As I get older, I find I am increasingly aware of how quickly time goes by. I wish it would slow down. Having said that, I cannot wait for this year to be over.
We all have bad days from time to time. Our favorite sports teams or players sometimes have bad seasons. Flourishing businesses can have lousy quarters. But in 2020, the entire world had a bad year.
I cannot recall a year of my life that included more general or personal tragedy. It seems that every time I watched or read the news, we lost another well-known and well-loved personality.
We lost sports stars Diego Maradona and Kobe Bryant, TV stars Alex Trebek and Regis Philbin and movie stars Chadwick Boseman and Sean Connery. Sadly, there were many more.
Some of them, like Connery, were not so unexpected. Many, however, like basketball star Kobe Bryant, were younger. To my mind, younger people dying makes their passing more shocking.
I lost my father in March. I know so many people who lost loved ones this year and several who lost more than one. Compounding the pain, we were not able to say goodbye with a traditional ceremony due to public health restrictions. That was salt in our wounds.
All of this brings me to the elephant in the room. Of all this year’s challenges, none were more pronounced or pervasive than Covid-19. According to Johns Hopkins, globally, almost 1.8 million people have died. Those were people’s fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.
The good news is that the medical and scientific world stepped up, nursed tens of millions back to health and created what appears to be several effective vaccines, in record time. This bodes well for 2021.
I do not pine for a return to normal. To paraphrase the hit 90’s song “Closing Time” every new normal comes from some other normal’s end. Even now, masks have become a part of our lives and I rarely even think about them anymore. Some minimal annoyances aside, we will adapt and move forward as we always do.
Disaster, however, does not coordinate schedules. If you think planning is all a load of nonsense, I do not think ill of you. I do not agree with that perspective, but I do not think that makes you a bad person.
Planning can be a bit tedious, boring, and frankly, scary. It scares us because to plan for the future means we must first think about the future and what can happen, in ways we might not like. That is not fun. Trust me, I get it.
If you believe, as I do, that failing to prepare is preparing to fail; if you know that planning does not lead to stress but to the elimination of stress; if you understand that an ordered and unified financial plan does not equate to constraint but to freedom, then make 2021 the year to take action and get your financial house in order.
If 2020 has taught us anything at all, it is that life is uncertain and that it can change in the blink of an eye.
This awful year is almost at an end. When will the next “2020” be? Hopefully not for a long time. However, what we have learned, or perhaps relearned, is that preparation is important.
Let us make 2021 a far better year, by planning for all the wonderful things we want in our future. This will help us along the path of living our dreams.
Scott R. McGimpsey December 31st, 2020
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