As the curtain falls on this decade, many are looking back and saying "good riddance." Can't say I blame them. It has been a rough decade for many.
We entered the decade worried about Y2K. It began with hanging chads and the dot-com bust, 9/11 and the war in Iraq. We had Hurricane Katrina, the housing ponzi scheme that led to the housing bust and the near collapse of our financial system. The fall of Enron, Worldcom and Arthur Anderson near the beginning of the decade and Lehman, Bear Stearns near the end. We had two major stock market crashes and recessions. One was even dubbed The Great Recession.
Not for me. This was the decade in which I met and married my wife. I saw my two nephews born, making me an uncle, my parents grandparents, and beginning the next generation in my family.
While long hours cause some to lose themselves in their career, this decade I found myself in my career. I am satisfied every day that my clients' lives are at least a little bit better because of the work done in our office. Ten years ago, I could not have said that. Ten years ago, I was worried about making a commission.
I have always believed that adversity leads to learning. If that is true, our country has a lot to learn from this decade. And I believe we have.
We learned that in the darkest of moments, patriotism still lives in America. When we are attacked on our own soil, our political, religious and economic differences can be set aside and we can all pull together.
We have learned that housing prices don't just go up by double digits every year forever. That you should actually have an income, some money and maybe have decent credit before you buy a house.
We learned that stocks are volatile, and that there is no magic formula. "dot-com" does not ensure success, nor does asset allocation prevent all manner of losses.
We learned that our country is ready to elect an African-American man the president, but may not be ready to let him lead.
We learned that "too big to fail" simply means that they probably shouldn't get that big.
We learned that black swans exist.
I look forward to the next decade, and to learning what we will call it. "The 10s" or "the Teens" or the "Twenty Tens"?
Most of all, I look forward to what we, as a nation, will learn. And what lies ahead for my wife and me.
Happy New Year to you. May all of your dreams come true in the decade ahead.