blow won't be that hard!

  4. From Janet Jackson Spoken words" to all of you he is an Icon to us he is Family" so sam you are absolutely right your #2 point-Build strong family relationships is the ultimate, now the highlight of Michael's death as been shifted to who gets legal guardianship of his children,and of course his Estates and wealth. I guess when we all die we will definetly be missed but the legacey we leave behind really seem to have a bigger impact. Great Blog!!!! Simone. MD.


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