Don’t Give Up on America
Courtesy Landmark Bank, Texoma LIVING WELL Magazine
There are a lot of people out there, many with a fist-full of credentials, who are intimating that the glory days of the United States are over. Some liken us to the Roman Empire—and you know what happened to them.
Others are saying that where our financial stability and future is concerned, the U.S. may have to merge with Canada and Mexico in order to remain viable in the marketplace. Still others say that the “next big depression” is just around the corner. We’ve become dysfunctional: We’re soft, overextended, and are being beaten from the inside by our global competitors.
To put it bluntly, the word out is that we’re in decline.
If you have come to believe all or some of this rhetoric, you may think that as a country, we’re about to implode. Soon we will collapse upon ourselves in a resounding heap, leaving only a cloud of dust.
There’s one problem with all this talk: It’s simply not true.
Though the cynics may continue to pour it on, many are not as smart as they think they are. And don’t forget that some of the so-called media mavens, skeptics, doubters and cry-wolf types may be pushing all their doom and gloom on us because it sells. Whether or not it’s true is irrelevant.
Actually, we’re in much better shape than you might think. We’re awash in natural resources, both raw and human. We have the materiel, power and self-sufficiency in many areas that are critical to sustaining and building on life. That instinctive drive, present when this country was first developed, lives on.
Our capital is strong.
Generally speaking we are, taken as a group, a very literate bunch. We skew on the young side, and we’re not afraid of hard work. We have tons of money flowing in and out of our markets daily, being used for the most part by honest people searching for the best ideas. We have the genes; and in our 237 years we’ve developed a solid society.
It’s all part of the American Spirit, equipped with an always-evolving roadmap that helps us remain proactive.
The financial advisors at Landmark Bank—the portfolio managers, investment specialists and wealth management counselors, don’t buy into this negative news. No matter what mindset their customers might possess, the men and women at Landmark use facts to support what they say. They read, watch and listen to judge the pulse of the markets. And in building a relationship with customers, they try to show simply and conclusively now that we’ve gotten through a difficult period, it’s time to move up.
What problems we had (and still have to a lesser degree) were mostly self-inflicted. But we’ve learned from our mistakes, and it’s starting to pay off. Recognizing this, Landmark officers are utilizing a team perspective—to provide solid, useful and learned advice. This increases the possibility for any lingering problems that can now be easily addressed and eventually shed. The establishment of a long-term regulated approach is the ultimate goal—whether you’re a young adult just coming in to your own, someone in retirement who seeks greater safety, security and sense of well-being, or anyone in between.
That no-frills, but friendly and fact-based philosophy is part of the mission of the Landmark Bank advisor sitting across the desk from you.
Each client of the Bank is unique, with their own needs, wants, goals and objectives special to him or her. So before a representative begins talking turkey, they seek to earn trust as they learn more about their customer as an individual.
Knowing each other and communicating effectively is critical. It makes the process of discussing education funding, investments, estate planning, wealth management, charitable giving and in general, sound financial advice and counsel, much easier.
To remain true to the premise of what the Landmark Bank folks think—based on what’s actually happening in the marketplace, representatives must go at it straight—admitting that things, while improving daily, were recently lousy. The world began to get shaky about a decade ago: it got worse, but then started turning around. It continues that evolution, and we’ve survived the battle. Now we’re positioned to hopefully win the war.
Today, in an understandable reaction to what’s been happening—individuals, families, institutions and companies are holding on to too much of their cash. In many ways, this is good, but it does keep the economy from moving up faster than it is presently.
At the same time, employment, especially in the private sector, is growing steadily, while service in government has been falling, albeit very slowly—again, all good signs. As Landmark financial advisors work hard to earn their customer’s trust, it’s their job to deliver this array of messages, to ensure complete understanding. We stress this because part of the officer’s job is to remove the burden—and often the worry—from a client’s mind. If they can instill that stress-free feeling in the customers they serve, the customer can move forward with greater confidence, and begin working on plans to enjoy the fruits of their labors, to build more, or sit back and enjoy their retirement.
Nick Thurwanger, vice president and portfolio manager at Landmark’s Columbia office, said, “American ingenuity is not dead. The American dream, where anyone can accomplish anything in this country, is still alive and well in the hearts of all of us. This allows us to look at problems as opportunities rather than road blocks. It is this mindset that has allowed us to grow into the great nation that we are today and I think will continue to give us a competitive advantage over other countries. This, along with our strong defense of property rights, is a huge part of why most technological advancements occur within our borders.”
As educated and properly trained financial advisors, the investment and wealth management officers at the Landmark Banks are always on point. Included in the information they have at hand is an understanding of our country’s singularity. With our abundance of available natural resources, we could, if we had to, stand alone. The majority of the other developed countries can’t make this claim. Though we’ve lost manufacturing opportunities to areas like the Far East and Latin America, it’s happened before—but its effects are never forever.
And you can add to this that even with the upheaval and wildly maverick positions that have raged rampant through the stock market recently, new highs were set this year. Compare this with other markets, many of which are either in desperate condition, down or flat. But if some people feel that the market might still be too low, there’s always the “buying low and selling high” philosophy, which is what helped put Mr. Buffett where he is today.
America is a pretty good place to invest now, and for the future. Those at Landmark Bank who work in the financial sector know and believe this. Taking into account the ups and downs and the actual truth regarding what is going on in the world today, and how the United States still shines in it—means that we all have a real chance for a brighter future.
Living and investing in America, and extending one’s roots in what is to many people still the greatest country in the world is a sound move. It’s not only a great place to invest domestically and globally, it has much more going for it than it lacks.
Given all these factors, the America of today and tomorrow presents us all with one of the best investment opportunities in the world.
In fact and in retrospect, the so-called “decline of America” rhetoric may be a good thing to have around, and might be looked upon as a kind of vital sign. As with all such signals, each has a waterline point, where the only direction to go is up—an incentive to pursue as we make our return to stability, harmony and steady growth.
With all the discussion of where things actually are and have been, looking at it objectively is a form of self-criticism. And self-criticism helps keep us healthy. While the United States is not perfect by a long shot, as Americans we still strive for that ideal. It’s the only way to go, which we’ve proven time and time again for over 20 decades.
Don’t give up on it.
Landmark Bank is a community bank with $1.8 billion in assets in 41 locations in 27 communities across Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. For more information, visit www.landmarkbank.com or call 800-618-5503.