As we approach the conclusion of 2020 and are about to turn the calendar to a New Year, it’s customary to reflect upon the year that was and various lessons learned. The challenges of 2020 are obvious and unnecessary to belabor or elaborate upon. Perhaps not so obvious, however, are the countless blessings gained from our individual and collective experiences during such a challenging period in our history and in our personal lives. I will share with you my own recollections in that regard.
The routine of everyday life often insulates us from thinking beyond a world other than the status quo. The pandemic of COVID-19 was, for me, a catalyst for self-examination in meaningful and profound ways. Beyond my close inner circle of family and friends, I have not previously divulged that I was tested for COVID-19 earlier this summer. I will refrain from the unnecessary details, but suffice it to say I was experiencing certain symptoms that were considerable cause for concern. While awaiting my test results, I had ample time for personal reflection. It’s only natural to fear the worst and ponder about all the people and things that truly matter most should our time on this earth suddenly be more limited than hoped.
I reflected upon my immediate family, especially my wife Anne and our little “girls” Bella and Lucy (after all, our pets are family members too!) I also reflected upon my extended family: You. What would happen to my valued clients if I were abruptly “out of the picture?” Have I developed an effective succession plan? Will my clients’ needs continue to be met in the same compassionate, attentive, and quality manner and with the same depth and caliber of expertise I’ve strived to maintain? I am pleased to inform you that my unequivocal conclusion was a resounding “Yes!”
Those who know me best will tell you that I’m a perfectionist. It’s impossible for standards to be any higher than my own in regards to meeting expectations. I also tend to be somewhat of a “control freak” and have difficulty letting go and relying upon others. I recently restructured my practice for two primary reasons. First, out of necessity given the increased demands of my time and becoming more cognizant that without necessary structural improvements I would not be able to meet the very high bar of my own personal standards. Second, but no less importantly, I was fortunate to find two individuals - Alyssum Keefer and Tyler Lerman - who have earned my full and complete confidence and trust.
Not only are Alyssum and Tyler exceptional financial advisors who share my commitment to continual learning and client service, but they are also exceptional people who share similar values and a unified purpose. They do things for the right reasons, and always in the right way. In developing my practice and enhancing the Smith Wealth Advisory Group brand, it’s less difficult to find skilled financial advisors than it is to find those guided by pure and noble hearts with the proper ethics and intrinsic qualities that also meet my lofty expectations. I’m blessed to inform you that with Alyssum and Tyler, I truly have the best of both worlds. I could not be happier or more confident that my practice is in such fine and capable hands. My wife Anne already knows that Alyssum and Tyler have her back and won’t miss a beat if I’m unavailable for any reason. Since I consider you to be family also, it’s important for you to know that too.
Thankfully, my COVID test came back negative and I’m currently in terrific health. At the relatively “young” age of 53, I anticipate having a lengthy career and long life ahead of me. But if 2020 has taught us any lessons, it’s that life can be fragile and uncertain. We are reminded of our countless blessings. Ironically, as 2020 has reminded me, our troubles can be blessings too. Were it not for the adversity of 2020 we might otherwise have remained in the comfort of normal routines rather than forced to self-examine, see the “bigger picture”, and accelerate important long-term planning that too frequently is ignored until the distant future sneaks upon us and practically becomes tomorrow. We are also reminded of what true wealth really entails. In the words of Henry David Thoreau:
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
With the above in mind, I’d like to share with you a short video that was filmed with Alyssum, Tyler, and me this summer along with various members of our families. Most of you are well aware of “what” we do, but less familiar with our “why” for doing it. I believe it will not only give you a broader understanding of our ultimate mission and purpose, but also hopefully a broader appreciation of the form of wealth that is most meaningful and that we strive to help you achieve. It may also help you appreciate the friendship, mutual respect, and chemistry Alyssum, Tyler, and I collectively share. I do hope it affirms not only the comfort of the present, but also the confidence of the bright and promising future of Smith Wealth Advisory Group in the years to come.
My best wishes to you and your family for peace, happiness, health and prosperity; and for all the gifts and blessings of experiencing life fully in the New Year and always. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be of service.