Our first full year with President Donald J. Trump was filled with abundant noise and distractions while he worked to accomplish his “America First” agenda. The economy grew by about 3 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average* (DJIA) closed out the year slightly north of 24,700. The nation was captivated by the first solar eclipse in the United States since 1918. Flames consumed California turning 280,000 acres into a barren wasteland. A devastating hurricane season impacted families and communities in southeastern Texas, Florida and the Caribbean. These natural disasters inspired the country to come together in heroism and generosity. The words “resilience” and “community” were given new meaning, while thousands stood in line to donate blood after the tragic massacres in Las Vegas and Texas. According to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 128 police officers died while on the job in 2017, representing a 10 percent decrease from 2016. The #MeToo movement gave voice to victims of sexual harassment and assault and unveiled corruption coming from individuals in positions of power. In December, we closed out the year with the narrow passage of a major tax bill aimed at reducing taxes on corporations and middle-class taxpayers. Only time will tell how individuals and corporations will fare under the new plan.

I still stand astonished that all of this happened in one year. There was great enthusiasm and excitement in the growth of the economy that, regardless of the noise in Washington, continued to plow forward. Even for all of the pain, heartache and natural destruction that took place, as a United Nation, we continued to rise above the ashes.

Beliefs will drive our behaviors and our behaviors will determine our outcomes. The word optimism comes to mind. Optimism is an internal belief of hope demonstrated by a positive action. Optimistic people are not naïve but are rather acutely aware of reality. They are committed to remaining hopeful knowing that there is great strength that comes from the struggle. Optimism and a belief in the human spirit is how we will rise every time the world tries to knock us down.

We believe in this country. We believe in our people. We are committed to working hard to achieve greatness together. We are optimistic that the future is bright and, regardless of what comes our way, we are ready to act. Join us in making 2018 a great year, will you?

Author: Ivey Gaskin Baker, CFP®

Photo: Ocean Drive in Miami, Beach “This is Mango’s” (Jason Lanning, Spectrum News 13 Staff) 

*The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ. 

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