Katrina memoirs have become so ubiquitous, they have almost become their own genre. Everyone has a story to tell, and rightly so. Brad Fortier, a 38 year-old financial and estate planner, has told his in a new book, Dear Kate: Reflections on Risk and Rewards after the Storm. Through a series of letters written to Kate, his young daughter, Fortier provides insight on practical matters such as investing, debt, and insurance, as well as more general life lessons, such as charity, risk, and success.
Fortier uses his own personal stories — for example, his brother’s suicide and Katrina experience — to give advice not just on how to handle tragic situations, but how to grow from them. To Fortier, every experience is one to learn from, and he is willing to share these moments and his reflections upon them with his audience. The reader is privy not to a didactic series of self-help essays, but to intimate letters to loved ones. The advice he shares is that of a father, husband, and man dedicated to improving New Orleans and the world around him.
Though Fortier is a financial planner and emphasizes the importance of financial planning in people’s lives, the true strength of the book lies in the reflections of his own hardships, and what he has discovered about life and strength as a result. As a financial and estate planner, much of Fortier’s life must revolve around money. He recognizes, though, that while planning is necessary, true wealth has little to do with that. Post-Katrina, without a home or income, Fortier realized he had everything he needed.
For Fortier, he doesn’t claim his way is the right way or the only way.
“It’s more of a find-your-own-way… Being lost is part of the journey,” Fortier writes.
This story of being lost and finding your way is a universal one, and has not gone unnoticed. Dear Kate is the August selection of The Color of Money Book Club and was recently featured in the Washington Post. It is available for purchase through Joy of Living Press on Amazon.com.
Anna Shults is Associate Editor of Nolavie.