My mind is in kind of laid back mood this week. I guess you could say I’m in holiday mode.
Thanksgiving week is my favorite. The food is great of course and I love the family time, but I also really appreciate a little time to slow down and contemplate those things in life for which we are grateful.
The immediate and constant subjects come to mind: a close and supportive family, excellent friends, a great community, a successful business. These are all important to be thankful for.
But we also live in a time of hardship for many, and this hardship has led to cynicism. Our nation, made great by her people, seems to be caught in a struggle to find her way. We are bombarded in 24-hour news cycles filled with political conflict and economic drama. It seems like sides have been picked and lines have been drawn with no one searching for common ground anymore.
Much of this however, is just made-for-TV drama, noise if you will. The reality is regardless of what the pundits say about the government and the economy much of our experience in life is determined by our personal decision making and while the consequences of this reality is not always affirmative for all, this paradigm is something I feel we should all be thankful for. Choices mean freedom.
Personal financial planning is art wrapped up in math. While the concepts and details behind many financial questions can be opaque at times, the basic tenants behind good financial planning can also be fundamentally intuitive as well.
Should I save or spend? Do I really need the items on my list or will paying for them cause me additional stress? Is borrowing to consume ever smart? Should I start or increase my 401(k) next year? Am I saving enough for college? Sometimes the math on these questions is easier to figure out. The answers however, everyone must come to for themselves.
The holiday season is filled with financial challenges. It is natural to struggle with the desire to be generous and the desire to provide a “great Christmas” to the family with the desire to make good financial decisions in regards to spending and consumption. This is the beauty of having choice. In America we have the luxury of embracing these challenges for ourselves. Please choose wisely.