Auschwitz to Australia: Are you complaining about the 'lucky country'?

I want to start this article with a confession. I am 45 and I am the managing director of a successful financial services business. I’m not retired and I don’t know how it feels to be retired yet. That said, I have spent my entire career helping people with financial decisions. I have spoken to and seen great successes and great failures with money. Like everyone, I have experienced the ups and downs of making ends meet. Still, if the truth be told, I am doing OK.

So when I write these articles, I do so with the best of intentions and with the firm knowledge that I am yet to be in your shoes. I don’t know how it feels but I am keen to listen and learn. What I can tell you is that I genuinely care. I am passionate about helping people and offer up my opinions humbly and hope that it can help the community. Anyway, do you think we are lucky?

My dad was fascinated with the Great Wars and aviation. We spent our childhood listening to stories, going to historic airshows and watching war movies. I am sure that Dam Busters was my favourite. Like many people, I became fascinated with understanding the brutality of WWII and in particular the systematic genocide perpetrated at the hands of the Nazis. In 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to Poland and visit Krakow, Auschwitz and Birkenau. This past month marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this camp.

A great friend of mine suggested that I read a book before the trip in order to gain some perspective. The book was Dr Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl had survived a number of labour camps including Auschwitz/Birkenau due only to his value to the Nazis as a doctor. Frankl had the very rare experience of observing human nature for an extended period under the absolute worst of conditions; fear and violence, systematic starvation, atrocious sanitary and sleeping conditions and death all around.

Ad. Article continues below.

When I finished the book I realised I had gained more perspective on life, not just on Auschwitz.

I came home from that trip and everything in Australia looked better than when I had left. Everything.

Frankl’s message was simple and powerful, that a person is not defined by what happens to them but how they choose to respond.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” – Victor E. Frankl

The book is full of very powerful messages and I would recommend it to anyone.

Ad. Article continues below.

My point is that when it comes to money and what you have, be it large or small, a little perspective goes a long way. We live in a country of freedom that, at the absolute least, provides for a level of health care and social security for all. Now it may not be perfect, and I’m not suggesting that it is, but if you open your eyes to the world both past and present, I would challenge you to explain to someone how we aren’t the lucky ones.

If you still aren’t happy then ask for help. Australia has many avenues that you can reach out to in order to get financial advice. We are in the job of helping people and we love what we do.

Don’t just sit around waiting to be lucky, make a choice to get lucky. It’s all at your fingertips.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Victor E. Frankl

 

Do you feel we are the lucky country? Do have more than you need or are you struggling? Tell us below.