Pre-Retirement

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Practicing Perspective

By David Smyth

Lately, I've been feeling a little depressed. Whether I'm looking at my financial portfolio (which has had a rough time lately), staring at my burnt up lawn (thanks Mother Nature!), lamenting that my Seahawks started 0-2 (thanks St. Louis and Green Bay!), or stressing about a burned out light bulb in the kitchen or the red liquid one of my boys spilled on my brand-new carpet, well, I was not happy! In addition, I had to see the doctor for my annual physical, and I couldn't wait to hear what lecture he would give me this year.

But, what a difference a couple of weeks can make! The financial markets have slowly been on the upswing. We've had Noah's Ark-worthy rain and central Kentucky is now green and lush, and the Seahawks have won their last two games (thanks Windy City and Detroit Rock City!). That red stain that made my carpet look like a crime scene came out (thanks stain-master!), the light bulb magically came back on (some things just work themselves out!), and that dreaded trip to the doctor resulted in him not only praising me for losing weight, but my vitals indicate that I'm going to live a long time. That succession plan is officially on hold!

The point of all this is to say that we all go through good weeks and bad weeks, but our perspective is what truly matters. I'm sure that you, like me, have days when it feels like the world is out to get you and anything and everything will go wrong, and vice versa. Sometimes it feels like you're bulletproof and the world is your oyster. But whether through highs and lows in the stock market, family life, work life or your football fandom (sorry all you EKU Colonels!), maintaining a healthy perspective is one of the most difficult things to do, but also one of the healthiest, mentally and emotionally.

The financial markets operate the same way. We all know they're driven by greed and fear, but I prefer to think of it as opportunism and pessimism. In the coming days, you'll be receiving your quarterly financial statements. I'm not going to sugarcoat this - some of those statements will not look the way you had hoped, as these are a reflection of what the markets looked like a few weeks ago. Remember as you're going over your statements that your portfolio doesn't just go down - we can't make promises of course, but historically, the markets have always gone back up.

No matter how long you've been working with us, we've always made sure to position your portfolio in ways that we feel protect you in times like these. For those of you who are retired and making withdrawals, we keep extra cash on hand so you're not having to take money out when the markets have oscillated down. If you're worried about writing a check to the kids this Christmas, or taking the family on a vacation to make some wonderful memories, don't be. If you've already shared these goals with us, we've planned for them. These gifts can still happen - you can still enjoy life while the markets go up and down.

For those of you still adding to your portfolios, you know about our planning checklists that spell out each next recommended investment, so when the market is down and you have available cash to invest, you can take advantage of the potentially lower prices. As 2015 starts to wrap up, remember that Christmas will come and Santa will bring gifts, no matter what China does. There might be fewer plastic toys under the tree, but that's probably a good thing!

We are going into a great season in Kentucky. Between races at Keeneland and the Breeders' Cup later this month, your Kentucky Wildcats starting 4-1 in football, and these pumpkin-patch-perfect sunny days and cool nights of fall, things are looking up. So get out and enjoy this wonderful October - human interaction reminds us that we are all in this together. Each of us has been gifted the ability to choose how we participate in life, whether pessimist or optimist, bear or bull.

None of us will win every week, but keep in mind one thing, and one challenge: we can each make every day a winning day at life. What memories will you make this fall? We look forward to hearing all about them!

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