On February 1, 2000, I began a journey to an unknown destination. On this day twenty years ago, I opened my elder care law office. If you were to tell me twenty years later we would expand to six offices in NJ and PA, employ thirty team members, including five attorneys and six geriatric social workers, establish groundbreaking elder care symposiums in NJ & PA, receive numerous awards and recognition for our firm’s advocacy for seniors, and teach other attorneys across the United States how to engage in legal advocacy for seniors, I would not have believed it.
Last month, I had the privilege of speaking to 225 eighth-grade middle school students in Evesham Twp., NJ at the school’s annual career day. Our client’s daughter is the principal of the middle school, and she asked me to provide some life lessons to the students. I discussed the advice given by Jack Bogle, the late great founder of The Vanguard Group, the largest mutual fund company in the world. Prior to Jack’s passing in January 2019, he was asked by a reporter what advice would he give to his children to live a long, happy, honorable life. Jack Bogle gave the reporter the following advice:
1) Don’t forget your family, as family should always come first.
2) Be a decent human being, and never let material possessions become the measure of your life.
3) Never forget the important role of luck in your life because no one ever does it all by themselves.
4) Never give up on your idealism. Each time you get knocked down, you come back stronger.
5) Pay attention to your life, as it would be a shame to experience sadness, happiness, success and failure, only then to have it all vanish.
I hope I have heeded Jack Bogle’s advice over the past twenty years. I want to thank my parents for instilling in me the value of giving back to others. I want to thank my wife, Erica and our five children for always being there at the end of each day, knowing I can come home to their love and support. Thank you for making me a better person each and every day.
I have had the opportunity to be surrounded by great people over the years, within both my personal and professional life. Our elder care law firm’s staff is amazing and it is a privilege to work side by side with such compassionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated individuals. It is absolute joy to come to work each day to assist clients and their families in an area of the law that I love.
To all our past and current clients, and all those professionals we have had the privilege of working with, thank you for your trust in us during the past twenty years. We have much to learn from seniors and those with disabilities, and they have much to share. It has been an honor and privilege assisting seniors, the disabled, and their families.
We have accomplished a great deal together during our first twenty years. But what matters most now is what we do next. The future of elder care law lies with transforming this practice area from Medicaid asset-focused planning to an integrated care management model that elevates the elder client’s quality of life and care above all other aims of the planning process.
Twenty years ago I began a journey to an unknown destination. This journey has provided me more personal and professional fulfillment than I ever could have imagined. The journey will continue.