Letters to Our Clients
At about 7:12 in the morning on August 16, 1960, Colonel Joseph W. Kittenger II stepped forward out of his open-aired gondola that was connected to a weather balloon, 102,800 feet above the surface of the Earth. A camera attached to the gondola snapped a picture of him falling towards the clouds in his experimental pressurized suit, and this became the cover of the August 1960 issue of Life magazine. You can find the photo online, along with video footage of the jump and all of the preparation leading up to it.
Have you ever suddenly become aware of some part of your identity or personality that makes you cringe once you notice it? Something about yourself that was revealed in a moment of insight that makes you grit your teeth or blurt out “ew!” A great and funny example that comes to mind for me is when you realize you’ve become your parents, like in the Progressive insurance commercials. Well, I’ve come to realize that a risk manager is probably not always the most fun person to be around. Don’t ask what I think about traffic, wait-times, chances of winning, survival rates, or the weather, unless of course you are looking for worst-case scenarios. I don’t usually start with what could go right.
We’ve all heard it before… “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” Currently everyone has their eye on both, as we’re watching the tax proposals, including estate tax changes, from the Biden administration, and wondering what’s coming and how we will all be affected. I’m going to give a brief update on where things are with that, but I think it’s important to remember that currently the tax proposals are just that… proposals. There is much negotiation to come. So while we can pay attention and do our best to be prepared for what’s to come, we must also realize that we cannot plan for everything. Yes, changes will come. And we will continue to re-evaluate as they do.
Things are better and the future is brighter, but everything is still a little chaotic. Chaos is found in each of our different, partitioned pieces of life, be that our country, state, city, workplace, or individual homes. Even though we’ve had the pandemic to blame a big portion of the chaos on over the past year and a half, I believe we would all agree that when we get down to it, life in general is pretty chaotic. With or without a global pandemic, or warring political parties, administrations, and countries… life is messy, and a big portion of our time and energy is futilely spent trying to tame it.
I grew up a “gamer.” I was right there at the beginning. I remember playing Atari video games, including Pong, at four years old with Mom, her sister, and the neighbor next door. I thought it was the best day of my life when Mom and Dad got me a Nintendo for my birthday (yes, just Nintendo… the original). I spent the next many months playing Super Mario Brothers (again, just Super Mario Brothers).
Well, we have almost reached the end of this wildly frustrating year. Christmas is right around the corner, and I’m hoping all of you are able to spend some time with family, whether in person or through connections from a distance. I’m also hopeful that 2021 will shine a little brighter than 2020 and be a little easier for all of us.
Kendall J. Anderson, CFA, Founder
Justin T. Anderson, President