Yes, STILL Thankful

Personal Money Planning |



By Gary Silverman, CFP®

As we approach New Year’s Day, let us be thankful for 2020.

What? How can anyone be thankful for 2020? It was a horrible, miserable year!

Indeed, 2020 is likely not going to be on a list of best years for just about anyone. However, it could have been worse. My favorite genre is science fiction. In Sci-Fi, a very common storyline involves the end of the world, or some other near-end calamitous event. While the year is still winding down, there are a number of things that did not happen as of this writing.

No alien invasion. Yup, no laser-blasting, asteroid throwing, disease-carrying aliens showed up on our planet. (No, not even in Wuhan, unless they looked like bats.) Talking about asteroids…

No killer asteroids. I think one flew by and another is heading back our way, but nothing smacked our planet.

No killer physics. Since 1945 we’ve had nuclear weapons available to decimate our earthly neighbors and they have had their own to devastate us. Many living in the 50s and 60s would be pleased (and a little surprised) that no one has targeted their enemies with such weapons since World War II. While I’m still a bit worried here, we did make it another year (please keep your finger off the button for a couple more weeks).

No super volcano. The Yellowstone caldera did not blow its lid. If you haven’t kept up on apocalyptic scenarios like I have, you may have missed that there is a really big blob of lava sitting under Yellowstone. An eruption could make life quite difficult for a large chunk of the United States. Still it didn’t happen in 2020 and most geologists think that the next big one will come in thousands of years from now. No need to move yet.

No zombies. Yes, I know some of your workmates may have looked like zombies on a Zoom call--and you may have felt like a zombie a few times—but I’ve checked online, and no one seems to have noticed a zombie uprising. And to the best of my knowledge it is not a side-effect of any of the vaccines out there.

Jokes aside, while indeed 2020 could have been worse, for a lot of people this might have been the worst year of their life. For more than 1.6 million, it was their last. What is also true: in a few years we’ll be worrying about some other disaster, and another, and another. We go on. It’s what humans do.

And for some of those humans, this week celebrates the arrival of the answer to all the problems, perceived and actual. Christmas isn’t about a pretty tree or pretty lights or pretty presents. It’s about the arrival of the sacrificial lamb, Jesus Christ. They know (albeit they sometimes forget) that God is in control. And for those who believe in Him, we can truly say that all things will work together for good. Even if we, in this year, have struggled to see it.

Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.