Plenty to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. My mom instilled in us that no Christmas decorations, music, or movies were to appear until the day after Thanksgiving. It saddens me that Christmas season now seems to start the day after Halloween. Our family still follows my mom’s rule, with one exception — we watch Christmas Vacation Thanksgiving night (unless the Broncos are playing, then we watch it a little earlier in the day).


All month, our Marketing Associate, Courtney has been posting some Thanksgiving thoughts from our team member’s on our social media pages. If you haven’t followed us on Facebook & LinkedIn I’d encourage you to do so. She’s really posting some great original content that you won’t find on our website or from most financial advisors. As we pause for Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share some of the things we are thankful for here at SEM in no particular order.


  • Computers: I recently gave a presentation at a Broker/Dealer conference on working with the 3 different generations. For my intro I walked through my experience joining SEM 20 years ago. The changes in technology in that short amount of time have completely transformed our company and allow us to do things I only dreamed of doing when I joined. Our industry is turning into a technology sector. We made the decision to hire a full time Director of Technology to make sure we are handling things correctly AND leveraging technology the best way possible to benefit our SEM team, advisors, and clients.

  • CFA Institute: I knew something was missing from SEM, but wasn’t quite sure what it was. From the moment I started studying for the CFA exam everything started to crystallize. The 2 1/4 years studying and taking the 3 segments of the exam helped us to round out our line-up and create a truly unique investment firm that I’ve yet to see replicated anywhere else in the industry. The CFA Institute’s Continuing Education requirements continue to help shape the direction of our firm and provides us with the latest industry research and best practices.

  • Freedom & Capitalism: I may have some big picture concerns for our country over the next 1 to 12 years, but we still live in the greatest country in the world. Relative to other developed countries we have the most freedoms and the greatest potential to generate future economic growth and prosperity — capitalism. We will get through this social divide. It might be painful as we get there, but my study of our social history tells me this is normal and we will come out stronger on the other side.

  • Millennials: This generation gets a bad rap, but if you think about it every younger generation was criticized by the older generation (even the “greatest generation” the GI generation was thought to be soft, lazy, and over-protected by their parents and grand-parents.) Maybe it’s because I raised 4 Millennials and have 2 amazing Millennial children-in-laws. This has allowed me to hang out with dozens of them as they grew into their adult years. Let me say this — if you haven’t embraced this generation, you are missing out. Their generation has been raised on “group projects”, which means somebody in the group had to lead the group of ‘lazy slackers’. Those group leaders are hard-working, driven, and loyal. You need to find those. We’ve hired three of them in the past two years and they are already making a big impact in all aspects of our company. The trick? Give them group projects and let them run!

  • Our Clients & Advisors: Rick and I couldn’t wake up every morning getting to do what we love without our clients. We truly appreciate the trust they have given us with their money. Whether its $10,000, $100,000, or $1 million or more, we understand how important that money is to each individual client and do everything possible to make sure we are being the best stewards possible of it. We of course would not have these clients without our network of Financial Advisors. We love working with these advisors to help implement the investment side of the financial plan. Financial Planning is a highly complex and detailed role that is more than a full-time job if you want to do it well. Rick & I could not do it as well as we would like, which is why we focus on the investment side of the relationship.


Finally, I’m thankful for turkey. I love food (probably to a fault) and any chance we get to take a day centered around enjoying food with our friends and family is a great day for me. My leftover turkey sandwiches, which start on Friday night and continue throughout the weekend until its gone, are something I look forward to each year (ask me for my recipe) Full disclosure: When I carve the turkey I try to set aside the best sandwich slices and hide them in the fridge.


Since I won’t be posting a Chart of the Week on Friday, I thought I’d share this fun chart from USA Today showing the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner. Based on this, one could argue inflation is under control and the Federal Reserve can take a break from their rate hikes (I’m not making that argument, by the way).

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at SEM!

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New Kent, VA
Jeff joined SEM in October 1998. Outside of SEM, Jeff is part of the worship team at LifePointe Christian Church where he plays the keyboard and bass guitar. He also coaches a club soccer team.