Retirement Planning Strategies August 2018

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Four Faces and Four Sources of Inspiration

If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter, you already know that I’m a huge fan of our National Parks. We’re so lucky to have a government agency devoted to preserving natural and historic locations throughout the country. I could go on and on about our National Park Service, but this month I wanted to try something a little different. One of our nation’s most amazing sculptures is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial — If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. Looking up at the four massive carved faces of Mount Rushmore — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln — inspires so many powerful emotions. Aside from the astonishing workmanship, it makes me consider the lasting contributions of these four presidents. With that in mind, I’d like to share a little bit about how these figures have influenced me, what I’ve learned from them, and why they deserve to have 60- foot versions of their faces towering over South Dakota. “selflessness” is the word that immediately comes to mind. Washington understood innately that the success of our country was more important than any one man. Upon winning the Revolutionary War, Washington could have seized all the power he wanted. He was, after all, the nation’s hero. Instead, he resigned his post as commander-in-chief. GEORGE WASHINGTON When I think of our first president,

After he was unanimously elected president, Washington molded the office to represent the ideals in which he believed. He resigned voluntarily (and to the chagrin of many of his colleagues) after two terms as he believed it was important that no one person stand above the office. In all aspects of his life, he put the common good over personal power and status. THOMAS JEFFERSON As somebody who works in the financial sector, I’m very fond of one of Jefferson’s axioms: “Don’t spend money before you have earned it.” Jefferson was a man who did not lack for eloquence. Some of his most famous sayings include: “He who knows best knows how little he knows,” “Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching,” and “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.” Oh, and he was also the principal writer of The Declaration of Independence. communication. He wrote and spoke with care and passion. While we are swimming in today’s rushed, uninformed text, Jefferson’s thoughtful discourse is a buoy worth holding onto. TEDDY ROOSEVELT The most recent face on Mount Rushmore did a great deal to spur conservation efforts in our country. He also authored more than 30 books, initiated the Panama To me, Jefferson is the perfect embodiment of the power of

Canal project, busted trusts, and was an avid big-game hunter. Theodore Roosevelt had no trouble getting the most from life. How did he manage to juggle all of these pursuits while becoming the country’s youngest-ever president? It all comes down to his almost superhuman drive and time management. His zest for tackling every endeavor is something I strive to emulate. Can we all be as insanely productive as Teddy was? Probably not, but we can learn from his example. ABRAHAM LINCOLN There isn’t enough space here for me to detail everything I admire about Lincoln. It was difficult to narrow down the topic I wanted to write about, because Lincoln was so remarkable. But one of my favorite characteristics about him is that he was a self-made leader. Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin and emerged from the humblest of origins. He never went to law school but instead studied to pass the bar on his own. He lacked the august heritage and privileged schooling of many of his peers, but it didn’t deter him from achieving his potential. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other,” he once said, and he lived by that advice his whole life. –Ann Vanderslice | 1

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