The Legacy of Labor Day

The Legacy of Labor Day

Athlete and CEO Tyrone Ross Jr. often says, “Legacy is greater than résumé.”1

Ross frequently shares pictures of his nieces and nephews with this saying, noting the work he does and the success he has is all to lay a path for the next generation to do something big within his company and the financial services profession.

While, like many workers, you’ve put in time to build your impressive résumé, have you put that same time into building your legacy?

We have Labor Day because of the legacy of union workers who wanted all workers to have better working conditions, time to have something to eat during the day, vacation days and many other benefits we have today.

Today, we enjoy two-day weekends. Many workers enjoy paid time off. We enjoy eight-hour workdays. We benefit from safe working conditions.

This Labor Day, remember to celebrate and thank those who have left us legacies to enjoy.

If you’re interested in leaving a legacy for the generations coming up behind you, we are more than happy to help.

 

Source:
1 https://twitter.com/tr401/status/1377112425976111106

The Legacy of Labor Day

Special Market Update

A Whole Flock of Canaries

Back in 1911, British coal miners started taking canaries into the mines. Because of the bird’s sensitivity to carbon monoxide, an ill or listless canary would give miners warning. The practice continued until 1986.[1]

So began the expression “a canary in the coal mine” to denote a warning of imminent peril. 

As students of the markets, we are beginning to see a flock of ailing birds everywhere. They warn not just of market weakness but potentially of market collapse.

Canary #1: The Afghan Collapse

The markets don’t like political instability. The recent fall of the Afghan government wasn’t supposed to happen. It shares many patterns with other intelligence embarrassments like 9-11 and Pearl Harbor.[2]

Eleven thousand U.S. citizens remain stranded in Kabul. What happens if just one of these American citizens ends up dead, captured, or jailed?  The market won’t like it.

Not many know it, but Afghanistan has the world’s third largest supply of rare earth elements—critical to satellites, DOD weapons systems, and other high-tech systems. China has already made it clear that it will be the Taliban’s new big brother, so these rare elements will probably be added to China’s already monopolistic supply.[3]

Canary #2: The FED and Transitory Inflation

​With today’s release of the Fed’s June 2021 minutes[4] we learned what transitory inflation might look like. Of course, further important inflation data will come in July,[5] but the minutes provide further detail on the Fed’s thinking.

“Transitory” May Mean About 6-9 Months

Despite using the term transitory for our current 5% inflation,[6] the Fed hasn’t precisely defined the term. According to the notes, the Fed generally expects elevated inflation for the remainder of this year, but moderating into 2022. Thus, elevated inflation might linger for another several months. Not all Fed policy makers share this view, some suspecting inflation may last into 2022.

To some degree, the Fed is also keying off market expectations. These suggest higher inflation in the short-term, but without much of an impact on long-term expectations after a year or two.

Base Effects Matter

The Fed believes that base effects are one important driver of the current surge in inflation. Last year, at around this time, inflation was subdued. But in 2021, we are seeing inflation catch up with last year’s unusual drop. Though inflation may remain elevated, this base rate effect will cause inflation to begin to calm over the coming months, just as comparatively, inflation picked up off low levels toward the end of 2020.

Supply Bottlenecks

The main driver of inflation is supply bottlenecks as the economy reopens. Paired with robust consumer demand, clogs in supply pressures prices upward. Again, the Fed sees these unusual disruptions to the economy moderating into 2022 as global supply chains work out their current issues.

What Could Change the Fed’s Outlook

Indeed, even now the high rate of inflation surprised many on the committee. The notes stated: “The actual rise in inflation was larger than anticipated.” Despite the surprise, however, the Fed doesn’t appear too concerned just yet.

Given that base rates serve as a key driver, if inflation doesn’t show a downward trend over the coming months, that may prove a concern for the Fed. While inflation may be high for a while, if we aren’t heading into a rate far closer to the Fed’s 2% inflation target by early 2022, that too will be a concern for the Fed’s transitory-inflation thesis.

If inflation doesn’t ease, monetary policy might have to adjust. The market won’t like higher interest rates, and investment strategies will have to adjust. That adjustment might cause some angst.[7]

Summary

Just because prices are going up doesn’t mean that inflation is. Inflation, after all, is the rate at which prices are advancing, not the fact that prices are rising in themselves.

It makes no sense to claim that “transitory inflation” includes all versions of the world in which inflation does not stay at, or make, new cyclical highs on a sequential basis.

In this sense, recent curve flattening and a sustained rise in short-term rate expectations could also be a result of the bond markets discounting a world in which inflation stays high enough to prompt policymakers to withdraw policy stimulus quickly enough to dent growth and tighten financial conditions.

The amount of time spent by economists debating the ins and outs of inflation is mostly an attempt to assure each other, and policymakers, that the spectacular CPI (Consumer Price Index) and PPI (Producer Price Index) headlines we now see in the news are nothing to worry about. It follows that slowing the pace of asset purchases—not to mention raising interest rates—would be a grave and unforgivable error.

Canary #3: What Happens if the FED Tapers?

Tapers.

We hear the term all the time. But when did it enter the financial vocabulary? That would be May 22, 2013, “when U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated in testimony before Congress that the Fed may taper, or reduce, the size of its bond-buying program known as quantitative easing.”[8] 

And what happens when the FED slows down its bond-buying program? The rate of increase in the money supply begins to diminish. The money supply doesn’t get smaller. It just doesn’t grow as fast.

The money supply has an enormous impact on stock and bond markets. If the money supply increases, that money has to go somewhere. If it goes into the stock market, prices of stocks go up.

The FED increases the money supply by increasing its balance sheet. That means, the FED enters the private market and buys government and sometimes corporate bonds.

How the Money Supply Grows

How does a FED purchase of a bond increase the money supply? Suppose you have a government bond. You sell the bond to Jim. Jim writes you a check for $1,000, which you deposit in your checking account. Jim’s balance goes down $1,000. Yours goes up $1,000. There’s no change in the amount of money in circulation.

Now suppose you sell your bond to the FED. The FED sends you $1,000, which you deposit into your checking account. Your account goes up by $1,000. But the FED’s “checkbook” does not go down by $1,000. It bought your bond with money it creates out of thin air. So, the money supply of the nation goes up by $1,000.

Now consider what the FED did to respond to the COVID crisis. On March 11, 2020, the FED’s balance sheet stood at $4.31 trillion. Flash forward to June 22, 2021, on that date the FED’s balance sheet totaled $7.94 trillion.[9] These FED purchases of bonds caused the money supply to increase by $3.6 trillion.

Those extra dollars poured into the stock market, they poured into real estate, they poured into artworks and yachts and jewelry and Bitcoin. And as those dollars poured into these various sectors, they precipitated significant increases in the “value” (price) of those assets.

What Does a Taper Do?

Tapering doesn’t decrease the money supply. It just slows down its rate of increase. But even a hint of tapering might cause upheaval in the markets.

An analysis of what a decrease in the rate of increase of the money supply gets complicated. Though difficult to comprehend, the analysis makes for interesting reading. We suggest you spend some time and look over this treatment of the issue from Bloomberg: Following the Money Suggests Stocks Have a Problem.[10]

Canary #4: The Supply Chain Crisis

The stories keep coming: a new worldwide wave of COVID-19; natural disasters in China and Germany; a cyber attack targeting key South African ports. All these have conspired to drive global supply chains towards a breaking point, threatening the fragile flow of raw materials, parts, and consumer goods.

The Delta variant of the corona virus has devastated parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors. Resulting in captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their normal stints—a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns.

“We’re no longer on the cusp of a second crew change crisis, we’re in one,” said Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping. “This is a perilous moment for global supply chains.”[11]

Because ships transport around 90% of the world’s trade, the crew crisis is disrupting the supply of everything from oil and iron ore to food and electronics. German container line Hapag Lloyd described the situation as “extremely challenging.” “Vessel capacity is very tight, empty containers are scarce and the operational situation at certain ports and terminals is not really improving,” it said. “We expect this to last probably into the fourth quarter—but it is very difficult to predict.”[12]

Meanwhile, deadly floods in China and Germany have further ruptured global supply lines, which had yet to recover from the first wave of the pandemic.

More Pain for Automakers

Automakers are again being forced to stop production because of disruptions caused by COVID-19 outbreaks. Toyota Motor Corp said this week it had to halt operations at plants in Thailand and Japan because they couldn’t get parts.[13]

The bad news list goes on and on:

· In the U.K., Stellantis temporarily suspended production at a factory because workers had to isolate to halt the spread of the virus.[14]

· The shortage in semiconductors, mainly from Asian suppliers, has caused considerable disruption in auto production. Many thought the shortage would ease in 2021, but now some senior executives say it will continue into 2022.[15]

· The price of steel has surged partly due to higher freight costs. According to an executive at a South Korean manufacturer of auto parts: “When factoring in rising steel and shipping prices, it is costing about 10% more for us to make our products.”[16]

Canary #5: COVID, COVID, and More COVID

As if we all haven’t had enough, now our eyes blur as screen after screen of information scream at us: The Delta Variant Is Already Leaving Its Mark on Business.[17] According to the Wall Street Journal:

“Repercussions from the Delta variant of Covid-19 are starting to ripple across companies, raising staffing costs in senior housing, disrupting production of potato chips and leading some companies to rein in profit projections.”[18]

It remains unclear whether these effects are temporary or the beginning of something far more serious.

Of this, we’re certain. This execrable virus is one more canary in our growing flock. But we can all join together and hope, the birds stop there.

Please Call Us

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, or if you’d like to review your assets, please call 301-294-7500. We are always happy to answer any questions you have.

[1]https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/story-real-canary-coal-mine-180961570/
[2] https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/afghanistan-and-the-history-of-intelligence-failures-analysis-676977

[3] https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/17/taliban-in-afghanistan-china-may-exploit-rare-earth-metals-analyst-says.html

[4] https://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/files/fomcminutes20210616.pdf

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmoore/2021/07/06/what-well-learn-about-us-inflation-this-july/?sh=1333bfc856e5

[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmoore/2021/06/10/three-key-considerations-as-inflation-hits-5/?sh=4894f6446b78

[7] https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmoore/2021/06/01/how-to-invest-if-inflation-surges/?sh=6c023d9a47af

[8] https://www.thebalance.com/fed-tapering-impact-on-markets-416859

[9] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1121416/quantitative-easing-fed-balance-sheet-coronavirus/

[10] https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-06-22/stocks-are-at-risk-of-decline-as-money-supply-growth-dries-up

[11] https://www.reuters.com/business/global-supply-chains-buckle-virus-variant-disasters-strike-2021-07-23/

[12] https://www.reuters.com/business/global-supply-chains-buckle-virus-variant-disasters-strike-2021-07-23/

[13] https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/toyota-says-suspends-thailand-vehicle-production-amid-parts-shortage-2021-07-22/

[14] https://www.reuters.com/business/global-supply-chains-buckle-virus-variant-disasters-strike-2021-07-23/

[15] https://www.barrons.com/articles/chip-shortage-auto-stocks-51629133890 

[16] https://www.reuters.com/article/global-freight-supplychains/insight-global-supply-chains-buckle-as-virus-variant-and-disasters-strike-idUSL1N2OZ1LJ

[17] https://www.wsj.com/articles/-delta-variant–business-economy-11629049694

[18] https://www.wsj.com/articles/-delta-variant–business-economy-11629049694

 

The Legacy of Labor Day

LITHIUM !!!

Lithium

That’s a Drug, Right?


Yes, But It’s Also the Next Investment Idea

Everybody has probably heard of Lithium as a drug. It helps those who suffer from bipolar disorder. But not everyone has heard about Lithium as the next big thing for investors.

Up 26% in Five Days

Take Lithium Americas (LAC) as just one example of the next big thing. In the past five days, its stock has jumped 26.75%.[1] Over the past year, it’s up 143.83%.[2]

And what accounts for this rocket-like performance?

Lithium. It’s the lightest metal and lightest solid element in the universe.[3] It’s also scarce. And in very high demand. So LAC soared when the company announced that it was making progress toward production at its Lithium-mining project in Argentina, which is “on track to achieve first production by mid-2022.”[4]

That project “has an annual production capacity of 40,000 tons lithium carbonate equivalent over a projected mine life of 40 years.[5]

So Who Wants Lithium?

Elon Musk, among many others.

Lithium, after all, is used in high-storage batteries, the kind used in EVs—electric vehicles like Tesla, Ford, Chevy, VW, Mercedes …. Virtually every car company has introduced some form of EV. We counted 45 models of electric cars, SUVs, and trucks in Motor Trend’s latest review.[6]

And almost all of them run on batteries containing Lithium.

Lithium Research Begins

The oil crisis in the 1970s prompted scientists around the world to begin the search for “a new battery—one that could recharge on its own in a short amount of time and perhaps lead to fossil-free energy one day.”[7] In three different labs, M. Stanley Whittingham, John B. Goodenough, and Akira Yoshino began to use Lithium as electrodes in batteries.

In England, Whittingham—working for Exxon—used titanium disulfide and lithium metal as the electrodes. Short circuiting and the danger of fires, however, caused him to stop the experiment.[8] But the word was out: Lithium has properties needed in high-storage batteries.

In the 1980s, Goodenough shifted the research and used “lithium cobalt oxide as the cathode instead of titanium disulfide, which paid off—the battery doubled its energy potential.”[9]

Then, five years later,  Yoshino dropped the use of Lithium metal and used Lithium ions instead. His research “led to a revolutionary finding: not only was the new battery significantly safer without lithium metal, the battery performance was more stable, thus producing the first prototype of the lithium-ion battery.”[10]

Lithium and the Nobel Prize

In 2019, the Nobel Committee recognized these trail-blazing research efforts and awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to the three scientists. When presenting the award, the Nobel Committee said:

“[T]his lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. It can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society.”[11]

Demand Heats Up

​Anyone capable of reading or watching TV can conclude that the demand for Lithium will spiral. President Joe Biden, on August 5 of this year, issued an Executive Order “aimed at making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 electric.”[12]

According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest technical professional organization:

A carbon-free future will require many millions of batteries, both to drive electric vehicles and to store wind and solar power on the grid. Today’s battery chemistries mostly rely on lithium—a metal that could soon face a global supply crunch. Some analysts warn that as EV production soars, lithium producers won’t be able to keep up with demand.[13]

Our Lithium Position

We won’t be left behind.

When the financial pages light up with the latest hot stock, we don’t race to our computers and hit the buy button. Instead, we subject all of our positions to rigorous technical analysis that involves comparing “moving averages,” studying “relative strength,” and perusing a host of charts.

We pulled up some charts of the top Lithium companies and saw extremely solid “technicals.” Because we don’t invest in individual stocks, we then sought out the top Exchange Traded Funds investing in Lithium companies.

Our search and technical analysis landed on LIT, a fund investing in 37 companies in the Lithium industry. So on July 14, we took our initial position in LIT for our Aggressive Growth Model. On July 22, we took a second position. These positions are already up nearly 8%.

According to GlobalX, the fund manager:

The Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT) invests in the full lithium cycle, from mining and refining the metal, through battery production.[14]

Remember Lithium Americas? The stock that soared 143% over the past year? It appears as one of the holdings in LIT.

For our Aggressive Growth Plus Model (which can hold individual stocks), our research turned up Standard Lithium (SLI). This company has a patent-pending process that extracts Lithium from brine, copiously found in Arkansas, where SLI has a new processing facility.

After studying the technicals of SLI, we added it to our Aggressive Growth Plus Model.

We Aren’t Chemists

The technology of ion-Lithium batteries gets quite complex. So we can’t pretend to understand what makes them work. But we can understand the exploding demand for them, and when you see more EVs on the road, you’ll know that the demand for Lithium continues to rise.

You’ve got your position to go along for the ride.

Call Us

We are always happy to answer any questions you have. If they involve the chemical ins and outs of Lithium batteries, perhaps we can locate a knowledgeable professor.

Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage

Significant Shrinkage

Buffeted by Inflation

Is it time to double check your household budget?

Chances are the budgeted expenditures of the vast majority of Americans are about to get buffeted. Or so says the Oracle of Omaha.

In the latest shareholder meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, Mr. Buffet sounded an alarm:

We are seeing substantial inflation. We are raising prices. People are raising prices to us, and it’s being accepted.[1]

​Specifically, Mr. Buffett pointed to the rising cost of steel affecting Berkshire’s businesses in housing and furniture.

People have money in their pocket, and they pay higher prices.  It’s almost a buying frenzy. [The economy is] red hot.[2]

​Mr. Buffett isn’t the only town crier sounding the alarm. Consider what happened at Bank of America. BofA has been tracking the “mentions” of the word “inflation” in corporate earnings calls since 2004. In late April, their analysts said, “Buckle up! Inflation in here.”[3] The analysts showed a chart depicting a tripling of inflation “mentions.”

But after another week of earnings calls, the BofA analysts had to revise their findings. They then found that “mentions” of “inflation” had quadrupled.

When Money Chases Assets

We don’t have to look far to see evidence of inflation. And we don’t have to wonder why prices are rising. When the Federal Reserve increases the U.S. money supply at an annual rate of 37%,[4] those dollars have to go somewhere. They go into the stock market, into real estate, into art works, and … into the groceries you buy every week.

Stock Market Is Up

So far this year, the S&P 500 Index is in positive territory.

Housing Prices Are Up

In northern Virginia, the median price of a house rose by 9% in 2020. According to WTOP News:

​The median price of a home that sold in Northern Virginia last year was $590,000, up 9%, and $90,000 more than the median price throughout the D.C. metro.[5]

“Art” Prices Are Way Up

Surely you’ve heard by now that a piece of crypto art sold at Christie’s for $69 million. An artist known as Beeple (a young man in Charleston, South Carolina) had created a piece of digital art for 5,000 consecutive days. He then cleverly combined all 5,000 pieces into a single piece of digital art and made it an NFT (a nonfungible crypto token). Strangely enough, a buyer then plopped down a whopping $69 million for the ownership of this single NFT, which resides somewhere on a blockchain. But we don’t have to pay to see it. It’s all over the Internet. It appears in a CNN article.[6] Take a look:

Shrinkage – Your Grocery Bill

The prices of many grocery items are not going up. But inflation is rampant. How is that possible? One word: shrinkflation.

Instead of raising prices, producers of consumer goods are shrinking the amount in a package. Seemingly, the package size remains the same. But in fact, a smaller quantity is offered at the same price.

Consider this picture of paper towels offered at Costco.[7] The roll on the right has 160 sheets; the one on the left, just 140.

Or check out these pictures of Nathan’s Pretzel Dogs, which appear in an article on Mouseprint.org.[8] The first box contains five; the second, just four.

Shrinkflation Is Everywhere

Scads of manufacturers are now playing the shrinkflation game. Len Penzo, in his blog, reports more than two dozen items where product size has shrunk.[9] Here’s his list of changes in product size since 2020:

Powerade (Was: 32 oz.; Now: 28 oz.)
Lay’s Potato Chips, party bag (Was: 15.25 oz.; Now: 13 oz.)
Nutella (Was: 14.1 oz.; Now: 12.3 oz.)
Puffs tissue (Was: 56 count; Now: 48 count)
Dawn dish soap, small (Was: 8 oz.; Now: 7 oz.)
Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa (Was: 16 oz.; Now: 14 oz.)
Nathan’s Hot Dogs, skinless: (Was: 16 count; Now: 14 count)
Keebler Club Crackers (Was: 13.7 oz.; Now: 12.5 oz.)
Charmin Ultra Strong toilet paper (Was 286 sheets; Now: 264 sheets)
Hershey’s kisses, family size (Was: 18 oz.; Now: 16 oz.)

Inflation Primarily Hurts Those on Fixed Incomes

If a family’s income stays the same and prices go up (or shrinked products reduce the amounts purchased), then slowly, over time, that family become poorer.

The solution? Buy assets that are also inflating. If a portion of a family’s savings can be allocated to assets that also inflate, then they have a chance to see their lives remain pretty much the same, or, if they pick the right assets, improve over time.

Which assets?

That’s Our Job at Research Financial Advisors

We have a long track record of protecting a family’s assets and making sure they battle the ravages of inflation. If you’d like us to review the current account we manage for you … or if you have accounts that either you manage or others manage for you … we’re happy to provide a review of your holdings.

Happy 4th Of July

Happy 4th Of July

Abraham Lincoln’s Powerful Words 
on the Declaration of Independence

Almost two-and-a-half centuries ago, fifty-six great Americans signed the Declaration of Independence. It was a document that would change the world, but after the Revolutionary War ended, it languished in relative obscurity for many years. In fact, to many, the Declaration was merely a simple letter that had served its purpose. A historical artifact and nothing more.

It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln that the Declaration took its place as the cornerstone of American ideals. As a young prairie lawyer, Lincoln saw it as more than just a simple announcement of separation. To him, it was a statement of human rights. It was the foundation upon which the United States was built. Lincoln made it the core of his political vision, referencing it often in speeches and letters, most notably in the Gettysburg Address.

But it was five years earlier that Lincoln spoke some of the most powerful words ever uttered about our nation’s founding document.

In the summer of 1858, Lincoln gave a speech in Lewiston, Illinois. Concerned that people had forgotten what the Declaration said, he decided to remind them. Not many Americans know about this speech today. I myself had never heard of it until someone shared it with me. But after reading it, and thinking about it, I’m convinced there’s no better message I can share this Independence Day.

Here is an excerpt of what Lincoln said:

Lincoln on the Declaration of Independence

“My countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines [that] conflict with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away from its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions; if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in those inalienable rights enumerated in our charter of liberty, let me entreat you to come back. Return to the fountain whose waters spring close by the blood of the revolution. Think nothing of me – take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever – but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles.

The Declaration…was formed by the representatives of American liberty from thirteen States. These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows. They grasped not only the whole race of man then living, but they reached forward and seized upon the farthest posterity. They erected a beacon to guide their children, and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages.

Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew the battle which their fathers began – so that truth, justice, mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land; so that no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe the great principles on which the temple of liberty was being built.”

Lincoln, who was running for the Senate at the time, finished by saying that it didn’t matter which politician people voted for, or which party they belonged to. What mattered was upholding the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. “I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man’s success,” he said. “It is nothing. I am nothing. Judge Douglas [Lincoln’s rival] is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of Humanity – the Declaration of Independence.”

This July 4, I hope we all can take a moment to reflect on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. It goes beyond politics and partisanship. It’s more than a historical artifact. It’s the foundation upon which our nation rests.

A nation I’m so grateful to call home.

From everyone here at Research Financial Strategies, we wish you a safe and happy Independence Day!

Father’s Day Tribute

Father’s Day Tribute

Father’s Day Tribute

June is the month for Father’s Day — but it’s also the month for family vacations and road trips! 

Whenever I plan a vacation with my family, I think back to all the trips I took as a kid. When I do, the first things to come to mind aren’t how magnificent the Grand Canyon looked, or the awesome power of Old Faithful, or even the rides at Disney World.

My memories are of all the little things. My memories are of my dad. 

Now that I’m older, I know just how many “little things” my dad did for each and every family vacation, year after year after year. First, he would save up his hard-earned money throughout the year, so we could tour a far-off national park, visit some golden beach, ride the newest megacoaster, or learn more about our nation’s history. Then, he would obsessively plan every route we took, scrutinizing maps and atlases – this was in the days before GPS – so we would always take the shortest route, or the most scenic one. Next, he would teach us all how to pack the family car the right way, so we could fit in the most luggage. 

Then the work really began. 

When we were twenty minutes into our trip, and one of us called out, “Dad, I forgot my , he would turn around so we could retrieve it. Sometimes grudgingly, sometimes in good humor…but he would always turn. 

He would stop for every bathroom break we needed to take, even if the last one was ten minutes earlier.  He would tell dad jokes and sing funny songs all throughout the drive, just to keep our spirits up.

  • ​He would drive all through the long night while the rest of us slept.
  • ​He would wake up two or three hours earlier than everyone else, all to stand alone in the line for tickets to a guided tour or popular ride. 
  • ​He would teach us the names of the trees and animals we saw or point out distant wonders we would otherwise have walked right on by.
  • ​He would carry us on his shoulders when we got tired.
  • ​He would buy us that one thing in the gift shop we just had to have.
  • ​When one of us said, “Look at me, Dad!” for the umpteenth time, he would always look.
  • ​When we asked, for the millionth time, “Dad, when will we get there?” he would always answer – and then distract us with a comment like, “Hey, look at that funny cloud!”
  • ​When we asked, for the billionth time, “Dad, what kind of bird/tree/rock is that?” he would quickly look up the answer as soon as we weren’t looking.
  • ​​When we would ask, for the gazillionth time, “Dad, how many stars are there in the sky?” he would answer, “A million billion gazillion.” 

These are the things I remember from our family vacations. Not the grand sights or spinetingling thrills. I remember all the little things my dad used to do to make sure each and every one of us had a great time. 

I remember my dad. 

So, as another Father’s Day approaches, and another season of family vacations begins, we want to say, 

Thanks, dad. 
Thanks for all the little things. 
All million billion gazillion of them. 

And from everyone here at Research Financial Strategies, we wish all fathers everywhere a

Very Happy Father’s Day!  ​

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