10 Ways to Celebrate Independence Day

I proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1991-1992 as a medic. You can read a story about my experience there at ThinkAdvisor (I’m #21). My time serving makes me appreciate being a U.S. citizen.

So, while some of our typical holiday festivities might look a bit different this year for safety precautions, I hope you do something enjoyable with family and friends. Here are ten ideas, I will likely do a mixture of them all!

1. Read the Declaration of Independence:

While many of us can recant passages of the document such as, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” how many of us have read or can recall the 27 grievances in the original writing leading to the declaration? You don’t have to answer that, here you go! archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

2. Treat a veteran to lunch or dinner:

What better way to honor our nation’s heroes by treating them to a lunch? We see active duty servicemen and women at restaurants near the Asheville airport. Something we like to do is anonymously pay for their meal. In a time of “safer at home,” you can always pay for a meal delivery service to get a warm meal to a veteran you know or work with a local non-profit to identify a deserving individual.

3. Make a difference:

Volunteer organizations are always looking for helpful smiling faces. Now, maybe more so than ever before, there is a tremendous opportunity and need for you to help these deserving charities. Every organization will have specific safety precautions and processes for volunteers, find a non-profit that is meaningful to you and reach out to them to learn more: web.ashevillechamber.org/NonProfit-Organizations

4. Educate yourself:

Given the current environment, I challenge you to learn more about social justice issues from a variety of respected news publications. We are all one country and have a responsibility to treat every American with respect, regardless of our differences. To do this, education is key.

5. Get active – go for a hike, fishing, or camping:

Did you know that WNC has some of the arguably best trout fishing in the state? We have well over 3,000 miles of trout streams and each year the Wildlife Commission closes 1,000 miles for restocking and delayed harvesting. Currently, fishing season is wide open; however, because of the social distancing orders and restrictions, you should check the NC Wildlife website to make sure the lake or stream is open.

Perhaps one of my most favorite hikes is Looking Glass Rock as it takes me back to my younger days when life was more carefree. Once at the top, you’ll see 180 degrees of some of the best views in WNC! A list of great hikes can be found here: romanticasheville.com/hiking.html

6. Make it memorable:

Consider investing in a decent photo or video camera. We took the plunge a few years ago and bought both types of cameras. We have a lot of fun capturing memories. Occasionally, we will look back on these priceless photos and videos to relive the moment and found this to be a great pastime. One of the things I like to do is compile short video clips and then set them to music; this makes a great way of preserving memories in a fun and engaging way.

7. Pack a picnic and watch the fireworks:

Admit it, many reading this cannot recall the last time they sat on a blanket and enjoyed a picnic dinner. How about trying a new recipe or pick up a box of fried chicken while picking out the perfect viewing area? Don’t forget to pack a frisbee to toss around. Looking for fireworks? Find those planned in and around Asheville here: romanticasheville.com/fourth.htm

8. Throw an Independence Day themed BBQ:

On a recent client visit, my client arranged for a catered low country boil as incentive for his staff to stay after hours for my education presentation and one-on-one meetings. This was my first boil and I was impressed at the simplicity of the food and great conversations. This inspired my family to invite family and friends over on numerous occasions. More recently, I have taken to smoking and slow cooking on our grill. What is your favorite tradition? I hope you’ll take the opportunity to share with me (nnolan@parsecfinancial.com) and as an incentive, I’ll write you back with my personalized low country boil recipe.

9. Watch a 4th of July parade (even if online and from prior years!):

Remember when you were a kid and watched the parade? The nostalgia of candied apples, popcorn, marching bands, and waving the American flag just oozes fun and happy memories! It just doesn’t get much better. While this event may not occur in many places or will likely look a lot different due to the pandemic, there’s always YouTube to the rescue and I’m hopeful that we can enjoy this traditional pastime in years to come.

10. Declare your independence, financially that is:

The Declaration of Independence is roughly 1,400 words. Financial independence does not require a formal “declaration” per se, but it does require a well thought out plan. Just as our forefathers were resolute in their desire for independence, our decision to save and invest for our future should be a high priority. Things that should be considered are having adequate cash reserves, health, life and disability insurance, long-term savings and investments, and estate planning documents to name a few. The internet has a wide variety of tools and resources that may be helpful. However, the advisors at Parsec take a unique and tailored approach for client recommendations and advice. More importantly, our advice is consistent and specific, whereas information on the internet will often be generic and varied. Our belief is that with proper savings, planning, and investment oversight most people can achieve financial independence. If you have questions or concerns that you would like us to address, please reach out!

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July!

Neal Nolan, CFP®, CPFA, AIF®
Senior Financial Advisor, Director of Business Retirement Services


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