The College Money Guys - April 2019

April 2019

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WARMING TO HOUSTON THE CITY THAT THAWED MY LOVE OF WINTER

As much of the country welcomes back warm spring weather and Houston remains as hot as always, I have a confession to make. I love the cold. This may sound sacrilegious to admit as a Houstonian, but as long as I can remember, icy winters and frigid office spaces have always been my happy place. In fact, this chilly preference has almost taken on a supernatural quality. Hear me out. At the time of writing this, I’ve just gotten back from Washington, D.C., where I gave a lecture to employees of the Fish and Wildlife service. The audience warmly welcomed my guidance on the new tax deductions but wasn’t prepared for the weather outside. Despite being late February in balmy D.C., the city had been hit with an uncharacteristically harsh bout of winter weather. I found myself feeling partially responsible. Almost every time I venture into the higher latitudes from late fall to early spring, I bring snowstorms with me. I’m not saying Jack Frost lives in Houston, helping families plan their financial futures. But after enough coincidences, like this trip to D.C., you begin to wonder whether you’re in an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” I even have a full-blown origin story. The day I was born in a Virginia hospital, the state was hit by one of the worst blizzards it had faced in generations. My bad.

Instead, I’ve planted my roots in sunny Houston, a city so warm it can’t even attract a hockey team. Despite being a Houstonian for most of my life, I’ve never really adapted to the weather. I’m perpetually dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water, and I spend as little time as possible out of any air-conditioned room. As a lifelong Astros fan with season tickets, I often wish the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park would just stay closed. I say all this to emphasize my sincerity when I say there’s nowhere I’d rather be than Bayou City. While I like cold weather, I prefer warm people by far. That’s why I love Houston; it’s the friendliest place on Earth. Just look at the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Despite so many people being in truly desperate situations, we united as Houstonians and did all we could to help complete strangers. That storm took so much from us, but not our love and kindness. While I watched the snow fall outside the windows of the Dulles International Airport, I didn’t regret leaving. Sure, I was heading back to the heat, but also to a place where people wish each other a good day while passing on the street, where smiles come easy, and where casual Fridays are a way of life. Sitting in that terminal, I knew I should be brainstorming my next article for this newsletter. Instead, all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to be home.

“I say all this to emphasize my sincerity when I say there’s nowhere I’d rather be than Bayou City.”

Whether I have freezing superpowers or not, I certainly thrived during the Cold War. Part of the reason I enjoyed my post at the Moscow embassy was the weather. Located just under the arctic circle, the Russian capital lies deep beneath meters of snow by October. My apartment overlooked the Moskva River, which I crossed every day to get to the embassy. During the dead of winter, Russians and American embassy workers alike would walk down the banks and pad across the frozen water because crossing the river by bridge meant risking frostbite in the winds. Were it not for the horrors of communism, I might have settled down there.

Stay sunny, Houston,

–Bra nnon Lloyd

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