It’s Not a Race: Considerations for a New Year

Tom Levinson Life with Money

One recent, unseasonably mild late afternoon, I hopped on my bicycle toward my regular mid-week basketball game. A main nearby boulevard has a bike lane, and heading out, I felt great. A comfortable breeze. A nice, easy pace.

As I pedaled, I could feel, over my left shoulder, an approaching presence. I turned to look, and what I saw was, candidly, pretty humbling. Steadily gaining on me: an older man, mid-60s, wearing a canvas raincoat and matching fedora and riding a simple 3-speed. He had “professor” written all over him. Notwithstanding his academic garb, ho-hum bike, and (ahem) seniority, he was pedaling comfortably and still passing me easily.

My immediate reflex reaction: you can’t lose to Mr. Chips! Go faster, pump your legs harder. And for a moment, I did.
Until I asked myself, what are you doing? An exceedingly dapper older guy passed you – so what? Just because he’s going faster (while looking better) doesn’t mean my ride needs to become a sprint. So I took a breath, and watched him pedal away.

It is surprisingly easy for our financial lives to follow a similar pattern. You’re on your own trajectory when suddenly, some new thing emerges, or your neighbor brings home a [fill in the blank], and instinctively, you register yourself in a race you never intended to sign up for.

At Park Piedmont, one important role we play as your advisors is to help you discern your goals, your timeline, and your values, then keep you focused on reaching them. Our financial lives are not a competition – not with other people, and not with some other, idealized version of ourselves. We don’t need to race anyone else.

As we say farewell to 2022 and look ahead to the new year, we thank you for the opportunity to work together and look forward to continuing to be your trusted advisors.

While we can’t predict what the new year will bring, we can share one coming attraction. Early in the new year we will be releasing our first Park Piedmont book on investing. We have been working on this project for several years. It has been a real labor of love, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy new year.