What is five years anyway?
When I started to write the Weekly, I had no idea how it would end; I could barely figure out how it would begin. The idea of communicating with you regularly made a lot of sense to me. The previous iteration of this medium was a monthly version of The Ultimate Guide for the Successful Steward, or ‘Steward’ for short. And while I love the Steward, the process of putting together a professional-quality print-and-mail newsletter every month eventually led to me feeling that the production realities were making it difficult to concentrate on the actual content. In other words, I’d rather spend the time and effort writing a meaningful piece than determining how to curate five or six articles to fit perfectly on a six-page layout. As a result, the Fourth Dimension Weekly was born. I introduced it to you on March 13th, 2015 as ‘bite-sized’ content rather than a full meal every time. And it turned out to be just that.
Fast forward five years and there’s now a body of work that includes 260 Weekly articles. Add to that the Steward articles dating back to 2012, the Retirement Advisor Magazine column I’ve written, the Beyond The Money column I continue to write in the Suburban Press, our 401(k) newsletter called Advance, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and more, and I can roughly count 535 articles on the subject of money, personal finance, retirement, and live chipmunk hijinks. Oh, and I also wrote a retirement planning book in the midst of all of that. So, I hope you’ll not judge me too harshly when I admit that I need a breather from all of this writing.
So, what is five years anyway? In the five years that I’ve been delivering the Weekly to you, the five men in our office have added nine children to our families. That’s NINE new humans that we’re responsible for! And if you’re counting, we now have a total of twenty children among us. The stock market, as measured by the Dow, has grown from 17,749 to roughly 29,000 as I write this. That’s an increase of 53%! We moved offices from the suite next door, and Dave grew out his hair. It’s amazing what can happen in five years.
I never set out to be a financial writer, per se. It just happened. I’ve always placed you, the aspiring or current retiree, at the top of my priority list. Helping you to think about retirement and the dynamics of planning a successful one was and is the most important work that I do. The writing has just been a part of that equation. Having been blessed to surround myself with some of the finest people I’ve ever met – and can call them my colleagues and teammates – I really do feel that we’re uniquely positioned to carry out our planning work at a very high level for you. None of that changes while I rest my keyboard.
Admittedly, I’ve struggled to understand whether it’s more selfish to stop writing to you every week or to keep writing. There are many, many days when I prepare to hit ‘send’ on the Weekly and think to myself, “They can’t possibly want to hear any more of my ramblings”. Then, to my surprise, I’ll receive some of the nicest replies sharing how that particular topic resonated with you. It seems as though the more risk I take and the more vulnerable I allow myself to be, the more we connect with one another. Then I become afraid of risk and vulnerability and write a stock market article that bores many of you to tears. To say it another way, I’m very human and this can be very challenging for me. But I love it all the while.
So just to be painfully clear, I’m taking a break from this Weekly thing. Next Friday at 9:00 AM, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see an email from me lurking in your inbox. In the event that you find yourself missing the Weekly, please rest assured that there’s plenty of content available for you to peruse. You can see all of the past articles here on our website. Not only can you read the Weekly articles, but the Steward articles are there as well. You can read my book here. You can wait patiently for the next book that’s coming which will be a compendium of all of these articles. Or, you can just email me and we’ll chat. Send me your questions and comments and you’ll know that we’re only an email or phone call away.
Thanks for reading and for your attention over the years. Thanks to Dave Bensch and Haley Wilkins for their amazing support and assistance. This isn’t over; it’s just a time to refresh and recharge. And we’ll see you in our office soon for your next progress review.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®