Being in the middle part of the baby boomer generation, I attained age 65 late last evening. In days of old when the Halloween parade was always held at night on the 31st, bad weather notwithstanding, my mother and family had to break through the parade to reach the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital for my delivery. Or so I was told.
Our two-bedroom home off U.S. 24 apparently had an outhouse until about then, and the family of five shared two bedrooms. But my life’s path has certainly led to a place of incredible opportunities and benefits. I feel a little like King David, who wrote in a Psalm, Who am I that I should have been so blessed in this life, God? I could have just as easily been born the third live-born child of poverty-stricken dirt farmers in the Sudan.
It is a little early for a Thanksgiving-themed column so please forgive me, but in recent years I have come to a place of conscious and consistent amazement at the almost infinite blessings most of us can count and enjoy, day after day after day. Sure, some Americans have much more than we do, but we all have it so good compared with the billions of people on the other six continents.
It may be easy to complain when we don’t have a particular possession, or cannot afford a particular hobby. But where else in the world do so many have more than they need, whether it is cars, cell phones, televisions, food – literally choices of hundreds of items to buy and the ability to choose on which to spend the basic level of money that everyone has?
I have not always had this viewpoint. Raised by perfectionists of the German heritage and having raised my own children the same way, I have often not been satisfied with my progress or even myself. The decades have made me realize our imperfections are absolute in their prevalence, that we are gifted in different ways by our Creator, but we need a tremendous amount of help from all those around us, none of whom will be perfect on this Earth either.
We strive to make this a better environment for ourselves, our families, and others. In our country, we have succeeded magnificently. But there will always be more to do, more to help, improvements to discover. Perhaps that is why my heart is always broken for those in places like the Sudan who would be more than willing to work if there was just something – anything – to do.
Therefore, I have no desire to quit my work through Stewardship Capital or any of the charitable activities in which I currently give time or money. I am so richly blessed in all ways I cannot but help to continue and try to improve day by day, as long as I have the ability. As I joke with my retired friends and acquaintances, I am going to try to pay as much Social Security tax as I can to support you!
Thank you for about 19 years of reading my information and thoughts in these pages and more recently, in cyberspace. I still enjoy it, and I hope you have as well.
(Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advice is intended to be general in nature.)
Ron Finke is president of Stewardship Capital in Independence. He is a registered investment adviser. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.