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Tending your financial garden: How hard work today will let you flourish when it counts

May is a special time, especially here in Kentucky. We spend the first Saturday of the month gathering with friends and family to watch the Kentucky Derby and celebrate our commonwealth. We honor our moms out there on Mother’s Day, our fallen heroes on Memorial Day, and our seniors on Graduation Day. 

Graduation Day is extra meaningful in the Smyth household this year, as I will be celebrating the graduation of my oldest — a wickedly talented young man headed off to find his own path in the world. When you have kids, you dream of the day they grow up and go out on their own, self-sufficient. Now that it’s almost here, I honestly don’t know that I’m ready for it. I’m so excited for him, but I know I won’t get to have nearly the amount of face-to-face time that I’m used to. I just have to hope that the experiences we’ve had together, the lessons I’ve tried to impart over the years, have made their mark. 

At church last Sunday, they reminded the congregation that we’re finally past the last freeze of the spring. Another “special” thing about May in Kentucky is that we experience the entire gamut of weather — from the first real taste of summer heat to the inevitable late-season frost. But, at last, it’s safe to do our gardening, to plant the flowers and shrubs that we hope to enjoy for as long as possible.

So much of gardening is the hard work and growth that takes place underneath the soil — feeding and nurturing our plants so they can build strong roots that will sustain them long after our work is done, allowing us to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Nobody ever comments on the roots, on the quality of the soil, or on the weeding we did that gave them room to grow. All they see is the beauty that lives above the dirt — the finished product.

It’s how I feel about watching my oldest near graduation. His mother and I spent so many years shuttling him back and forth to their extracurricular activities, teaching difficult life lessons, saving money for college, and that has been hard work that often goes unseen. But it’s all worked together to produce a fine young man who is prepared for life outside the home, and maybe to do the same for his own family someday. I now get to sit back and enjoy who he has become. 

Dave, this is nice and all, but isn’t this supposed to be a financial newsletter?

Yes, right. Thank you for allowing me some sentimental space. Let’s tie this all up. 

When I meet with clients, often they can have a sort of one-track mind when it comes to financial needs: How can I limit financial pain and maximize financial gain? And those are important; don’t get me wrong. 

But there are all sorts of financial tasks in our lives that need tending to beyond investing for retirement. We don’t typically throw big parties for updating our beneficiaries. We don’t cut a ribbon when we get our legal documents in order. We don’t invite the family over to dinner to see our budget or our term life insurance. But the work tending to those areas of our life is crucial to planting our financial roots deep and strong so that they can sustain us when it’s finally time to kick up our feet and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Those are the kinds of things that make me so proud of our team at Family Financial Partners. We take a holistic view of our clients’ financial portraits and advise them in the less glamorous aspects that pay dividends in the long run — as well as managing their portfolios to the best of our expertise. 

So let me ask you this: What can you do today to deepen those roots? What unsexy task can you take care of to ensure that you’re just a little bit better prepared for your retirement, for your vacation, for your kid to go to college?

If you need any help identifying those tasks, we’re here for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team today so that we can go over your entire financial portrait and tend to them with you.

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

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