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Sean Savage

America the Beautiful

Sean Savage

The Fourth of July is a natural date to reflect on our nation’s founding 243 years ago in 1776. The signing of the Declaration of Independence began an experiment which has unleashed freedoms and prosperity unparalleled in human history. The excerpt from the Declaration of Independence which I believe captures the essence of this experiment is:

“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.”

I am in the process of reading the book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, written by Jon Meacham. The book provides wonderful insight into the fragility of our founding and the severe threats faced by the founding fathers to get to July 4th, 1776. Our foundation as a country is strong, but I believe our democracy will always be fragile and—like a special family heirloom passed down generation to generation—worth preserving for future generations.

I sometimes write after a drop in the stock market and address underlying economic concerns and anxiety. However, today I write as our economy just crossed a milestone with the longest economic expansion (over 10 years) on record going back to at least 1854, unemployment at historic lows, and the S&P 500 at or near record highs. Things are not perfect as there are always concerns, risks, and threats, but I am thankful to live in this country and participate in an economic system which was spawned by the Declaration of Independence back in 1776.

I feel fortunate to be in this great land. My dad routinely said, “We all drink from wells we did not dig.” There is no truer statement as we look back to the founding of this great country. I am thankful to be working with and serving my clients.

For all who are struggling this holiday with health or other challenges, may you find comfort and peace. I wish you all a very blessed 4th of July holiday surrounded by those you love. May the fireworks remind all of us that America is truly beautiful.

My Biggest Takeaway from the Government Shutdown

Couple saving money

I felt horrible for the federal employees and their families who experienced severe financial challenges as a result of going without pay for a month. How stressful to be concerned about trying to cover basic needs and not knowing how long it would be until the next paycheck would arrive. I have tremendous empathy for these families. As a financial advisor, my biggest professional takeaway is the need for an increased focus on financial education and wellness in our country.

I grew up fortunate to have been taught the value and importance of saving money for a rainy day and for building long-term financial security. My father repeatedly preached the value of saving money for as long as I can remember. Far back in my early 20s, when my wife and I combined to make very little money, we made sure the bank continued to grow for the “what if” scenario and that retirement was funded for long-term security. I have built a career out of advising people on their finances and investments, and I believe the national experience of the last six weeks screams for a need to prioritize financial health in the U.S.

How do we do this? I believe financial wellness should become a standard employee benefit with employers receiving a tax credit incentive to help with funding this employee benefit. Public and private schools need to have basic financial education for students starting in preschool. Finally, there needs to be public service announcements educating the public on financial wellness.

A financially well person is a better employee and in general a more productive member of society. The government shutdown should be a tipping point for a national conversation and action on financial wellness.

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