True story from a friend who has a daughter and son, ages about 4 and 7. This December, they each wrote a letter to Santa Claus. I don’t know what they said, but my friend liked them so much she wanted to keep them. Hoping the letters would find their way back home, she sneakily left off the postage, provided a vague mailing address, and made sure the return address was crystal clear.
Her daughter had other plans. “But, Mommy,” she observed. “It doesn’t say ‘Santa’ on it.”
Busted. My friend still managed to omit the postage, but she had to add an address – “To Santa” – and off they went.
As hoped for, the postal service did return the letters … although not in the “Return to Sender” format you’d expect. Instead, both letters had been removed from their original envelopes and inserted into a single new envelope addressed to the household. Along with the letters was a new one – from Santa!
Santa encouraged my friend’s daughter to be kind, and offered up some advice for her son as well, who cautiously observed, “Well, I didn’t used to believe, but I might have to now.” As you can imagine, the four-year-old was blown away by the personal reply; she will no doubt think twice the next time she’s choosing between naughty or nice.
What has this got to do with your role as an investment advisor? Call me Scrooge, but I still don’t believe in Santa Claus. I’m more inclined to believe there’s one or more wonderful postal workers – or maybe community volunteers – who take the time to respond to this sort of correspondence. To me, that’s even more miraculous. These anonymous, but very real individuals are surely touching lives in so many positive ways they will never know about. They must act on faith that what they’re doing matters.
There’s the connection for you. As we press on the accelerator to another busy year filled with market swings, global turmoil, and personal challenges alike, take a refreshing moment to realize this:
Every act of kindness you extend is important to someone.
Each piece of solid advice you offer contributes to everyone’s well-being.
Each time you need to be brave, and make the right choice instead of the easy one in your personal and professional life, your decision counts.
So, as “Santa” said, let’s be kind instead of careless. Let’s be honest, even when others seem to get ahead with a lie. Let’s be fiduciary, not because it’s the law, but because it matters. More than you are ever likely to know.
Happy New Year to you all!