MtM Financial Advisor, Alyssa Young, wrote this column for publication in the September 2022 Holy Cross Lutheran Church newsletter.
Prayerfully Balancing Peace With Planning
My daughter, Juliana, and I just returned from a lovely vacation in Sicily, where we enjoyed spending time with our family who live there while soaking in the magnificent landscapes—and indulging in delicious fresh fruit and refreshing gelato, of course.
Every time I’ve visited our Sicilian relatives, I’ve been struck by the stark contrast in their culture from the uptight hustle bustle of our busy American lives. They’re laid back, they move at a relaxed pace, and they don’t get road rage when someone cuts them off while driving (which happens countless times per trip).
Another example of this difference is their attitude about money. My perception based on observations and a couple of conversations during our stay is that they don’t prioritize saving or investing for the future because they are focused on living in the moment. Yet, they are incredibly generous. (I was scolded each time I got out my wallet to pay for lunch or our afternoon ice cream.) Nor do they have luxurious lifestyles that necessitate large budgets. Instead, they cherish time with family and simple pleasures, such as the sweet, juicy flesh of a fresh fig just picked off the tree.
There are obvious downsides to this lack of planning; retirement is more comfortable when you feel reasonably certain you won’t outlive your money. But, their approach reminds me of what the Bible tells us on this topic.
Matthew 6:25-34 says, “Do not worry about food, drink or clothes; God provides for the birds, flowers and grass. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
The Sicilian way of life reminds me not to dwell on the negative news in the world that can make us feel hopeless. Like Jeremiah 17:7-8 says: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
There is a balance to strike between our American priorities that include saving, investing and planning and the Sicilian focus on the joy we can feel today. A powerful takeaway is not to worry about things we cannot control. This especially applies to your investments during volatile times or a market downturn: Work with someone you trust, choose a strategy that’s appropriate, communicate—and don’t fret about the rest.
I pray you can enjoy the same peace and contentment as my Sicilian family. If I can help you, I would be honored.
Alyssa Young, a Holy Cross member for more than 30 years, is a financial advisor at MtM Financial Group in Lower Nazareth Township. You can reach her at 610-746-7007 or by email at [email protected].
Securities offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA), Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory and tax services offered through MtM Financial Group, LLC which is otherwise unaffiliated with SFA. 4505 Hanoverville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020. SFA does not provide tax or legal advice. Supervising office 888-447-2444.