6 People to Keep Close: Managing Your Life and Relationships

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If you haven’t figured it out yet, making your way through life is all about relationships and keeping, quoting a cheesy Sun Tzu, your friends close and your enemies closer!  Personally, I don’t like having dinner with enemies, including my old grammar school bullies, mean spirited high school teachers, and the grumpy South American whom I occasionally purchase my coffee from in the morning, so I concentrate on my friends. 
In turn, here are 6 people I would recommend you trying really hard to get along, and build relationships, with (I’m assuming you keep your wife or husband close!):

1. Attorney
Unfortunately, we live in very litigious world and having someone who advocates for your legal well being is paramount.  Go out to dinner with your attorney at least once a year and buy him a nice bottle of wine at Christmas.  You never know when you you’ll need legal service or advice and being able to call your lawyer at any moment is a nice security blanket.
2. Doctor
You’re going to get old and break down – this is a fact.  If you’re in your mid twenties or early thirties you may feel like a raging bull, but once 40 comes, things can start to go down hill.  So, find a young doctor and grow old with him or her.  Get a check up every two years if you are young and certainly every year if you’re getting on in years.  
3. Accountant 
I don’t advocate doing your own taxes.  I know most smart folks can do their own returns, but they’re missing out on an opportunity for an expert to look at their financial situation.  A good accountant can offer advice on finances and provide insight on tax law/strategy.  Sure, there is a cost involved, but I think the idea that one is optimizing their tax status via a professional outweighs the cost.   
4. Mechanic
Yes, it’s cheaper to own a reliable vehicle over an 8-10 year period versus leasing a vehicle every 3 years.  Most folks who do not buy cite maintenance and repair issues; however, if you know a good mechanic and treat him well, then he’ll be sure to do quality work and maybe even anticipate problems with your vehicle (stay away from costly dealerships as most of their profit comes via parts and service and not sales).  So, find a good mechanic and stick with him (bring the vehicle to him for oil and filter changes even if it’s cheaper at your local Jiffy-Lube)
5. Mother/Father
How often do you see your parents?  Do you have dinner with your father and mother at least once a month?  Parents can provide an abundance of advice, comfort, and love.  If you’ve moved far away from your parents, have you considered moving back?  For thousands of years most families lived relatively close to each other to leverage the service, advice, and resources of each individual in the family.  Why has this changed, especially in the US?
6. Boss / Industry / Employees
Whatever you do for a living and whether you have a boss, are self employed, or own a company, you should keep the people in your profession close to you.  If you work for someone, then make sure you’re building a relationship with your boss so they can be your advocate in the organization.  If you own your own business and have employees, then making your employees happy will make them more productive.  If you’re a brilliant entrepreneur, then keeping close friends in the industry your’re involved in is critical. 
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8 Comments

  1. Good post, Vince. What you’re saying is practical and also builds community. I like it!

  2. This is a fine list of people to keep near to you. For most people, an estate planning attorney will be your biggest help. Drafting wills, the probate process, family law, and maybe real estate contracts are the biggest legal needs of your average family.
    One I would add — spiritual counsel. Many of us have pastors or priests and all, but in bigger church settings, it’s very helpful to have a close confidant that can serve as a spiritual mentor of sorts — not quite best friend, not quite figurehead of the church.
    I know when I am in a time of crisis or experience lack of confidence, I have 2 or 3 people I seek out to give me a Biblical or spiritual perspective.

  3. @Alison Thanks! Community is so important; I’m hoping with the “back to basics” movement (given the economic downturn) community will re-surface as an important attribute in every day life!
    @Jason Yes, if spirituality is important in a given person’s life then I would certainly add him/her to the list! Good point.
    Vince

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  5. Great post. #5 is particularly difficult for me – as both my parents are no longer here. Take the time, folks – trust me!

  6. Thanks! Yes, it’s so important to stay close to family. I still don’t fully realize why there’s an inherent instinct for Americans to leave the nest / family once they turn 18 (I agree one must be independent, but there’s a middle road where you can be close to your parents and still maintain your own, independent, life).
    Best,
    Vince Scordo

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