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History in the Making

As I’ve said before, it’s one thing to read about history. It’s a completely different thing to live it. In two weeks, things have certainly taken a turn for the worse. As a financial planner, I’m still having conversations with folks, albeit via conference call, FaceTime or Zoom.

A Few More Thoughts On Current Events

In thinking about what to say regarding recent events, well, I’m as perplexed as everyone – I had no idea we were surrounded by experts on pandemics and how they work. If you ever need more “expert” information, well, just turn on the TV!

Keep Saving and Wash Your Hands

This month, our plan was to discuss the importance of, and encourage all of you to focus on saving, and how to best work toward your unique goals. But at the moment I think it’s more important to talk about washing your hands! (And yes, there is a right way to do it.)

The 12 Days of Smythmas!

By now, I’m sure all the moms and grandmas out there are done with their Christmas shopping and have moved on to meal planning and making New Year’s Eve plans. Hat’s off to you for being organized and taking the lead!

Your Lifestyle, Before and After Retiring

As folks inch closer and closer to retiring, one thing absolutely everyone asks us at some point during a meeting is, “How do I stack up to other people my age?” The reality is, it doesn’t matter how you compare to anyone else, and besides, you don’t get to automatically retire just because you’re an above average saver, or you’ve hit a certain number. Comparisons to others have no place in retirement planning. What does matter is actually planning out what your retirement will look like on a daily, mundane basis.

Preparing for Fall – Kids & Money

As hard as it is to believe, the first day of school is less than a month away in Fayette County. Although we want you all to fully enjoy the remaining weeks of summer, I would encourage you parents out there to take a little time and think about your strategy regarding your kids and money. Especially as the little ones get older, it might to be time adjust a few things and get them more involved and thinking about how money works.

Summer Fun and Your Future

With the recent long Fourth of July weekend, many of you stopped and took time off to spend time with family and friends at the lake, ocean or golf course. Perhaps you found yourself reflecting on something – perhaps the first fireworks show you attended as a child, or your favorite baked beans recipe, or an other-worldly dessert your beloved grandma or favorite aunt used to bring to the celebrations.

Never Been to Spain? Go!

Tips & tricks for your next overseas getaway. 

Last week, we talked about saving for vacations and I shared the strategy I used when I was first starting out. This week, we wanted to talk about planning your dream vacation – once you’ve got the funds saved up, of course! So, we talked to Meredith Bley of The Travel Authority to get her tips and tricks for travelers, and find out her top destinations for overseas vacations.

“First, I always ask people some questions to get them thinking about what kind of trip they want,” Meredith said. “Do you want to focus on art and architecture, food and wine, history, or do you want to relax and take in the local culture and scenery?” She also encourages people to think about the pace of their vacation. “Some people want a fast-pace where they only spend one or two nights in each city, and some people like to have a base they can go back to,” she explained.

Meredith likes Spain as a European destination for its beauty and diversity of landscape and things to do. “Spain has 3 million acres of vineyards and 5,000 miles of coastline,” she said, making it ideal for wine lovers and beach dwellers alike. For those wanting luxury, the Basque region has more Michelin-rated properties than any other place in the world, she added. The country offers a moderate climate and is home to religious sites that are sacred to all three major world religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim faiths, making it an ideal vacation destination for many different people.

Planning ahead is crucial, especially when traveling abroad, Meredith said. Working with a travel agent can get vacationers access to sites they probably wouldn’t otherwise be able to get into, she added. “The Alhambra palace in Grenada only allows a limited number of tourists each month, so if you show up without planning ahead, you might not get in. I can set up an itinerary to help avoid these kinds of pitfalls,” Meredith said. She also knows of a 10-room hotel in southern Spain that’s an inclusive, organic resort featuring vineyards, horses, and lots of other amenities. “They do no advertising,” so a simple Google search won’t get you a room here. Those looking for a city adventure need look no further than Barcelona, where several of the city’s architectural marvels, including the gothic church La Segrada Familia, require advance tickets. “Barcelona has become hugely popular,” she said.

Other favorite activities Meredith loves to recommend to her clients include traditional Spanish cooking classes and trips to local markets for the ingredients, and of course sampling the famous jamon (ham) from the region’s Iberian black pigs who are fed a special diet. “You can’t leave without trying the ham!” she said.

Of course, if what you’re looking for is simply drinking wine and people watching, well, Spain offers plenty of both.

Looking for more tips and insider access for your vacation? Meredith Bley is available at 513.645.1855, or Meredith.Mosser@TheTravelAuthority.com.

Now. I’m going to pack my bags.

Living at Optimum Speed

Those of you who know me know that I run at about 220 volts most of the time, whereas most of my friends and family seem to run on the more reasonable 120 volts (think, a 60-watt lightbulb). Sometimes they have trouble keeping up with my… enthusiasm for everything.

Healthy for the Holidays

A week from today, most of us will be gathered with family, friends and loved ones, enjoying whatever our respective traditional Thanksgiving feast looks like. Whether that’s turkey, ham, spaghetti (yes, some folks go rogue) or vegan lentil loaf, the day will probably include a bit of indulgence. And that’s okay. Most experts seem to agree that occasional indulgence is a good thing, and can help keep you on track with your healthy eating in the long run.

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