Giving Thanks

Last week I mentioned a Tim Ferriss Podcast hosted by AJ Jacobs on 10 ways to build gratitude.  I’ve been putting one of them to use since listening to it, and succeeding in accomplishing two things at once.

About a year ago, when Fident really started taking off with new clients coming on-board, I started not being able to sleep at night, mostly thinking about all the things that needed to still get done.  I’ve never suffered from the inability to fall asleep before in my life.  But my mind would race at night and fill me with anxiety of the things left undone.

So Jacobs’ idea of counting the alphabet with something we’re grateful for was a huge find for me.  I’ve found my mind not just at ease now on the pillow, but filled with more tranquility.  I try not to repeat the same items each time, but here’s how I started last night:

A - Adrianna, our daughter
B - Ben, our 2nd son 
C- Coffee, hot and strong in the chilly morning
D - Dad, for mine, as well as the ability to be a dad to my kids
E - Electricity….

And so forth.  I think of the person/item/blessing, picture it for a few seconds in my mind, and move on.  I usually make it to Q or S or something before I'm asleep.

Simple.  Perhaps maybe silly simple.  But effective.  My mind and my heart are focusing on things to be grateful for, and less on stressful things on my to do list tomorrow.  

Bonus: another way you can build gratitude is by being generous.  Today’s a great day to do so through Lancaster’s Extraordinary Give event.  Last year the Extra Give raised over $8.6M for local charitable organizations in 24 hours, and the year before did $7.1M.  Give two of my favorites a look: Men of Iron and HOPE International.  (Full disclosure I serve on the board of Men of Iron.) 
Interesting Resources 

1. Wes Moss - The New Verdict on the 4% Rule for Retirement
Big thanks to Fident Friday reader R.S. for sending this my way this week.  Moss takes a renewed look at the rule of thumb that retirees can safely take out 4% of their portfolio balance in year one of retirement and increase that amount every year to account for inflation, assuming at least 50-75% allocation in stocks.  Plenty of financial media outlets have bashed this rule, originally posted in 1994, saying it’s unrealistic in today’s environment.  The quick summary: it still works, even for retirements that start right before a big bear market like we saw in 2000 and in 2008.  

2. Seth Godin - Simply Awake
This entire post is probably only slightly longer than my usual recaps, so I’d encourage you to give it a read yourself.  It really challenged be to be more focused on seeking a state of “awake” … not groggy, not zoned out, not hyper.  Aware of what’s around us... “Hearing them as if for the first time.”  

3. Dimensional Fund Advisors - Recent Market Volatility (one minute video, text as well)
October was a wild month in the stock market, with the S&P 500 dropping almost 9% before rallying back to be down close to 7% for the month.  It’s times like these when we need a good reminder of longer time periods of returns in the stock market.  Looking at research of US markets since 1979, the average intra-year decline was about 14%.  Half of any given year had declines of more than 10%, a third had declines of more than 15%, and despite this calendar year returns were positive in 33 out of the 39 years examined.  The chart below shows the intra-year gains and declines along with the calendar year return (shaded in blue).
Hard to believe next week is Thanksgiving - and I want to express my thanks for your attention.  Feel free to reply back with your thoughts - sharing our gratitude makes the feelings all the more stronger.

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