The most important investment you can make?

Saving money is awesome. Saving a life is better.
The post The most important investment you can make? appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

Before we start, a heads-up. This isn’t about investing.

It’s far more important.

(There’s a tiny investing-related bit at the end. But if you’re only here for the investing stuff, that’s cool. We’ll resume normal transmission next time.)

Instead, today, I want to share something with you.

A few months ago, regular readers might recall, my family and I were fortunate enough to just beat lockdown, and get away on holidays before restrictions commenced.

I didn’t talk much about it at the time, because I was sensitive about the fact that many were on the other side of that luck, and many holidays had to be cancelled.

It would have been bad form to rub peoples noses in my good fortune and their bad.

We drove through the Flinders Ranges, up to Innamincka, across south-western Queensland and back down through north-western NSW before returning home. 

What I didn’t mention, at the time or subsequently, is that I got a call while I was away.

I’m not a believer in karma, fate, or a higher power, but I got a call from my mother while we were topping up our groceries — during the only hour we’d have mobile reception during the last — or next — few days.

The news was bad. My brother-in-law, Adam, was having chest pains, and Mum was heading to their place to look after the kids. My sister had called an ambulance, just in case.

I was worried, but hopeful.

We continued doing our shopping, while I waited, apprehensive, for more news.

Mum called back.

Her voice was shaky. And — in an unintentional phrasing that would have made a soap opera cliffhanger proud, she gave me the news.

“They lost him in the ambulance…”

Oh, s**t. (I thought worse, but you get the drift)

Then a pause that was probably a fraction of a second, but felt like forever, followed by:

“… but they managed to revive him and he’s at the hospital.”

The chronologically correct, but unfortunate, way she delivered the news was a three act play.

I went from devastation, to elation, and back to concern.


It turns out that he’d had a cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to hospital. The paramedics had to pull the ambulance over and start resuscitation.

Adam says all he remembers is chatting with one of the ambos, then the next minute waking up with one of them on his chest, giving him CPR.

Had he not suggested my sister call an ambulance, he may well not be with us today.

Had she driven him to hospital, instead, he probably would have had that heart attack in the passenger seat, half way there.

He was lucky. But more than that, he was smart. He did exactly the right thing. 

More on that in a bit.


Alive and breathing was better than not! But he wasn’t out of the woods.

We were a couple of thousand kilometres away. Sydney was going into lockdown, anyway, so there wasn’t much we could have done even if we were home.

I can’t remember much more of the rest of that shopping trip. I think I contacted my sister, but I’m not sure.

And then we were off, out of mobile range, again.

I didn’t sleep very well that night.

Concern, guilt, worry.

I couldn’t have helped, from there, even if I’d wanted to. All I could do was wait and hope that the next day, when I was going to drive to the nearest mobile reception, the news would be good.

But it was a long night.

And the closer I got to mobile signal the next day, the worse the feeling was.

Which, obviously, pales into insignificance compared to how my sister and their kids were feeling.

A small blessing came in the form of an SMS before I had the chance to call anyone.

He was recovering well.

I called my mother, then my sister.

They still needed to do more tests, and he wasn’t out of the woods, but his condition was improving, and the medicos seemed optimistic.

Over the next week or so, we’d go in an out of mobile range, and I got updates.

The news — thankfully — kept getting better. Eventually, he was released from hospital and went home to his family, to rest and recover.

The even better news is that he’s now made a full recovery, and is back at work as a paramedic.

We are all beyond stoked to have him still with us. 

Unfortunately, COVID has meant we still haven’t been able to be in the same place, since, but we’re looking forward to catching up in a couple of weeks.

It is, of course, his story. Not mine.

But I’m fortunate, by dint of my role and my employer, to be able to help people improve their financial lives. It’s my day job.

This time, though, I’m going to use that privilege to hopefully help save a life.

As I mentioned, above, Adam is a paramedic (and a bloody good one). On Saturday, he appeared on The Today Show (he’s the tall bloke on our right) with the ambos who saved his life, to share his story, as part of an effort to get more Australians to learn CPR.

You can click here, or on the image below to watch the segment.

One Sydney paramedic is used to saving lives, but could never have imagined it would be his own team to rescue him. #9Today

— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) October 15, 2021

(Turns out one of the paramedics who saved his life – the bloke on the left – was someone who Adam had trained. He did good!)

Normally, I’d be encouraging you to save. To invest. To manage your temperament. And more.

Today, I want to encourage you to do something else.

Have you done a First Aid course? When was the last time you did a refresher?

When was the last time you brushed up on your CPR skills?

Would you know what to do, if a family member, friend or stranger had a heart attack right next to you?

Those of us who’ve been in lockdown are making lists of what we’re going to do once restrictions lift.

Should you put ‘Do a First Aid course’ or ‘Learn CPR’ on your list?

I have.

I’ve done a number of First Aid courses in the past. I’ve learned CPR and earned my Bronze Medallion as a surf lifesaver. But it’s been a while since I brushed up.

I’m not going to just assume it’ll come back to me. I’ll be doing a refresher as soon as I’m able.

Can I ask you to do the same?

I asked Adam for permission to share his story. Characteristically, he was more than happy for me to do so, hoping it would help others:

“That is totally fine,” he said, “the more people who are aware, the better”.

And he added: 

“I guess the key message behind the story would be:

1. Early CPR (compressions)
2. Early defibrillation (the AED devices that are increasingly everywhere these days)
3. Call 000”

I hope you never need to use that information.

But I hope that, if you do, it’ll help you do your best to potentially save a life.

That’s an investment (I told you I’d come back to it) worth making.

Fool on!

The post The most important investment you can make? appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Scott Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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