Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been my most favorite holiday. I have many childhood memories waiting downtown Detroit for Santa to appear on Woodward. My Dad and Uncles would wedge a wooden plank between two ladders from where my sister, cousins and I would watch the parade while drinking hot chocolate from a thermos. While the parade is still great fun, now I think Thanksgiving is such a great holiday because I don’t have to worry if someone will like the gift I purchased, there’s no religious obligation, I can wear comfortable clothes, enjoy good food, and a rain shower doesn’t change my plans.

I typically spend Thanksgiving dinner with my large Irish Catholic family. My Aunt Monica generously hosts over thirty of us at her home with tables set up in almost every room in her house. We all have a place to sit and eat a fantastic meal, drink good wine and watch the Detroit Lions lose. We usually end the evening with a very competitive game of dominoes, cards or bingo that typically incorporates drinking more wine.

Thanksgiving is more than a day filled with parades, football and turkey dinners. It’s a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation. At Sigma, we’re all very thankful for our large family of clients and friends. I’m especially thankful for being able to do something I love on a daily basis. While the past few years have been challenging, helping families and individuals achieve their financial goals is incredibly rewarding. One of the best feelings in the world is telling a client they can afford to retire and spend more time with their grandchildren, or they can now go see the pyramids in Egypt, or counseling them through a family illness or job loss without depleting their retirement portfolio. All of us here have a number of these encouraging stories and we plan to use this blog to share some with you in the coming year.

In reflecting back on the year and finding places to give thanks in the markets, we do have a ways to go, but the toughest days of the financial crisis seem to be behind us. We realize unemployment numbers are still high, politicians disagree on whether tax cuts or more spending is the answer and confidence is still in the dumps. However, as long as innovation and entrepreneurship are allowed to flourish, we believe the economy and Americans will continue to grow and prosper.

Even in the depths of the market crisis, when our jobs were most difficult, we were able to find small things to be thankful for at Sigma. It could have been something as simple as new software technologies that allowed us to spend more time on research and with clients, an accountant we had complete confidence in referring our clients or an opportunity to spend the afternoon exploring the Detroit Institute of Arts with our Ladies Luncheon series. 2010 is shaping up to be a good year for all of us.

This Thanksgiving, we’d encourage you to look around and find something simple and stop to appreciate it. Look for someone who does something small to impact your life and tell them thank you. In our hectic lives, a small act of gratitude can go a very long way.

Wishing you all a moist turkey and plenty of pumpkin pie!

Marisa A. Lenhard, CFA