Make 2009 The Best Year Ever By: The Retirement Guys Nolan Baker, Investment Professional & Mark Clair, Estate Planning Attorney When we look back on 2008 many may think of it as a horrible year. It can be easy to get depressed thinking of all the negative events and it may not be good for your health to listen to the evening news. When we think about soldiers dying in Iraq, the financial and auto bail-outs, the recession, gas prices going up to $4/gallon, the Caylee Anthony tragedy, the decline of the housing market, the credit crunch, the big hurricane that hit Texas, wildfires in California, the stock market decline, it is no wonder that depression sets in. Some of us try to get our minds off of the bad things by forgetting about our troubles for a few hours by watching our favorite sports teams play. This did not help Mark too much. He watched the Detroit Lions have the worst season in NFL Football history (0-16) and his Michigan Wolverines have the worst season in their history (3-9). They even lost to the Toledo Rockets team. On the other hand a few positive things happened in 2008. We had an historic Presidential election, a phenomenal Beijing Olympics and gas prices went back down. On a personal note, Mark celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary, went on a hot-air balloon ride, went on a missions trip to Honduras, had a great time at his 25 year college reunion, got the opportunity to write a regular column for this fine newspaper and got to move to a nice new office. So, we guess it depends on how you look at things. Whether you are looking at the glass half full or half empty, we have a plan to help you make 2009 the best year ever. Here it is. 1. Have an attitude adjustment if needed. Listening to all the bad news this past year may have caused you to develop a bad attitude. This is understandable and very easy to do. We all like to complain and tell others about our problems. Doing this doesn't necessarily make us feel better and it sure doesn't make the person listening to us feel better. Make a conscious decision to keep your attitude positive. Think about good things. It will make you feel better. Trust me. We have tried it and it works. You cannot feel good all the time, but the more you focus on the good things the better you will feel. 2. Stay in the game. When Mark played high school basketball, he always felt better when he was in the game playing. He didn't feel he was helping the team when he sat on the bench (his coach probably did). When we feel bad we have a tendency to become paralyzed and sit around and do nothing. Stay busy. You will feel better if you take action. Find something you have a passion for and do it. 3. Take a memorable trip/do something that you love. Schedule it now. Go on a trip to a place you have never been. In the last few years Mark have been fortunate to travel to Honduras, Alaska, Mexico and Germany. Every trip was memorable and great bonding time for the family. If finances are tight there are many places to go and things to do on a budget. Why not try a hot-air balloon ride? 4. Spend some quality time with the ones you love. Whether it is a cruise to the Caribbean or bowling, do something with those that are close to you. It will be a great time and you will not forget it. 5. Perform and act of kindness for someone else. The idea of serving at a soup kitchen or helping the homeless may not be exciting to you. If you want to feel good, do it. There is something about service to others that makes us feel good. Here is a secret to feeling even better. When you do your act of kindness, keep it to yourself. You will feel better if you give without expecting anything in return. Now, get out there and do it. Follow these steps and make 2009 the best year ever. Happy New Year! For more information about today's column and The Retirement Guys, tune-in every Saturday at 12pm on 1230 WCWA and every Sunday at 11am on 1370 WSPD or visit www.retirementguysradio.com. Securities are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. 7135 Sylvania Ave, 2B, Sylvania, Ohio 43560.