It’s a shame the government had to be closed for so long. Federal employees will feel the sting for a long time to come. It’s one thing to have a career with an unbelievable set of benefits, including low-cost, high-quality healthcare plans, tax-deferred savings, and a pension. It’s entirely a different thing to have those taken away over political bickering.

Many people joke about the quality of service delivered by government employees. Sometimes the jokes are about running dump trucks to the mall to make sure an annual budget is spent. Sometimes it’s a joke about ‘close enough for government work.’ I’m not sure it’s time to joke. These folks are our neighbors, friends, and family.

I don’t have any answers, I voted. I stand by my vote. I understand this is President Trump’s last chance to make a stand on the wall and have any chance for re-election… but at what cost to the American people?

On the other hand, tough decisions require a tough position. If a wall is so important, then the math should support the construction in exchange for the lower cost of border patrol agents, Medicaid, state law enforcement, and detention of folks that entered our country illegally. Fewer agents would be less expensive. The cost of detention is unbelievable. Take a look on google maps. There are miles of our southern border, that is really only a dilapidated vehicle barrier, not a fence nor a wall; it’s really just some things in the way of a vehicle easily crossing the unmarked border. This barrier is easily crossed by foot traffic. There are easily identified trails that are either evidence of animal traffic or people. The border needs to be secure, no question, in my opinion.

The good news… It looks like the president signed legislation on January 16th, 2019, to cover all federal workers back pay. The food banks opened up to federal furloughed workers. The financial institutions are offering more time to make payments. The IRS went back to work to process refunds.

I hope by the time this edition hits your mailbox, the government is open and we can get back to business as usual.

We (American Retirement Advisors) have a positive outlook for 2019. Our businesses continue to serve more and more nice people. We are continuing to expand and hire more smiling faces. We grew our top line just under 50% in 2018 and 2019 looks like more growth is going to take place. We have begun an artificial intelligence project, a large corporation services project as well as continued focus on improving internal automation and processes. All of our efforts are based on our mission to make the complex simple to navigate, helping our community make fact-based decisions on things that matter