“If I could work my will, every idiot that goes about with “Mer­ry Christ­mas” on his lips, should be boiled with his own pud­ding, and buried with a stake of hol­ly through his heart!”…Ebenez­er Scrooge

Does this sound like any­one you know?  While it is from the orig­i­nal Charles Dickens’s, “A Christ­mas Car­ol,” I like to attribute it to my favorite Scrooge, Mr. Magoo.  If you haven’t seen this hilar­i­ous ani­mat­ed clas­sic, try You Tube or find the DVD.  It is one of my favorite Christ­mas lines, but not so much because I am cranky, but because it tells a great sto­ry.

Depend­ing on how you look at it, Scrooge either had it all or had noth­ing.  He lived in a huge house, had a suc­cess­ful busi­ness, and spent his time count­ing his “crowns and cop­pers”.  Of course he had time for all of this because that was all he had.  His friends and loved ones had aban­doned him and the towns­folk had trou­ble know­ing whether to hate him or pity him.

Scrooge need­ed bal­ance between suc­cess and hap­pi­ness.  At Mack­ey Advi­sors™ we work with clients to estab­lish this bal­ance every day.  If you have been through our patent­ed The Pros­per­i­ty Expe­ri­ence® process, you know that it’s not just about mon­ey.  Where­as some advi­sors make it their premise to deter­mine how much you can save and how much risk you can take, we make it our premise to help blaze a path for finan­cial hap­pi­ness.  We like to call that pros­per­i­ty.

How pros­per­i­ty is defined is unique to each indi­vid­ual.  For exam­ple, in this age of record low inter­est rates, often refi­nanc­ing and pay­ing a mort­gage for its dura­tion makes the most finan­cial sense.  How­ev­er, if you are prepar­ing to retire or debt sim­ply caus­es you fear, a rec­om­men­da­tion to you might be to pay off the debt and own your home free and clear.  A plan­ning process can enable you to imple­ment this rec­om­men­da­tion and still know your life is on track to meet your goals, even if it may not yield the high­est account bal­ance at the end of the day.  What is most impor­tant to you?  Sleep­ing at night with­out fear of debt, or pass­ing along a larg­er estate.  There is no “cor­rect” answer there is only the answer that works best for you.

A few years back in the dol­drums of the 2008 stock mar­ket crash, we imple­ment­ed a strat­e­gy for some retirees that split the fixed income assets they were draw­ing income from apart from their equi­ty invest­ments into a sep­a­rate account.  The asset allo­ca­tion remained the same; how­ev­er it made it eas­i­er for many to see that their fixed income assets could sup­port them for 5 years or more while their more volatile equi­ty invest­ments could ride the mar­kets as they should long term.  Many clients expressed a piece of mind brought about by see­ing the account they were draw­ing their liv­ing from only declin­ing by their with­draw­al amounts, and not the volatil­i­ty of the stock mar­ket.

Through a process explor­ing con­cepts such as these one can often see that finan­cial con­tent­ment (and suc­cess) doesn’t always mean max­i­miz­ing an account val­ue.  So, what if Scrooge had start­ed with a plan?  Might he have spent more time with his beau­ti­ful Belle and avoid­ed los­ing her?  Would he have tak­en a few more vaca­tions away from the stress of his busi­ness?  Could he have seen that he could be char­i­ta­ble and respect­ed by the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty in his town and still been wild­ly pros­per­ous?  Per­haps even still have a chest full of gold?  Grant­ed, maybe an atti­tude adjust­ment brought on by a sleep­less night of three spir­its was inevitable, but he could have made a plan with an 80, 90, or even 100 per­cent chance of suc­cess of avoid­ing such ghost­ly appari­tions.

This hol­i­day sea­son we could take some lessons from this fun­ny sto­ry.  Be gen­er­ous, but also be smart when mak­ing your last minute hol­i­day pur­chas­es.  The stock mar­ket is still a good val­ue, so con­sid­er buy­ing stock as a gift.  I made this same pro­pos­al in Decem­ber 2008.  Let’s see how we would have done with a $50.00 stock gift:

Dow Jones                            $100.54 up 101.07%

S&P 500                                  $113.78 up 127.56%

NASDAQ                               $158.74 up 217.47%

Now that is a gift that keeps on giv­ing!  Con­sid­er your Christ­mas wish this sea­son and con­sid­er the wish­es of those around you.  Help some­one either though gen­eros­i­ty or edu­ca­tion, find “Enough­ness” and ulti­mate­ly pros­per­i­ty.

This hol­i­day sea­son give your­self the gift of pros­per­i­ty.  This may mean giv­ing more to char­i­ty, tak­ing a few days off to spend with fam­i­ly, or invest­ing in your future by start­ing off 2016 with a Pros­per­i­ty Plan™.  Eval­u­ate what is most impor­tant to you and your loved ones and go do it with a smile.  Most of all have a safe, joy­ous, and mem­o­rable hol­i­day sea­son!

PS:  In case you missed it, be sure to check out the PNC Christ­mas Price Index.  Every year the econ­o­mists at PNC arm us with every­thing we need to pur­chase the “12 Days of Christ­mas” for our friends and loved ones.  So take a few min­utes and have a lit­tle fun, espe­cial­ly if French hens and leap­ing lords are on your list for some­one spe­cial.