I awoke this morning to an emailed picture of the small feet of my daughter, swollen and bandaged, from having walked many miles in shoes better suited for going to church. Tracie is serving an LDS mission in Paris, France, and due to the Belgium terrorist attacks that killed and injured so many, including her friend Joe Empey, she and the other missionaries have been told to avoid public transportation. Being committed to seeking out the good in people, they simply walked to their appointments.
Is was not easy to keep my mind on investing this week, for in each attempt it kept drifting towards things of much more significance than money. As I pondered this “war” in which we are engaged, I marveled at how many lives are damaged over the actions of so very few. I realized that most wars are started and perpetuated by a relatively small handful of individuals, yet they cause so much suffering.
It would seem disrespectful to compare a physical war to anything financial, and yet I couldn’t help but think back on the damage caused to the lives of so many by the actions of so few in the financial world. The Madoff’s, Millikan’s, Enron’s and Lehman Brothers’ of the world have left millions with huge losses, decimated retirement accounts and empty pension plans. We use the trite phrase, “It’s only money,” but when you are retired and all you saved is taken from you, the damage goes far beyond money.
During election years our fears are magnified by candidates calling out “Corrupt Wall Street,” or “Corporate greed.” Inevitably they propose to protect investors through regulations that often end up causing more grief than the problems they are trying to the correct. (Images of a young mother having her infant’s bottle taken away in an airport security line come to mind.) As I pondered the state of our fearful world this week I was reminded of the inspiring words of Anne Frank who said, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
I know most of the financial advisors in this area. I know many leaders in industry and regularly visit with key decision makers in many of Americas top companies. I find that the vast majority of them are good, honest, hard working individuals who are trying to do the right thing. Though they certainly have different skill levels, in their hearts they are good people. There will always be some individuals with bad intentions, but investors can largely protect themselves by exercising common sense judgment, using proper planning techniques, and diversifying their assets.
I absolutely reject the common election year rhetoric which implies that most people will take advantage of you if given the chance. With my daughter trudging the streets of France, I believe most people are inherently good and that acting, or thinking or even investing otherwise, leads to a less than fulfilling and often unhappy life.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 1173 S. 250 W. Suite 505, St. George, UT 84770.
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