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Life, Learning, and Planning: Words of Wisdom for the Class of 2021

Posted by Joel Beck | May 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Joel Beck here. 2021 marks another year that I was not invited to any campus to deliver a commencement speech to the graduating class. Not one to be deterred by the lack of an invitation, let me now share the gist of what I would have said, had I been asked to speak. I do believe that there is a message here worth sharing. Perhaps you will believe that too.

“Thank you very much for that warm introduction. It is indeed an honor to be here. And let me first say congratulations to the class of 2021! You've certainly persevered through various trials and challenges to reach this milestone. Congratulations to each of you and to your families. 

Now, let's get down to some points that will matter in your life as you go forward from this place – whether going off to college, to technical school, entering the military or jumping right into the work force. Regardless of the path you take, there are some universal truths that will apply to your situation.

First, if you want to live a fulfilled life, serve others in your community. Find some way to use your skills, your talents, or your passions to help those around you. You'll find that to be rewarding, and you'll no doubt leave an impact on others.

Second, just because you've graduated from high school, that does not mean your education stops. You must keep learning. The world will keep changing, and you're going to need to keep up. So, pick up a book and read, take classes, study things on your own, and keep learning. The knowledge you gain will help you advance and excel in whatever you choose to pursue.

Third, life is not lived online. The world is not like your social media bubble where everyone is just like you. Instead, there are folks out there who think and see the world differently than you do right now, and you will soon find yourself out amongst the crowd. Engage with them. Discuss and share ideas—in a civil and respectful manner. No name calling. No canceling someone because they are not just like you. Think, learn, and grow, and you just might make some friends, and solve a few problems in our communities and world. 

Finally, know that you are capable of more than you think you are. It's natural to have some doubts and fears, and it may be hard to believe in yourself on occasion. Fight against that. Put in the work, learn, grow, devise a reasonable plan, and go for it. Have some confidence and bet on yourself. That's how you will go out and change the world for the better. 

Congratulations to the class of 2021. I can't wait to see where you go from here!”

Now, one more thing before you go. If you're a recent grad, or the parent of one, you need to know this: once you're 18, you're an adult in the eyes of the law, and mom and dad don't have the same rights to automatically handle everything for you. You are legally in charge of your own affairs, including your healthcare. Therefore, it is important for young adults to implement some planning for themselves, to prepare for the “what if?” moments that might arise.

What if you become ill or injured and can't manage your healthcare?

What if you are incapacitated and can't manage your finances and personal business affairs?

Sadly, each year we hear of horror stories where young adults wind up in a bad position while away at school. Because the student has done no planning, their parents are unable to make medical decisions and manage finances and the like due to privacy laws and other restrictions. During an already stressful situation, parents are left scrambling to find a way to care for their child.

Consumer Reports has discussed this important issue in this article, noting the importance of ensuring that college aged students have in place a medical directive (called the Advance Directive for Healthcare in Georgia) and a durable power of attorney. A little planning now can make some bad situations a lot easier should they arise later. See this blog post and video for more information on these important Georgia documents.

We want to give you and your student peace of mind as they leave the nest, so we're offering a new grad special this summer through the end of August 2021. We will prepare an advance directive for healthcare and durable power of attorney for new grads for $275, representing a $25 savings from current rates. For more information or to start the process, call us at 678-344-5342 or message us through

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


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