Firemen and Ginger Bread Houses

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. It is a traditional celebration of our individual and group abundance. I’ll share two experiences from the past week and relate them as cornerstones to financial planning.

The Caughlin fire was significant for our community. On Sunday morning, I did a brief survey of the fire’s damage. As I was stopped at a traffic light, five fire trucks drove past. I noticed the engines carried Placer County emblems. The crews were settled in their cabs for their westward journey home. I imagined they were a bit tired after a series of long fought battles as winds carried the embers across canyons and neighborhoods.

We were lucky that Friday. The results could have been worse. I rolled down my window and waved to our out of town heroes. And from behind sooted windows, I could see nodding heads and a few thumbs up.

The second experience… Picture a ginger bread house. It’s sticky, colorful, and fun. It brings a smile to someone’s face. It rekindles memories. It brings joy – granted more for some, less for others. Our Rotary Club sponsors an annual Thanksgiving luncheon at a local senior’s center. The whole process of the event is sticky, colorful and fun. It’s a large collaboration involving four generations of participants – from the seniors enjoying a festive meal with their friends to the younger generations of aspiring culinary chefs, and the ginger bread house construction teams. And three things shouldn’t (don’t) change… lessons of character, service, and traditions are passed down from one generation to the next; leveraging the skills and passions of individuals with a group mission; and if you get between a sweet blue-haired lady and her prized ginger bread house, you’re gonna get run over.

Successful financial planning often entails working with some very smart people to help secure bright futures. It involves a lifetime of puzzle solving, negotiating minefields, keeping emotions in check, and maintaining confidence.

Thanksgiving is a celebration for the things for which we should be grateful. One is life. The other is opportunity to create and protect our futures as we wish them to be. Life’s curly. And absolutely, we’re in an era of volatility and uncertainty, with significant challenges that won’t be solved overnight. Yet uncertainty brings opportunity.

If your future requires a risk free approach, then take that road. On the hand, if your future requires higher returns, then take on risks. That’s the trade-off, risk for return. Play it smart. Manage and reduce risks using sophisticated tools and resources. And simply put, diversify – trade the opportunity for making a killing, for the blessing of not getting killed. You’ll sleep better at night.

In closing, you can’t put a fire station on every corner. Life’s abundant with risks as you keep your buckets full – family, career, health, finances, etc. Take preventative actions and manage the risks. And celebrate your victories. They’re sticky and help you keep the faith. Keep progressing forward. Tough times won’t last.

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