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The Most Important Thing: You

publication date: Sep 8, 2020
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author/source: Brian Nelson, CFA
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Chers Amis:
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Brian here.
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When I was in school many moons ago, I remember being called to the principal's office. It had something to do with tuition. It turns out that my parents hadn't yet been able to pay, and I was pulled out of class as a result. I know what it feels like to be taken out of class when there's no money. My mom was a housewife, and my dad was a stationary engineer who worked at two hospitals in his career spanning 40 years or so. I think he even won an award for saving Christ Hospital (Advocate Christ Medical Center) in Chicago from burning down some time ago.
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My family didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, as you might imagine. I remember spending most of my time playing sports as a child. We couldn't ever afford much, and sometimes we couldn't afford to participate in many of the sporting events. We just didn't have the money for me to sign up for the next wrestling meet, and I don't think I even had baseball cleats until high school. To this day, I don't know how I managed to run around the bases in Little League. My batting gloves were the dirt in the batter's box, but we were able to get by, and my parents put away money when they could.
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Growing up, I never had an allowance despite learning the values of hard work with my set of chores each week. Instead, I was dabbling in entrepreneurship, perhaps not even knowing what the word meant. At 9 years old, I remember buying up packs of baseball cards at the store and reselling them to kids on the block. With a small group of kids from my neighborhood, I used to go Christmas caroling around the holidays, and I used to cut grass for the neighbors to earn extra money.
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The values I learned as a child have stuck with me my whole life. I learned at an early age how hard it is for people to earn money and to also save for retirement. It's just not easy, and the financial industry is filled with so much jargon and conflicts of interest that it's enough to make anyone's head spin. I promised myself that if I ever started a money management firm, I would include something about my father in its name to remind me of just how important it is to prudently care for anyone's retirement savings.
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An interesting tidbit about my dad is that he used to race homing pigeons. The homing pigeon is an amazing bird. They have an incredible ability to find their way back home from hundreds of miles away, using low-frequency infrasound waves to generate acoustic maps of their environment. Pigeons are also heroes. During World War I, an entrapped U.S. battalion taking heavy fire dispatched a homing pigeon named Cher Ami ("Dear Friend" in French) to relay a message.
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Despite being shot through the breast, blinded in one eye, and her leg severely wounded in her travels, Cher Ami managed to deliver the dispatch to her home coop at division headquarters and save the lives of 194 soldiers. Cher Ami just wouldn't quit until she had delivered the silver canister with the critical message. For her heroic service, Cher Ami would be awarded the French Croix Guerre with Oak Leaf Cluster. In 1931, she would be inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame.
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When I first started at Valuentum in 2011, my goals were to help people and provide that independent take in financial research that nobody else out there could provide. We succeeded greatly in saving people's retirement funds from the MLP bubble in 2015 and look at how good we performed during the COVID-19 crisis this year, but as a publisher, Valuentum is also limited in terms of how much we can help people. Sometimes great investment performance isn't the most important thing either. We all know what the most important thing is--and that's you and your goals, whatever they may be. 
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In the coming months, I will be launching a new firm, an advisory, Pigeon Oak Capital Management, LLC, and it's going to be all about you--not about how well we did in the newsletter portfolios these past many years or the success rates of the Exclusive publication, but all about you and what you want to achieve with your money, wherever you are in your life. When I look at Pigeon Oak's logo, I will think of my father and just how important it is to protect the hard-earned savings of all clients--and just how dedicated Cher Ami was to achieving her goals in the face of obstacles.
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Research publisher Valuentum will continue to offer members great ideas, fantastic commentary, and wonderful newsletters and reports, but Pigeon Oak's mission will be to offer clients peace of mind with advice tailored to their goals and risk tolerances. Pigeon Oak will also offer several strategies for financial advisors and institutions. Please stay tuned in the coming months for more information on how I can meet your financial needs at Pigeon Oak Capital Management, LLC. 
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Image: My father (circa 1970s)
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Kind regards,
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Brian Nelson, CFA
President, Investment Research
Valuentum Securities, Inc.
brian@valuentum.com
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Brian Nelson owns shares in SPY, SCHG, DIA and QQQ. Some of the other securities written about in this article may be included in Valuentum's simulated newsletter portfolios. Contact Valuentum for more information about its editorial policies.

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