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Love Where You’re Headed

Published by: Skee Orr, CFP® Date: February 10, 2018

January 1st, 2016 was a nice, partly cloudy day in Murphy, North Carolina. I remember spending most of the day working in the yard, recalling endeavors from 2015, and pondering my goals for the upcoming year. My wife, Lorra, and I were settling into our new home. Life was good in that moment. We were unaware of the life-altering transitions that would come over the next two years. That summer, we tragically lost Lorra’s brother Ben, a sailor in the US Navy, in an accident. This painful event solidified our decision to relocate to East Tennessee to be closer to her family and advance our careers.To embark on this major life change, we surrounded ourselves with close friends and family whose trusted advice helped develop and guide our plan. A major hurdle of our transition was selling two houses in the lukewarm housing market of southwestern North Carolina. Lorra and I lived two hours apart for nearly a year while waiting for our houses to sell. Although this was a trying period in our lives, we will forever reminisce the time we spent together on the weekends and the excitement of signing over the house deeds this past summer. In the end, our planning and persistence paid off and we are now happily settled in Knoxville.

This New Year comes riddled with national complications: tax code overhaul, all-time market highs, cryptocurrency mania, and exhausting political divisiveness. It seems we wake up every day to a new “once-in-a-lifetime” investment opportunity followed by forecasts indicating markets are going to collapse at any moment. Much like our weather here in East Tennessee, these provoking headlines tend to change quickly. Attempting to translate all these mixed signals to our own life is impossible. I relate this confusing environment to the uncertainty Lorra and I experienced while living apart, wondering if the right buyers for our houses would ever come along. When we had pressing concerns and wanted to act on emotions, our team of advisors reminded us of our goals, and prevented deviation from our plan. Having a plan and making necessary adjustments, as variables inevitably changed, carried us to a successful transition.

This start of a new year provokes hope and ambition to tackle aspects of our lives that we feel are lagging. Unfortunately, accomplishing these resolutions, which is said to fail approximately 90% of the time, is a daunting task. How do the other 10% succeed? Many answers are out there, but two approaches are frequently-cited: formulate a realistic plan of action to achieve your goals, and employ an accountability partner to be on your side along the way. Maybe you’ve been wondering how the new tax laws will affect your finances or if your assets are invested properly according to y our goals. Maybe the thought of tackling your finances and developing a plan seems overwhelming. Have you put this discussion off for too long? This year, build a partnership with a trusted advisor who can competently and objectively navigate the complexity of the world around us; one who connects your vision and values to a plan geared toward achieving your goals. The hardest part of accomplishing your resolution is getting started. Be intentional. Make 2018 the best year yet.

Skee Orr is an Associate Financial Advisor with Rather & Kittrell. He can be reached at