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Are We There Yet? vol. 122

Last weekend I was at a lacrosse tournament in Culpeper Virginia. Because of the rain and storms on Saturday, rather than playing at noon on Sunday in Culpeper, our first game Sunday was at 8am more than an hour away in Fredericksburg Virginia on the campus of The University of Mary Washington. On Sunday, I dropped off my son at 7am for warmups and headed off in search of coffee.

Fredericksburg is a quaint little city with a beautiful historic district and is known for its colonial and Civil War history. I ended up at Ike and Rita’s Bakery and Cafe. It is a small coffee shop that shares its space with an art studio in the historic district. The owner told me that he’d opened 8 months ago. He’d previously owned a cheesesteak shop but unexpectedly lost his lease in early 2020 just before the pandemic started and had to close his business. He said that knew at least 9 other small business owners who were not able to survive the pandemic. The loss of his lease and closure of the business was an unexpected stroke of luck because, unlike others, he closed the business prior to the pandemic and did not expend all of his financial resources trying to stay afloat during 2020 and 2021.

The shop offers homemade bagels and pastries along with excellent coffee.  The owner told me that his mother, a former executive, is his baker. Similar to many small businesses, it’s difficult to tell if he’ll be successful with this venture. But during a period when America seems to be defined by our divisions and differences, his new start reminds me of the entrepreneurial spirit that is part of how I define America. A person with a dream working hard and persevering through difficult and challenging times trying to build something for himself or herself.  Let’s hope that sometime soon, everyone starts to define America by what we can accomplish rather than by how we are divided.

Take care and stay safe.

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Animal Spirits

Animal Spirits is a weekly podcast where two friends who work in the wealth management industry, Ben Carlson and Michael Batnick discuss what they’ve been reading, researching, writing, watching, listening to, and thinking about. They talk about financial markets, personal finance, their favorite books, movies, and TV shows, parenting, the asset management business and more. Their goal is to make finance more accessible, speak in plain English, and share their own personal experiences in the markets.