2016 Annual Letter

If I have seen further, it is only because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. Sir Isaac Newton

I hope this finds you and your family doing well!  Over the course of our lifetime, we are shaped and influenced by many factors.  Certainly playing big roles are our family, our relationships with others, our environment and the cumulative sum of our decisions.  We are enlightened by the people we associate with, the text and experiences we educate ourselves with and the destinations upon which we travel.  

As humans, we connect the most with other people.  Studies suggest there are a handful of individuals that ultimately mold us into the person we become.  These individuals come into our life and have such a profound impact that the magnitude is difficult to quantify.  Earlier this year, one of those people in my life moved on to a greener pasture though in me he is more alive than ever.  My Grandfather, Warren Evans, passed away at the age of 95.  Oh to have 95 good years, which he certainly did.  I wish that and more for all of us.

We enjoyed the special Grandfather/Grandson connection, and, to me, he is larger than life.  I am extremely thankful for our time together and the relationship we shared.  My family continues to celebrate his legacy and surround my Grandmother with love and support as they were married for more than 70 years.

He was a child of the depression and old enough during it to remember the hard times.  At the age of 22, he lit out into the territory to open a drycleaning business that he ran until the leather soles on his dress shoes wore out both knees and he had to go home.  My Father continues the drycleaning legacy today, minus the leather soled shoes, and the business is now more than 73 years old.

Though success is a relative term, I would say that my Grandfather was successful.  Not because of any one particular item, but because the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.  He loved and provided for his family, had a life of service to others spanning the church to numerous public positions, ran a good business, invested well and reinforced it all with positive character traits to win in the game of life.  

He gave me his most precious resource of all, his time.  Our in-depth conversations were frequent and substantive for as long as I can remember.  More than any other subject, we talked finance and investing.  He provided information, and I was a sponge.  We discussed the same time-tested financial principles that I now employ and share with you on a daily basis through my life’s work.  Though the principles are many, I am convinced that he benefited the most from two in particular: perspective of time and the lens through which he saw the world.  

In most arenas, two timeframes exist, short-term and long-term.  I would encourage us to add a third: lifetime.  During my Grandfather’s life, 17 Presidents held office, the United States was involved in 28 conflicts or wars, the nation survived the Great Depression, 9/11, the financial crisis of 2008 and countless other headline news events that are too many to list.  During this period, $1 invested in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (as measured by the ending value of his birth and death months) returned 10.184% with dividends reinvested.  To put this number in perspective, $1 invested turned into more than $10,029 and $10,000 into over $100,290,726.1  Impressive results if you simply stayed the course for the duration.  His timeframe never changed over the years.  If anything, it grew longer ultimately transitioning to multigenerational.  

My Grandfather was an eternal optimist.  His favorite sayings were “things are going to get better” and “everything is going to be alright.”  He used these phrases whether the world was in order or discombobulated, personally or otherwise.  He was well-informed and aware of current events, but he understood that life rarely runs in a straight line.  As a society and economy, we have evolved over the last 240 years since the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were debated and signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  If I had to guess, the same could be said about today 240 years from now.  The noise in between is just that, noise.  I will remain steady, encouraging you to do the same, as we strive to achieve the goals you have for yourself and your family.  By doing so, noise becomes irrelevant and we stay laser focused on your lifetime and multigenerational pursuits.  

Finally, we established a relationship with the Good Shepherd Center of Wilmington during last year’s holiday season to collect food, coats and toys for those in need in our area.  This drive was successful and since the Spring of this year, we have been taking a group to Good Shepherd to help prepare and serve dinner regularly.  This experience has been a lot of fun and very rewarding.  We fed 268 people in 2016.  We had another drive at this year’s Christmas event and donated 196 pounds of food, 17 coats, 33 new children’s toys along with a monetary donation.  Thank you for your generosity, it is greatly appreciated by all involved in the cause.  If you are interested in helping with dinner, please let me know as space is limited in the kitchen.  It is usually a time commitment from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on a weeknight, and we do not even have to wash the dishes.  I promise you it will warm your heart.  

As always, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your family and for being a part of ours.  We hope your 2016 holiday season is the best ever and look forward to a prosperous 2017!



Tim Evans CFP® CLTC