It’s a season for giving thanks. And we wanted to thank you, our dear clients and friends, for allowing us to do what we love every day.
We’re thankful for the opportunity to work toward a mission that we truly believe in — helping families and communities articulate, underwrite, and fully embrace their great lives.
Please know that at Thanksgiving and always, we’re grateful for you.
May the good things in life be yours in abundance throughout the holiday season.
The NorthStar Team
If you could be alive at any time in history, when would it be? Would you choose to live right now? Objectively, things aren’t easy for most of us right now. We’re facing social, economic, health, and environmental crises. With all the chaos of today, it can be tempting to lean on nostalgia and believe previous generations had it better or easier. And it can make us long for what seem like simpler times.
We may be too focused on the details to see the big picture. With a look at how far we’ve come, we can more clearly see how good we have it and how things, in many ways, really are getting better.
Consider these seven reasons life is actually the best it’s ever been.
#1 Life Expectancy
We’re living long than people have ever lived before. Worldwide, more than 3 in every 4 people live to be at least 65 years old. In the US, life expectancies for men and women have increased by more than 10 years since 1950. That’s 10 more years the generations before us didn’t have to enjoy retirement, spend time with family, and take in more of the life’s wonders.
#2 Health Care & Medicine
Progress in medicine and health care is one of the reasons we’re living longer than ever. In fact, since 1980, MRIs have been invented, smallpox was eradicated, artificial hearts were developed, and the human genome was sequenced. These and other advancements have done more than just extend the length of people’s lives. They’ve also compressed end-of-life decline, meaning people live better lives longer.
#3 Poverty & Income
Globally, poverty rates have dropped by more than 50% since 2000. In the U.S., 8.4 million people have risen out of poverty since 2014. Also promising, average earnings in the U.S. have increased nearly 20-fold since the 1950s. Adjusting for inflation, some experts say wages have grown by at least 35%, increasing Americans’ purchasing power today when compared to 70 years ago.
Technological advancements have changed so much of how we live and navigate the world. Since 1950 alone, new technology has brought us credit cards, artificial intelligence, the internet, electric cars, cellphones, and GPS technology. These and other innovations have made our lives easier, safer, and better. In fact, while new tech can save time and reduce effort, it can also help save lives.
Despite the headlines, over the last 25 years, crime has dropped dramatically in the U.S. Violent crime, like assault, robbery, and homicide, has fallen by more than 51% since 1993. Over the same period, property crime, like theft and fraud, has followed the same trend, dropping by more than 54%.
#6 Working Conditions
Labor conditions and laws have come a long way since the early 1900s, creating safer environments with better protections for workers. From safety regulations and wage laws to discrimination and child labor laws, U.S. workers are better protected than ever. Beyond safety, workplaces are also more diverse than ever before. In fact, the U.S. workforce has seen a surge of older workers, minorities, and women over the past 25 years.
#8 Quality of Life
Quality of life has improved sharply over the last 100 years, with astounding improvements in living standards across all socio-economic divides. In fact, the average standard of living in the U.S. today would have been envied by even the greatest rulers two centuries ago.
By most standards, we’re living longer, happier, better lives than our great-great-grandparents did.
We’re dealing with more uncertainty than most of us have ever faced before. And as the months drag on, the stress of not knowing what comes next is taking a toll.
How do we make smart decisions when we’re stressed out and everything is uncertain?
We made a quick video talking about what we can learn from how Navy SEALs deal with stress and uncertainty.
|Chris Mullis, Ph.D., CDFA®
I hope you’ll allow me to share something very special with you. Fourteen years ago today we launched our financial planning and wealth management practice framed upon three starkly beautiful motivations:
Helping families articulate, underwrite, and fully embrace their great lives is a profound mission that we take up with unyielding energy and commitment.
We are deeply grateful for all of the people who’ve helped us on our journey. From the early clients who trusted us from the get go to our friends and family who’ve lent their support in more ways than we can list here. We would not be where we are without each and every one of them.
It has been an exciting and educational arc of experience. As we look back, here are three essential lessons that we have learned:
The bedrock of our enterprise remains, and will always be, the following:
Thoughtful planning and disciplined investing can be the keys that unlock incredible potential for the good of our clients, their families, and their cherished communities.
As we look forward to the decades to come of serving our clients and our community, know that we are constantly working to deliver superior financial outcomes and to see our clients live their best lives.
Thank you for allowing me to share this milestone and these thoughts with you. Here’s to your continued success!
With gratitude for the past and optimism for the future,
|Chris Mullis, Ph.D., CDFA®
So much is unknown.
Do we reopen or wait?
Are we past the peak? Or just over the first summit of a mountain range?
Are we safe yet?
After weeks of restrictions, it’s easy to feel that we’re swirling in a maelstrom of uncertainty, helpless to make decisions when so much remains unknown and out of our control.
The uncertainty, the personal losses many have experienced, and the everyday challenges of socially distant life can shake our foundation and cause us to lose touch with what’s most important.
I think that’s normal. We’ve traded a trip on the highway for an off-roading adventure. And we don’t know where it’s going to take us this year.
So let’s lean into the uncertainty. Let’s embrace it and use it as a wake-up call to explore and appreciate what really matters.
Our health. Our family, friends, and loved ones. Our home. Our community. Our compassion and creativity. Our resilience as human beings.
As for me, I have some moments of frustration, but I’m staying grounded by playing outside with our kids and working in the yard.
I’m also learning a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I really enjoy sitting face-to-face in the same room with clients, friends, and colleagues. I’ve learned that I’m not “camera ready” for Zoom meetings nor remote TV interviews, but I’m humbly trying to get better.
I’m working on gratitude and enjoying simple things like dinner-time conversations, our weekly visit with my parents, and fresh air.
I’m grateful to have a wonderful family, a comfortable home (aka The Bunker) and deeply meaningful work.
I’m grateful to have you.
On the professional side, I’m focused on what we can control on our clients’ behalf and staying abreast of what might come next. Our mantra right now is: “one day at a time.”
How are you? I’d love to hear how you are coping. What lessons are you learning about yourself? What have you had the courage to try for the first time? Hit “reply” and let me know.
This pandemic is scary. But it’s also a once-in-a-lifetime chance to hit the “reset” button and connect with the creativity, joy, and good old human ingenuity that can flourish within the limitations of pandemic life.
Eventually, we’ll recover from the pandemic. It’s not clear yet what that will look like, and we’ll likely see more hard days before we get there. Businesses will reopen, people will go back to work, the recession will pass, and the country will rebuild.
We will heal. But some marks will remain as reminders of our experience.
The Great Depression taught people to clip coupons and “make do or go without.” 9/11 upended our travel rituals and awareness of terrorism.
Some lessons from the pandemic will stay with us long after the immediate crisis fades. Some will be unconscious; maybe we’ll become a society of dutiful hand washers and social distancers.
Others will be lessons we consciously take with us about our values and ability to adapt to circumstances far beyond our control.
I’m hopeful and excited to see what we learn. Let’s make it good.
How has the pandemic changed your perspective? What new values and priorities will you bring out of your experiences? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
|Chris Mullis, Ph.D.
NorthStar Capital AdvisorsFinancial Planning.
P.S. Do you know someone who is having a hard time and could use some financial advice? We’re holding a few spots open for folks who could use a professional’s help. If you can think of someone, please reply to this email or call (704) 350-5028 to let me know.
P.P.S. And don’t forget about our special COVID-19 pro bono planning we created to support individuals and families who can’t afford fiduciary advice and financial planning.