Timing is Everything

place Oct 28, 2021
Timing is Everything

Several years ago, I ran across an article by a prominent venture capital firm that analyzed key factors for successful investments in their portfolio. The results surprised them. Although, talent of the founding team, amount of money raised, and size of the market were all important, the most important factor was timing. In one instance, the firm invested significant dollars in a top-notch founding team to create streaming videos online and, yet, the company failed; a year later, YouTube was founded. Right team, right idea, wrong timing.

The adage that ‘timing is everything’ is an exaggeration but it does matter. In my life, timing has played a key role. My wife and I attended the same college at the same time. If we didn’t meet then, it’s unlikely that our paths cross. Our kids should be grateful! Were it not for the timing of the dot com bubble burst and where I was in my career and location, I likely don’t go back to business school and pivot into the field of longevity.

Timing matters significantly as we look to forge long, healthy and financially secure lives. We need to be students of timing in regard to both the environment around us and ourselves.


Florida is a popular destination for those relocating from other parts of the country


Timing of Place 

I caught up with a good friend earlier this week. About four years ago, he and his wife decided to relocate from New York to Florida. Considering the recent pandemic induced migration patterns, their move was ahead of the curve. Their decision to relocate was difficult as they both have deep family roots in the Empire state. Unlike prior generations, they believed that living in New York City, particularly given the high cost of living and their plans for a larger family, was more of an inhibitor than enabler for them to live the life they envisioned.

Fast forward to today. Their decision to change places has had a significantly positive impact on their well-being. Their family is thriving, their community is enriching, and they have developed an emotional connection to their place.

Some changes to place are predictable. Economic trends favor some places over others. Climate change puts some locations at risk. Debt and demographics influence growth. Other changes are unpredictable. Natural disasters strike. Economic crashes occur. Pandemics happen. 

Critical in our planning for a longer life is that place matters and places change. It means that we should be careful making unconditional commitments to a place. How we think of place ought to have some ability to change as circumstances change. This can happen in the macro (our area isn’t the place it used to be) and it can happen in the micro (our house is falling apart).


A new chapter for your kids may also mean a new chapter for you


Timing of Us 

While places change, so do we. Life is full of changes, including transitions which naturally raise questions about place. Examples of such transitions include launching kids into the world, changes in health, career changes, starting a new relationship or dissolving an existing one, and many more. 

Some changes are less obvious – at least to us. You meet with friends less often. Your daily walk shortens. Your memory begins to fade. It is important when such changes happen to think through the implications for place, rather than live in a state of denial.

Our social network can be instrumental in evaluating changes and mapping out next steps. It’s one of the reasons while having a robust, local set of friends is so important. Friends can often see what we can’t or don’t want to acknowledge.

If we ignore or are unaware of changes in life’s circumstances, it won’t insulate us from the risks. Lack of planning and unawareness of reality heighten the odds of being in the wrong place. There’s ample evidence that living in the wrong place negatively af­fects well-being. Often, aging in the right place can switch to aging in the wrong place if we’re not aware of the need to make a change.


Right Place, Right Time 

I have experienced the impact of timing as it relates to the release of Right Place, Right Time. I committed to write the book before the pandemic as place has always been a key driver in successful aging. However, COVID-19 changed people’s perspectives. It was a reminder that life can be fleeting, that place matters and many of us have more control than we may think to make decisions that help us thrive. The pandemic put a spotlight on place and heathy aging for millions of people. Now is as important a time as ever for people to make sure they are in the right place at the right time.



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