Year in Review

This year, we survived terrorist attacks in Paris, at Charlie Hebdo, in San Bernardino, and other locations around the world. In 2015 we learned that the abbreviation ISIS is synonymous with evil. The Syrian Civil War and refugee crisis grew worse. The Nepal earthquakes took countless lives and, although it seems like years ago, the Greek debt crisis went out with a whimper in 2015.

The U.S. Presidential race dominates much of the discourse today, as it did through most of 2015. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court approved marriage equality and Colorado and Washington complete a full year of marijuana legalization. This year, we saw protests in Baltimore, violence in many places, notably Charleston and Tennessee, and debates over the many meanings of the Confederate flag.

In 2015, most markets behaved normally. That is to say, when reaching into the bag of random returns, for stocks, bonds, and real estate they were all within a standard deviation of their average. Oil is a notable exception, having dropped twice in a year, in percentage terms, what it usually drops maybe once a decade. We benefit from low oil prices, although we often forget that, as we watch the news and feel afraid.

Although none of us is likely to jump up and down for joy with this year's investment gains or losses, neither should we feel distraught. Instead, let's reaffirm that our financial plans are in place and that our goals and values are in alignment with our investments. Visit with our advisors, make sure we understand the way decisions are being made on our behalf, express our thanks and focus on what we do best, spending time on what means the most to us.

As for me, I end the year optimistic. I posit that the U.S. is stronger at the end of 2015 than we were at the beginning, in countless ways. The progress on all issues raised in the headlines feels, at times, alarmingly fast and, at others, frustratingly slow, and so our progress is likely just about the pace it is meant to be. Financially speaking, we are relatively more strong than any other country in the world. We are stronger than we ever have been we and more aware of our fragility, and more grateful than just a few years ago.

Thank you for another wonderful year, clients and friends, and here's to a great 2016!

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