TURNING FEAR INTO PROGRESS When a crisis hits, it makes sense to be afraid. For the last few months, the coronavirus pandemic has created anxiety and urgency around the world. Here at Financial Architects, it forced us to move quickly to put processes in place that we’ve never had before. Suddenly, we needed to find ways to work remotely, move things online, and connect with our clients and each other from home. It was a steep to being scared. Fear is not a new thing for them — it’s always part of the equation in business ownership, so they know how to navigate through it and come out stronger. As a company of entrepreneurial thinkers, we are working to multiply that effect significantly.
Similarly, a few weeks ago, Chris sat down for a virtual lunch web meeting with three others, and it was a surprisingly normal and productive lunch meeting. Sure, it is much better to spend time with people in person, but the group was able to get right down to business, saving the time of a commute and waiting for a table. With the old normal moving to the past and the new normal appearing, these are the adjustments we make and it all works out. Even with all of the awful news in the papers and on TV, a bright light for us has been seeing Financial Architects become nimbler and more adaptable. We’ve been able to turn fear into progress, and it’s gone so well that our Communications and Business Development Director Matt Dery wants to walk you through how to do it, too. This spring, he started adding a new series of video interviews to The Empowering Futures Podcast Network publications called “Business and Community Leaders Roundtable.” Each episode will focus on a facet of the entrepreneur mindset, from the power of connection to how to handle a crisis. Hopefully, these new podcasts will help you push past your fears to leverage this uncertainty. You can find all of the episodes of the new video series at www.GoToStage. com/channel/empoweringfuturesllc. Enjoy the ride and stay safe!
In fact, we think that as dangerous and scary as this virus has been, it will have the effect of making us a better company. We’re still coming through the crisis as of this writing, but these last few months of social distancing have forced us to embrace technology, streamline our operations, and increase our productivity. Some of these changes — like giving our employees the option to work from home and trying out new high-tech programs — were actually already on our back burner, but we’d been putting them off in favor of other projects. When they suddenly became necessary, we were forced to take action that should benefit us long term. Our culture has always been very family oriented. In the past for our support team, the option to work remotely from home was a challenge when urgent situations arose. Now though, because of remote capabilities we have put in place for this crisis we are better prepared to be able to offer that flexibility as needed in the future. Our team will be able to help their families while still supporting client needs as well.
learning curve, and there was plenty to be concerned about in the uncertain future, but we're proud to say that our team met it head-on and started climbing. We’ve been thinking a lot lately about that quote attributed to author and salesman Zig Ziglar: “F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything and Run,’ or ‘Face Everything and Rise.’ The choice is yours.” This pandemic has proved that Financial Architects is a “Face Everything and Rise” type of company, and we attribute a lot of that approach to our entrepreneurial culture. The leaders of the company, as well as our Architects, have the tendency to operate with the mindset of entrepreneurs. This is important when disruption comes because entrepreneurs seem to have a higher tolerance for scary times than most. Even in good times, they operate in uncertainty, so they tend to come out of a crisis on the front end of the curve because they’re used
– Chris Cousins & Pat Marody
INSIDE FINANCIAL ARCHITECTS
Honoring a Legend
THE BEST WAYS TO HELP LOCAL NONPROFITS IN CHALLENGING TIMES
Over the past several months, families, businesses, and nonprofits have had to navigate life in this challenging “new normal,” and it can be hard to support your favorite nonprofits when times are tough. Here are a few ways you can help these important entities, even when you don’t have resources to spare right now.
Back in April, Financial Architects celebrated one of its originals. Co-founder Turner Thompson had a very big birthday, number 80! The longtime advisor is beloved in our office and one of the most successful financial "architects" in the country. Turner spends most of his time now in Florida with his wife Marsha yet remains active with the firm. His wisdom during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the company's virtual "Tuesday Meetings" goes unmatched as he reminded the staff to make phone calls, connect with people on a personal level ONLY, and to continue with "constant activity." While he loves to play golf (he was on the course on his birthday), Turner really excels at mentorship. He is in constant communication with some of his young apprentices whom he has helped both personally and professionally. He tells them all of the time to aim high and to remember the philosophy of "Call them today — See them today." Turner has always hustled and reminds his mentees to do the same. You see him today and you would never believe he just turned 80 years old. He has kept in great shape, both physically and emotionally. FAI VP and shareholder Patrick Marody shares this personal message with Turner, "TST, it gives me great pleasure to honor you on the day of your birth. You have always been an inspiration to me. Thirty-three years ago, you helped to change the trajectory of my life and I am forever grateful to you. Thank you for always believing in me and building into me, making me a better man. Happy Birthday, my dear friend!" Turner has meant so much to so many people both inside the FAI Farmington Hills offices and out. He has a passion for people and a passion for life. Turner, on his big day, said, "Thank you so much everyone who wished me a happy birthday! I am so blessed to have so many caring people in my life."
While many people donate generously during the holiday season, remember that nonprofits need donations throughout the year, and different nonprofits need different things. A monetary donation can often go a long way, but never feel obligated to give money, especially when your budget may be tight. Instead, consider cleaning out your closet. What clothes, shoes, or other accessories can you part with? What about dishware or small appliances? When you clean out your home and donate unused items, you benefit those in the community who need them most.
In a time of social distancing, volunteering may be discouraged, but nonprofits still need volunteers to operate. The good news is that many nonprofits need volunteers for positions that maintain social distance, such as driving. Food banks and kitchens need drivers to pick up donations or ingredients from donors and to deliver food to people in need, such as the elderly or those with disabilities.
Even if you don’t have time or resources to give, you can become an advocate for important causes around your community. While it might not seem like much, sharing information about local nonprofits on social media can make a genuine difference. Nonprofits need exposure, which is greatly boosted through community support. Sharing useful information about nonprofits — or sharing their posts — increases their visibility so more people will take action.
We are blessed to be in your presence, Turner. Thank YOU.
The information contained in this newsletter is derived from sources believed to be accurate. You should discuss any legal, tax, or financial matters with the appropriate professional. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Registered Representatives offer Securities through The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Member FINRA/SIPC (www.FINRA.org/ and www.SIPC.org). Investment Advisory Services offered through O.N. Investment Management Company and FAI Advisors, Inc., Financial Architects, Inc., FAI Advisors, Inc., and The LifeMethod are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The O.N. Equity Sales Company or O.N. Investment Management Company. We have representatives currently registered in the following states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NH, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, and WI.
Take a Break
A Chat With Our Client
Q&A WITH JASON SIKO
Q. How did you get connected with us at Financial Architects?
A. I was a longtime client of Brian Eyster before he began at Financial Architects, and that relationship has continued to grow. In addition to working with Brian, I've developed a strong working relationship with Mike Kucera to assist with managing assets related to an inheritance. Q. Your work at Wayne County Schools obviously took a dramatic shift during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tell us how you navigated through that and what specifically were the districts doing to continue to teach the kids remotely?
Solution on Page 4
GRILLED BASIL CHICKEN AND TOMATOES
A. In the month leading up to the pandemic, there was some discussion about how it could possibly impact schools here in the state. No one was prepared for how quickly the educational system came to a halt. Districts needed to respond quickly, and there was no "one size fits all" approach to moving from face-to-face instruction to remote learning. Schools do so much more than occupy students' time from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Many students receive special services from the schools, and many rely on the schools for nutrition. In small rural communities, the school is the hub of the community. While some were "inconvenienced" by having their children at home, others found it disrupting to their lives, and in some cases, it affected the health and safety of children. In those cases, learning became secondary, and school districts found ways to address the more pressing concerns of health, safety, and welfare. We assisted school districts in managing how to maintain the learning process, whether it was through online systems, videoconferencing, or logistics for providing physical resources. This also included providing resources to parents on how to support their child and find additional assistance in other areas. Q. As a former science teacher, what advice would you lend to our readers about the future and how to proceed forward following the pandemic? A. Just as your readers probably rely on the expertise of financial professionals versus stock market advice from their uncle at Thanksgiving dinner, we should probably pay close attention to those who study diseases for a living rather than the part-time health blogger. Long story short, pandemics can last for over a year, so life isn't going to return to normal right away. With respect to school and education, don't expect the next school year to be disruption-free. It may not be a repeat of what we've just gone through, but don't be surprised if there are small-scale, targeted closures in the next 12 months.
• • • • •
2 tbsp olive oil 1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
• 8 Roma tomatoes •
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
1. For marinade: In blender, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and basil. Cut 2 tomatoes into quarters and add to mixture. Cover and process until blended. Halve remaining tomatoes for grilling. 2. In bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Reserve remaining marinade. 3. Heat grill to about 350–400 F. Lightly oil grates. Grill chicken until internal temperature reads 165 F, about 4–6 minutes per side. Grill tomatoes until lightly browned, about 2–4 minutes per side. Discard remaining marinade. 4. Serve chicken and tomatoes with reserved marinade.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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Inside This Issue 1 | Turning Fear Into Progress 2 | Help Local Nonprofits in Challenging Times 2 | Inside Financial Architects 3 | Q&A With Jason Siko 3 | Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes 4 | Botanical Gardens in the US
CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN
In 1842, the Wilkes Expedition returned from its trek across the Pacific Ocean on behalf of the United States government, having visited parts of Portugal, Brazil, Antarctica, and Fiji. Among the specimens the explorers brought back from their travels were collections of plants gathered from around the world — just what the young nation needed to start its very first botanical garden. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams had a shared dream of creating a national botanical garden, but the idea didn’t really get off the ground until the Wilkes Expedition brought back the garden’s first plants. The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) was established in Washington, D.C., and four of the plants on display there today are part of the original collection brought back from the expedition. Since it’s not always possible to go on vacation and visit far-off gardens, many botanical gardens around the world have started bringing the flora right to you with virtual tours. In addition to the USBG, which offers virtual tours at USBG.gov/take-virtual-tour, check out these other gardens that allow you to explore without having to leave your home.
In the spring, the Chicago Botanic Garden staff invited virtual visitors to join them for a nature moment. Garden staff shared images from around the 17 gardens kept there. The Chicago Botanic Garden continues to wow with virtual tours that, thanks to Google’s technology, make you feel as if you’re really there. Start your tour at ChicagoBotanic.org.
WADDESDON MANOR AND GARDENS
This historic site across the pond in England gives visitors detailed virtual views of the Waddesdon Manor and its stunning gardens. Each day at Waddesdon Gardens, the staff designates a specific area as a “Silent Space,” where visitors can go to disconnect and find peace. The Gardens also created a special message for their virtual visitors that we can all take to heart: “We encourage you to find a space in your garden or in your home that feels peaceful and designate a time each day to enjoy a quiet moment of reflection.” To see this historic site for yourself, visit Waddesdon.org.uk.
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