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School Starting & Other Thoughts

Well, the kids are back in school, and I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, they can stay in school forever. There. I said it. One thing I’ve learned in just the last week since school started is that I love being back in a structured environment. I love being back in my office and not having children call me to ask me when I’m coming home, what’s for lunch, could I drive them over to a friend’s house – none of that is going on anymore. They are in school and I don’t have to deal with them during office hours until I’ve picked up the youngest and we meet the rest at the house for dinner. Yes, there will be parent/teacher meetings, band practices, and school functions, but on a day-to-day basis, 75 percent of the time we have structure back in the household, and it is wonderful. 

My typical day now looks like this: Wake up, get the kids to school, hit the gym, breakfast, research, emails, office meetings, staff meetings, catch up on emails or voicemails, pick up the kids and head home. So. Much. Better. At least for three or four days a week. 

Now, those of you who know me know I love my vacations. My dad raised me to live by his favorite saying which is to work hard, play hard – and don’t confuse the two!  Yes, while summer months tend to be vacation months and I enjoyed every second, we’ve now celebrated my birthday, and it’s officially fall. There’s nothing more I love than being back in the office four days a week, catching up with you, getting in a round of golf, watching a little football on the weekends, and seeing you at Keeneland on October Fridays. Suddenly we’re in the heart of tailgate season! And, this year we have the Breeders Cup to look forward to, as it’s back in Lexington once again. Before you know it, it’s going to be the middle of November, and everyone will be asking what everyone else is doing for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Whew! It goes fast.  

In the Smyth household, we’ve got a few more fun things going on – my oldest is a senior this year, and while we did visit a few colleges on drive-throughs and audio tours, we’ll be doing more official visits this year as he determines where he’d like to go to school. Speaking of college, I know many of you are also seeing your kiddos off to school, as calls are coming in for 529 education fund withdrawals to pay those tuition bills. 

For those of you like me who are starting to think about the cost of higher education, now that summer vacations are over and the price of gas has fallen for what looks to be nine weeks straight, you may have a little extra jingle in your pockets. If you do, give us a call and we’ll help you figure out how much you should start setting aside for your family’s education plan.  

Another item I’d like to bring to your attention as we go into fall is that it’s not just about football (or all the tears for my Seahawks since Russell Wilson was traded to Denver). Fall also is a time where many of your employers are updating their benefits packages, and asking you to choose your benefits for the 2023 year (I can’t believe I just typed that!). As you get those packets, please, forward a digital copy to us so that we can review whether there are new opportunities you might want to consider.  

Lastly, let’s talk about these markets. Did the end of June summon the end of the bear market? If you’ve opened your statements recently, accounts have significantly bounced back from where they were at the end of June, which makes all of us heave a sigh of relief. Is that the bottom? No one knows. But what we are seeing is a continuance of good corporate earnings, low unemployment, and stable mortgage, credit card and automobile payments. Why is this important? If consumer debt delinquency starts to spike higher, that could signal a problem. So far, even Wal Mart and Home Depot reported that the consumer is healthy and strong, which is a good sign that America is doing just fine, despite all the problems in the world and the issues our country is facing. 

We look forward to seeing all of you not only in the office as we go into our preparations for third quarter meetings, but out and about in town as we enter my favorite season in Kentucky, which is what I call football & thoroughbreds! 

As for the debate over whether we’re a basketball school or a football school, I’d only respond that Max Duffy was correct when he said that UK football has never lost to St. Peter’s. I’ll leave it there. Let me know your take! 

Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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