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Notes Along the Path - January 2021

Notes Along the Path - January 2021

January 08, 2021

January 8, 2021

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another edition of Notes Along the Path!

Please consider sharing this with someone you know who might be asking themselves (or you!) questions about their financial future.

This month's topics:

  • Political Instabiliity
  • The Case for Optimism
  • Seven Resolutions
  • A Rollercoaster Year Ends on a High Note
  • The Case for Stocks in Particular


Political Instability

I cannot let the events of this week pass without a brief comment.

The storming of the US Capitol was a criminal act. I believe their goal was to steal the documents confirming President-elect Biden's win in the hope of stopping or at least delaying the inevitable. This attack was an assault on democracy by people who still can't accept that minority votes count.  The simple fairness of one person/one vote is a problem for those that think they alone should have political power. 

In fact, when you look up the antonym for democracy in a Thesaurus, it is unfairness.  The absence of democracy is not some kind of republicanism - it is authoritarianism.

If you would like a preview of life without democracy, I suggest you go live in the Philippines, Guatemala, or Myanmar for a few months.  There is a reason no wealthy industrialized country has ever turned away from democracy once established: it would be insane.

Our freedom, our prosperity, our very lives are at stake.  If the President and the others who encouraged and enabled this are not punished severely, the next wanna-be dictator will have a playbook and will execute it even more destructively.

This cannot be allowed to stand.  And yet…


The Case for Optimism

The year 2020 presented us with many challenges. Never has a singular event had such wide-ranging repercussions worldwide as the Covid pandemic.

It has touched nearly every area of our lives. Schooling, socializing, family gatherings, travel, and more.

As we enter a new year, we tend to look back at our successes, our challenges, and new goals for the upcoming year. Despite the challenges we faced in 2020, I believe we should recall our victories, too.

The crown jewels of America remain intact:

  1. The bill of rights.  Many countries have a couple of these rights in their Constitutions, but nowhere are so many of the people's rights so firmly anchored in the law of the land.
  2. Our university system.  We have about 70% of the top 20 research universities globally, and more high quality small liberal arts colleges than the rest of the world put together.  Ask around in Europe, and you will find that nearly everyone receives only vocational training after age 16.  Going beyond your immediate field of study is essential to the cross-pollination that creates innovation, and nowhere is that done better than in our colleges and universities.

I could go on about the many strengths we still possess (and the many urgent needs for improvement), but the point is that with sound leadership, there is no reason the 21st century can't be another American century.


Seven ideas to make 2021 less stressful

New Year's resolutions are one tool that offers us guideposts as we begin the cycle anew. Surveys say that more than half of adults make resolutions--yet, we know far fewer keep them.

While the top two most popular types of resolutions center on money and health, my goal is to keep things realistic and straightforward by focusing on resolutions related to your finances.