A Path in the Woods

Here in Minnesota, we are in that ‘in-between’ season as far as weather is concerned.  The leaves have mostly fallen and the landscape suddenly looks fairly brown and drab.  It is not quite winter with inches of snow on the ground, but the mornings are brisk and have had a brushing of snow.  The kids are back to school and have settled into some sort of routine, and as a family, we are adjusting to our new addition, Adeline James, born in early September.  

Fall sports season has wrapped up for us, which although sounds mundane, is quite a commitment.  All three of our boys played soccer on different teams, two of which I was the head coach, and our oldest son (Owen) played both travel soccer and football at the same time.  Between our commitment at the gym we took over last summer, spending time with family and friends, and my commitment to our firm, it doesn’t leave as much time to reflect as I would sometimes like.  

However, sports season has wrapped and we have some flex time built into our daily routine now….which means that I can share some of the reflections of daily life and how that may relate to what we do as a firm.

Keeping with the time theme mentioned above - I don’t see our recent schedule as necessarily being ‘busy’, would rather prefer to think of the schedule as ‘full’.  It seems that many of us have the knee jerk reaction to answer ‘how are you doing’ question as ‘busy’ these days.  At least in my mind, I don’t see busy as being a positive thing.  To me, it seems that busy means spending time doing things someone else decided for me/us to do…….I see our recent routine as being ‘full’ - as I feel that we knowingly made the time commitments to the activities we pursued because we enjoy them, have passion for those pursuits, and feel that we are making an impact in our community and beyond in those activities.

This brings me to the reflection and relating this to financial planning.  At one point, I vowed to not be the parent that had over scheduled kids - acting as stand in taxi shuttling the kids from one organized event to another.  And what did we just spend the past few months doing?  Exactly what I vowed to not do!  However, the kids made the decision to pursue each of these sports on their own, with little from us as parents outside of support for their decision….and they love it!  

I know there are a lot of books on parenting, and just like most other topics, many differing opinions on what great parenting really looks like.  But we all know there is no one textbook on parenting that is the end all, be all.  The path ends up being the path that is authentic to us as a family, and uniquely fits us.

Just like with a financial plan - there is no one right path for everybody.  There are so many variables to consider - time frame, comfort with risk, biases, values, taxes, etc.  Someone else’s financial plan will probably not work for us as we undoubtedly are not the same  on every variable.  And, frankly, that is the biggest value our firm can bring to a client - to bring all of those variables together to create the path that gets them to their goal all the while ensuring that the plan is uniquely authentic to them.