Retirement Planning Strategies -November 2019

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provide a box, and ask guests to pick 10 of their favorites to take home. That, and we were smart enough to have food. But basically, I think, that was it. The next two big additions were asking attendees to bring a new pair of socks as an entrance “fee” and hosting a crafts fair during the exchange. The donations are to benefit the Denver Rescue Mission, where socks are always among the most requested items, especially during the winter months. The craft fair came about simply because I knew a lot of federal employees and retirees who made wares as a side gig. I thought it would be an awesome place to show and sell their creations. This strange combination of ingredients has resulted in something I’m really proud of. Last year, we had the event in a heated tent because we had outgrown the size of any single space in our complex. For a few years prior, we were actually using two spaces, shuttling guests from one to the other.

colleague of mine is a magician named Scotty Wiese. He’ll be performing strolling magic at the Cookie Exchange, and his act is just incredible. Along with Wiese, we’ll have a live band, our biggest crafts fair ever, and cookies as far as the eye can see. Last year, we were able to donate 550 pairs of socks, and we’re hoping to set a new record this year. I hope you’ll join us for the ninth annual Retirement Planning Strategies Cookie Exchange on Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. I promise you won’t be able to miss the giant tent in the parking lot. Bring a new pair of socks, your appetite, and plenty of holiday cheer. I never would’ve guessed that the Cookie Exchange would be what it is today, but it’s a testament to our wonderful team and clients. For as long as we’re lucky to serve you, I have a feeling we’ll be hosting this annual tradition.

Nine years ago, for no reason in particular, we decided to host the first Retirement Planning Strategies Cookie Exchange. If I remember correctly, the idea was little more than, “You know what? Let’s just bake some cookies and have a party.” Sure, it probably didn’t hurt that an employee at the time, Christine, had experience as a pastry chef. (In a weird and wonderful coincidence, I hired another person, Mariko, who was also a pastry chef.) Whatever the case, that humble first event was a hit, and it’s been growing every year since. We call it a cookie exchange based on the tried-and-true Christmas tradition, but it’s really never been an exchange in the traditional sense. Nobody is bringing their own cookies to trade with others. Instead, we bake them all — hundreds in the beginning, thousands these days —

Happy holidays, everyone!

–Ann Vanderslice

This year, we’ve decided to up the ante even further. The son of a former | 1

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