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My Reflections on 2020 and the New Year Ahead

A new year is upon us and I hope you and your loved ones are safe and in good health. It has been quite a year for all of us. However, I believe it is important to take some time to reflect and also look forward to opportunities in the new year. I will share my story below and would love to hear yours as well!

At the start of 2020, I was into my second year as a business owner and 9 years as a financial planner. My husband was building a construction business while also serving as a reservist in the Coast Guard. In early spring, as the coronavirus was rearing its ugly head and the economy was beginning to shut down, my husband received preliminary military orders to go to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane reconstruction. Perhaps a blessing in disguise, but in the middle of the worst pandemic in modern history, we were going to pick up our lives in California and move overseas (no less than one year after my mom had picked up her life in Pennsylvania to move to California to be closer to me). Needless to say, she was not happy.

Meanwhile, air travel was screeching to a halt and we lied in limbo for close to two months waiting for the official orders that would trigger everything. Once the orders arrived, we had only a few days to prepare for the movers, find temporary housing, and jump on a plane to our new home with 7 suitcases of “the essentials” in tow. Our belongings and car would not arrive for at least 30 days.

At the same time, my husband was making a tough decision to shut down his business. It would be nearly impossible to run a California-based construction business from Puerto Rico. On the other hand, I was lucky enough to continue working in a job I loved. I had built a virtual financial planning firm that gave me the flexibility to serve clients from anywhere without the confines of an office (or a demanding boss). The pandemic would certainly challenge traditional office jobs and put business continuity plans to the test.

After arriving in Puerto Rico, I will admit that it was a culture shock for me. I should mention that my husband is Puerto Rican, so his adjustment was minimal, but it was difficult for me even as someone who has moved by herself close to 15 times into and out of 5 different states. The language barrier, driving habits, and island life were very new. Of course, the pandemic made everything worse as restaurants, parks, and beaches were closed, a curfew was in effect, and tourist attractions were shut down.

However, by the Fall, I was learning enough Spanish to get around, adjusting to driving conditions, meeting new friends, and getting used to my new way of life. So now, it is time to look forward! For 2021, I am developing more efficient processes, implementing new services, revamping my web site, and (always) improving both my potential client and current client experiences. From a personal perspective, I want to be fluent in Spanish, travel to more Caribbean islands, and hug my friends and family once again.

Happy New Year, everyone, and please take some time to reflect… and look forward to bigger and better things.

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