How’s Your Memory?

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Maybe you know someone with an incredible memory. A few lucky people have what are called “autobiographical memories”. They can recall just about every detail about every day of their life. These people are rare, but they exist. Marilu Henner is an example.

Unfortunately, that’s not me. I am guessing it’s not you either. Most days I spent about 10 or 15 minutes trying remember where I put my car keys.

If you are age 50 or older, odds are you have some doubts about your ability to recall names or to recite a list of facts and figures. Remembering the names of people you meet at parties or events can be a major challenge. Recalling a list of items is next to impossible. Memorizing your passwords and log in information? Forget about it.

Too often we assume that we are stuck with the memories we have, with no ability to improve our memory skills and no control over what we perceive as an inevitable byproduct of getting older.

Now we are getting a little closer to something that sounds like me. Maybe you too.

But what if you could boost your memory recall by more than fivefold in less than 10 minutes?

What if I told you that you could recite from memory a list of 15 words and be able to remember it forward, backwards and every way in between? And what if you could recall this list perfectly with out traditional memorization techniques using nothing more than the God-given memory you are living with right now?

Like flipping a switch

At a recent client event called “The One Hour Memory Switch” workshop we did just that.

Matt Goerke, creator of The Memory Switch Program argues that there is no such thing as a bad memory just an untrained one. Using specific techniques anyone can develop better memory skills.

The tree list

At the beginning of the workshop Matt gave us a list of 15 words. He called it his “tree list”.

After giving us the words he asked how many we could recall in order. About 80% of the 100 or so people in attendance could recite between 0 and 2 words. A handful of savants were in the 3 to 5 range. I had four words, but the last two were completely wrong. Apparently, they were from a different list.

Less than 10 minutes later nearly everyone in the room was able to recite all 15 words on the list. The key was to associate each word with its number on the list. For example, the number “1” is tall and straight, like a tree. Hence, the name “Tree List”.

Using mnemonic devices and other skills Matt shared with us, we were able to recall the entire list less than 10 minutes after we started this exercise. Even as I write this, days later, I can recall the list forwards and backwards usually getting 14 of 15 on the list exactly right and in perfect order. If you went to this workshop, I bet you can too.

A strong memory late into life

Remembering names and reciting long lists can impress friends and be fun at parties, but the more important takeaway was that a good memory doesn’t have to decline as you age.

For most if us the key is to use it or lose it. Learning new skills such as a foreign language or a musical instrument, staying physically active, and the simple act of reading more can all contribute to improved memories and brain health.

Even doing ordinary, everyday things in a new way has been shown to improve a person’s cognitive abilities. Try taking alternate routes to work, performing daily activities with your left hand (if you are right-handed) and reducing your reliance on electronics forces your brain to work harder and create more pathways, stimulating and improving your memory along the way.

Learning new skills and memory techniques will also help. Matt offers a 17 lesson audio course that is available on his website, MemorySwitch.com. I purchased the program at Matt’s presentation and will review it in a future blog post.

At $250 it’s not inexpensive, but how much is it worth to develop a skill that saves time, adds to my bottom line or improves the quality of my life?

If I can learn how to remember my clients’ names when I see them around town or know their kids’ names and their birth order, or to be able to remember the names of people I meet when I do public presentations, it will be worth every penny.

Heck, if I could just remember where I put my car keys, I would be thrilled.

All Hands on Hope

Katey McCabe, and her son, Fritz (age 6), volunteering at the 2017 packing event for Feed My Starving Children.

Earlier this month I had the chance to participate in a MobilePack™ event at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview, MN. It’s become an annual tradition for me and my family.

Since I also make a monthly financial contribution to Feed My Starving Children on behalf of my clients, it’s also a great opportunity to see my investment at work, actively participate in this event and help assemble the packages of soy, rice, vitamins and veggies that will be distributed to children around the world.

The theme for this year’s event was “All Hands On Hope”. To paraphrase Pastor Gary Medin, Senior Pastor at Incarnation, if you contributed financially to this event or to the church’s capital campaign or volunteered to help assemble meals, you have a hand in making this possible.

To that I would add, if you are a client of mine, you too have had a hand in supporting the life giving work of Feed My Starving Children. Thank you for your continued support and for your part in making this event possible.

Below is a “repost” of an article I posted last year describing this event. This post has been updated with current stats and facts. 

Why Financial Planning Is An Act Of Love

3 ways your financial plan says "I love you"

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an estimated $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. With a little more than half of the American population participating in Valentine’s Day giving, that breaks down to about $143 per person.

While chocolates, candied hearts or a night out on the town can be great ways to express your love, I would argue that financial planning may be the ultimate act that says, “I love you and I care about you”.

Here’s why: 

Don’t Let These 5 Myths About Gifting Assets Stop Your Holiday Giving

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

As we approach the end of the year, you may be thinking of making a large financial gift to your children, grandchildren or others in your life.

Gifting strategies and the tax laws that create them can be confusing. Even as I write this, Congress is considering major legislation that could impact generational gifting for millions of Americans in the future.

Don’t let these 5 myths about gifting assets stop your holiday giving this year.

After 25 Years, This Is What I Am Thankful For

 

November 22nd, 1992.

That was my first official day as a financial planner. For several months, I had been working hard to get licensed, establish a network of contacts, and get set up to hit the ground running, but Wednesday, November 22, 1992 was my official first day on the job.

My manager generously allowed me to celebrate by taking the next day off. The fact that the next day was Thanksgiving and he wanted to spend it with his family, I am sure was just a coincidence.

Back then, the only days we had off were Sundays and major Federal holidays. The Friday after Thanksgiving was not one of them. So, on Friday the 24th I was back at it – or maybe I should say “at it” since I hadn’t really even gotten started yet.