Honoring President’s Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

In honor of President’s Day, we focus on this quote as one of the timeless elements of the American story.

Thomas Jefferson, at age 33, used these words to explain the purpose behind one of the most influential documents of the last several centuries – The Declaration of Independence. Today, we can still reflect on this familiar phrase as a guidepost for analyzing the events and decisions in our own lives. 

As United States citizens, we generally take Jefferson’s first two unalienable Rights for granted. Indeed, life and liberty are as much a part of our daily life as are baseball and apple pie. We generally assume that we have the right to be safe from violence, terror, and unwarranted arrest, and trust our civil servants and armed forces to continue to ensure these Rights. Likewise, we participate in the basic institutions of our democracy, such as through voting and jury duty, in order to contribute to the protection of these Rights. 

The last Right, however, seems to be more of a question in the American ethos. Can we pursue happiness? And if we choose to do so, how do we achieve it? The political and economic discourse today seems to favor the belief that happiness is achieved by some combination of winning and accumulation of capital—be it economic, human, political, or otherwise. There is no denying that meeting one’s basic human needs does require an amount of economic resource without which no one can be free to pursue happiness. Indeed, all people need reasonable and reliable access to basics such as food, clothing, and shelter. But once these basics have been achieved, happiness is still not assured. So how does a thoughtful citizen pursue happiness? 

At Allegiant Private Advisors, this is something that we consider as part of our daily planning practices. While different for each individual, there are a few recommendations we can make that effectively help people make progress in their pursuit of happiness. First, we recommend occasionally taking time to reflect on one’s life, challenges, and successes, expressing gratitude for the people, experiences, and things in your life that make you happy. For some, creating and sharing a family history that describes how you got to be who and where you are is not only an important element of intergenerational planning and reflection, but is another key element that helps in developing feelings of purpose, satisfaction, and happiness. For others, this reflection works best in the form of a daily meditation, exercise, or time in nature.  Similarly, travel, especially to new and different places, can give perspective and appreciation of one’s lifestyle and country. Lastly, we remind you that the word “politics” has as its root the Greek “polis,” or city. Involvement with one’s community, social network, and family can all lead to a level of satisfaction that approaches happiness. In our practice, for example, we are especially proud of the involvement we have in our local community. If you are looking for opportunities to make a difference in our local area as part of your pursuit of happiness, we urge you to visit our “community” page or to have a discussion with us regarding these organizations.  And if you want to delve deeper into how financial planning can incorporate your ideas for working towards your own happiness, we’d be “happy” to help.

We hope you enjoy the upcoming President’s Day holiday.