Reflections on where we are, and an index to come next time
As this unexpectedly different and long year comes to a close, let’s take a break from thinking about the themes of these blog posts. We’ve come through a year that we could never have anticipated when it started, because of Covid-19 and its impact not only on the world’s health but on many aspects of our individual lifestyles.
Fortunately we now have the prospect of vaccines to help us cope. Everyone calls this the light at the end of the tunnel. But there’s still a distance to be travelled in the tunnel. I’m reminded of something Churchill said at a turning point in World War 2. He said: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Today I see vaccines as a turning point, but (at least in my view) the end doesn’t arrive until Covid is more or less eradicated everywhere, and the beginning of the end is when the vaccines’ use becomes widespread and the number of daily new cases of Covid shrinks rapidly.
By the way, just in case you’re thinking that quote implies I must have an excellent memory, may I inform you that I wasn’t around when Churchill said that (I arrived a couple of years later), and it’s my reading rather than my memory that prompts the quote!
I reviewed my previous year-end blog posts before writing this one, and last year’s one, in which I mentioned so many people and events that I’m grateful for in my life [https://donezra.com/93-why-im-grateful/] got to me as a reminder of how lucky a life I’ve had. Unexpectedly, searching for it was also a reminder of how many different topics these posts have covered – and how difficult it is (even for me) to find my way to a specific one that I’m looking for.
So … by the end of the year I undertake to complete an index of all the posts up to now, under headings that identify broad topics, and with each listing containing the initial blurb and the takeaway, and I’ll publish it in the new year. My goal is that you’ll be able to find a post easily under the topic it covers, and see exactly what each listing is about in a little more detail than just the title conveys. Many of you have told me that you keep a file of all the posts – well, I hope this one index will replace that file, or at least dramatically reduce its size … until future posts start to add up.
Meanwhile, I wish you a happy holiday season, whatever holiday you celebrate, and a healthy and lucky new year. As one of my favourite podcasts (Freakonomics) always ends: Until then, take care of yourself, and – if you can – someone else too.
I have written about retirement planning before and some of that material also relates to topics or issues that are being discussed here. Where relevant I draw on material from three sources: The Retirement Plan Solution (co-authored with Bob Collie and Matt Smith, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), my foreword to Someday Rich (by Timothy Noonan and Matt Smith, also published by Wiley, 2012), and my occasional column The Art of Investment in the FT Money supplement of The Financial Times, published in the UK. I am grateful to the other authors and to The Financial Times for permission to use the material here.