Financial Opinion and Insights

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

Someone asked me the other day what ‘retirement’ means to me.  I gave a quick three-word answer:  Freedom and Options.

As we now come up on Thanksgiving, I realize I must have been half-way to retirement the day I was born.

I was born an American.

That’s a condition many might take for granted; but, I never have.     When you consider how many hundreds of millions of people live under conditions  hard for us to imagine all around the globe, it’s easy to see why many who come here truly understand we are indeed that `Shining City on the Hill’. 

Just being born here means you won the lottery. live in a country few want to leave and so many want to enter.    I’m married to an immigrant who came to America over forty years ago with about half her family.  They’re an amazing family with the other half still in Mexico. 

Trust me:  You don’t what patriotism is until you see this country through the eyes of an imigrant.   We have a niece in Mexico married to a wonderful man.  Both of them have graduate degrees and have a nice home and a brand-new beautiful baby.  Both of them have successful careers and they recently bought a new Toyota… made in America especially for sale in Mexico.  The selling point?  There’s a hidden compartment in the trunk where you can hide a flashlight and a gun.  The trunk also opens from the inside.   When you have a family in Mexico, you think about those things. 

Here in America, we can park our car at the airport and come back two weeks later to find it.  Here in America everyone has opportunity, if they’re willing to try… and you’re always free to reinvent yourself.

During my days in publishing, I had an employee who grew up behind the Iron Curtain.  The government told her what her career would be.   One of my best friends is married to an immigrant who also grew up in Eastern Europe under Communism.  The stories told by people who’ve lived it first-hand should be told in every middle school classroom.

But, America almost didn’t get born at all.  In fact, few truly know the story everyone should know, and the man who almost single-handedly made it happen.  For too many, George Washington is a marble bust or a picture on money; but, the truth is better than anything Hollywood could invent.  He was our first action-hero and his exploits are documented even in the diaries of enemy soldiers.

America didn’t happen by accident.    And, when you think about it, Memorial Day, which honor those who’ve died for us; Veterans Day, which honors all those who’ve served in a foreign war; and Thanksgiving, which is about thanking God for all our blessings, all tie together.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.

America is unique.  And, if you don’t believe it, just try to imagine what the map of the world would look like today if America had never existed.

One of my favorite books on how it all started is John Ferling’s Almost A Miracle.  I recommend it.   It would make great reading during this time we give thanks for all that we have and for all those who helped make it happen.

Written by Jim Lorenzen, CFP®, AIF®

November 22, 2011 at 8:00 am

Posted in Holidays

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