When people learn of my travels around the world, the question I’m most often asked is the obvious one: What’s my favorite country? My answer has never wavered, The United States of America! I often follow up with, somewhat tongue and cheek, that the garbage gets collected, the power stays on, and toilets always flush in the United States.
My most proud moment as an American happened before we traveled the world. In the decade that preceded our trip I called Washington, D.C., and specifically Capitol Hill, home. Each summer, the Smithsonian Institution celebrates its Folklife Festival; a celebration recognizing a department of the US Government, a US State, and a foreign country. Each summer Jillian and I would spend a few days walking around enjoying the regional and national foods for sale, the cultural shows, and the exhibits. I remember events such as the US Forest Service teaching ‘Dutch Oven Delights’ and an Irish contingent leading a group of unsuspecting tourists in some pretty serious dance moves.
In 2008, the focus was on NASA, Texas, and Bhutan. Many of the Bhutanese who came seemed to be skilled in traditional Bhutanese archery or dance. I suspect many had spent most of their lives near the village in which they were born, for they were wide eyed and curious. I doubt many had previously traveled abroad and I wouldn’t be surprised if not a one had ever made it across an ocean before the festival. Their cultural shows were interesting and beautiful, I learned about their country, and enjoyed some of their cuisine. Eventually I walked into one of the tents NASA had setup to showcase the Apollo program.
In the tent was a man who had dressed Apollo astronauts in their spacesuits prior to launch. He was there to talk about the suit itself. On a display table was an astronaut’s boot. In describing the spacesuit, he shared that this was an actual moonboot, one that had made contact with the lunar surface. A Bhutanese man, in his traditional national dress, picked up the boot and held it for a very long time. This was a man who maybe had never been out of his village, he had now traveled halfway around the world, and was holding carefully in his hand, with great reverence, a shoe that had actually touched the moon.
There is not another country Earth where anything remotely similar could have taken place.
I don’t know what tomorrow’s news will bring, or the next day’s. I do know that after watching the updates from our Capitol on Wednesday I got in my car and drove home. The electricity was on, the trash was [yes, it was actually that day of the week] picked up the next morning, and the toilets appear to still be flushing. These are seemingly insignificant things in an incredibly significant week in US political history. My point is that America, even on one of its worst days, continues to function.
I know that we are a nation who, just like the world in which we belong, is filled with an array of diverse peoples and opinions and that with that diversity comes the occasional wart. I know that diversity also powers markets and allows us to choose between a can of soup or a filet for dinner, a Toyota Prius or a Ford F-150, from among 31 flavors at Baskin Robbins and about 10,000 movies and television shows on dozens of streaming services and channels. Those markets power our government and, recently, a couple of SpaceX rockets as well. As long as the sun continues to rise there will be markets that demand all of these things and that is why we’ll stay invested in this country and across the world. Living our best life now, and planning to continue to do so long into the future.
Live Long and Prosper,
Dan Tobias, CFP®
Please note: The above is a copy of the 2020 Q4 Passport Wealth Management client newsletter attached to quarterly statements from January 2021. The newsletter is published to the website for informational purposes only and is not financial or investment advice. You should consult a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional for financial advice. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Indexes are not available for direct investment. Investing involves risks, including the potential for loss of principal. There is no guarantee that markets will act as they have in the past or that any investment plan or strategy will be successful.
Daniel Tobias is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Professional and a Fee-Only Advisor. He owns Passport Wealth Management, a financial advising firm based in Cornelius, NC that works with clients across the globe. He helps individuals plan for retirement, manage investment portfolios, mitigate taxes, and secure their financial futures. With more than 10 years in the industry, Daniel has spoken nationally on financial planning practice management and has served on the National Association Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) South Regional Board. He resides with his family near Lake Norman in North Carolina where he enjoys mountain biking, hiking and travel.