You know, this week marks a milestone for us. This week marks the seventh year that you and I get together each week to break down the complicated issues of Wall Street and how those issues effect folks like us on Main Street. Over the years, we have discussed issues such as market volatility, downside risk management, Roth conversions, trusts & estates, taxes, inflation, portfolio discussions, etc. Each week I try to include a real-life story and how it relates to real-life situations. Each week, I sit, I reflect, and I write on what I think are important topics that we should discuss. Each week I try to add value to someone’s life.
So, this pandemic has given me time to sit and to reflect . . . a lot. Like many, this pandemic has all three of our teenage girls back in the house with Jill and me nearly around the clock. As unfortunate as some events surrounding the pandemic have been, I do see a silver lining in being surrounded by my family. While Jill and I continue to work from home and our daughters continue to pursue their studies, there are no more trips to the mall, no softball games for Phoebe, no lacrosse for Sophie, no college frat parties for Maeve, no extracurricular activities, and no trips for the ol’ man to the Quahog Republic for a few beers with his buddies. We all have to sacrifice. When we are not working, we are now breaking bread together three times a day. Family game night is back on, and it’s pretty much every other night. Probably best of all, Jill and I are learning more about our girls’ aspirations and concerns as they move into adulthood.
Seriously, not to say it’s been all bliss. There are still disagreements about what’s for lunch or dinner. They can sling their own pots and pans if they really don’t like what’s on the menu. The difficulty of trying to agree on a TV show or a movie to watch still bubbles up. Not being able to see their friends in person sometimes wears on the girls and creates tension and Sophie and Phoebe have occasionally reverted back to their elementary school days with complaints of, “I’m bored.” Heck, who would have thought eight weeks ago that the five of us would be watching church services on a computer at our kitchen table?
While we’ve all had difficulties adjusting, Jill and I are proud of the fact our girls do realize they are blessed. Blessed to have shelter and food, blessed to have each other, and yes, even blessed to have the parents they do. We’ve all adjusted. The girls are older and can cook for themselves, so their mom and I don’t have to be short order cooks. I’ve given them a little appreciation for some old movie and TV classics, and they’ve brought me up to speed – well, just a little – on pop culture. Without their friends around, they’ve had to turn to each other more for support and entertainment. We have all tackled our boredom in a variety of ways whether it’s pulling that book down from the bookshelf we’ve been meaning to read, trying out a new recipe or cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen.
There have been more heart-to-heart talks, a few tears, but also lots of laughter. We pray more together as we see each other sometimes at our most vulnerable, but you know I find there can actually be great reward in that. There is the plain everyday silliness as we tease each other over our quarantine wardrobes and hairstyles. Through all our worry about the future, the blessing in disguise is that we have rediscovered the gratitude we have for each other as parents, children, and siblings.
With all the fear and concern about the future we are all experiencing, it’s occurred to me that there will be a time in the future that I will look back wistfully about the time we are spending together as a family. The pandemic and lockdown are certainly nothing that any of us would have ever wanted or wished for. But the time that it has given me to reconnect with my family and appreciate what I have may be just what I needed. Folks, I hope you’ve been able to find your own silver lining, too. I would love to hear from you this week; what is your silver lining? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org this week to share yours. We are all in this together.
So as always – be vigilant and stay alert, because you deserve more!
Have a great week.
Jeff Cutter, CPA/PFS is President of Cutter Financial Group, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor with offices in Falmouth, Duxbury, Mansfield & Southlake, TX. Jeff can be reached at email@example.com.
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