In This Issue


With Chris participating in the editorial sections of the newsletter this edition, I've decided to share some of my own community involvement. 
My first introduction to community involvement was the Thurston County Chamber, and my real indoctrination was my participation with Leadership Thurston County. This is an 8 month program designed to develop, teach and expose individuals who want to be givers, to be active participates in the local community.   In this course, I learned about our court systems, how the county commissioners functioned, arts and colleges, business development etc., and how they are all intertwined within our community. Leaders and experts from these diverse entities came and shared their passions, frustrations and hopes. Completing this program gave me the contacts, knowledge and confidence to be involved in community service and I now felt that I was a member of the community and ready to be a leader.
First with Olympia Kiwanis and now with Gateway Rotary, I've been involved in community service for the last 15 years.
I was honored to be asked to be a board member of the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC), and served on a variety of committees for almost 8 years. The mediation and communication work they do is so important. If you're not familiar with the DRC, please research and learn of the impact they make on our community.
Day of Empowerment was a major event in our community for 4 years. I was one of the founders of the event, and was so pleased to see it grow and flourish. The last Day of Empowerment was held in 2012 and I loved being a part of it, but it was time to let it go and see if it had a life of its own. The Day of Empowerment was followed by South Sound Women's Day.  The style, players and location have changed, but the idea that women thrive and blossom by connections and relationships has continued.
This year's event is being held on October 10th. You may click the link below to go to the website for more information and to purchase tickets.
I'm passionate about art and love theater. I am on my second term of being a member of the Harlequin Theater board and it has been a pleasure. The quality of productions and the fiscal leadership of this team are amazing.  Olympia is so fortunate to have Harlequin and all the devoted members and participants in our arts community.  If you have not seen a Harlequin production, I encourage you to do so.
My friend, Margaret Hollinger, introduced me to the Women's Leadership Council, which is associated with the United Way. I've been a member for at least 4 years and really enjoy the camaraderie of the women and the mission. The focus is on building and promoting financial empowerment and strength of the women in Thurston County. The Power of the Purse and the Shelter Shower are the main events associated with this organization. We are growing and have over 50 women involved in contributing to the Giving Circle and/or committees and outreach programs. If you go to the United Way website, you can find more information about this amazing group of dedicated women.
A few years back, Doug Mah asked me to consider being part of the United Way board. After gaining a strong understanding of the mission and organization through an interview with Paul Knox, the Executive Director of the United Way of Thurston County, I became a member about 3 years ago. I'm consistently impressed by this organization and its willingness to address complex and challenging issues with a holistic approach.   The Straight from the Heart event is a classy and fun event held in the winter quarter. It is a wine centric event held at the Lucky Eagle Casino. If you would like to join the fun, let me know.
We live in a place with a sense of community, of relationships and caring. I'm so pleased that I can contribute a bit here and there. There are so many opportunities to be a part of in our community and it is so rewarding to be involved. I love the fact that so many of my clients are also actively involved in their hometown.  
For further information on how you can contribute and be involved, please feel free to reach out to me and make a connection.

Q4 2015

Hello, I hope everyone had a wonderful summer. My name is Chris Stokes and I am graduating from Virginia Tech this December with a degree in Financial Planning. This summer I had the amazing opportunity to come out to Washington and intern at Navigate Financial. I want to take some time to share that experience with you. So, with that being said, the end of the 3rd quarter is right around the corner and with fall beginning it is a good time to reflect on summer and look forward to the rest of the year. From my perspective, as a student, summer has always been a time of growth and fall is a time to begin anew. New classes, meeting new people, new challenges and responsibilities to take on. So, as I reflect on the summer, I still cannot believe what a great time it was. Working alongside Nancy and exploring the great PNW taught me how to seize life and make the most of it, both in your career and personal life. In school we learn all about what a financial planner does, the data gathering, analyzing, and strategizing, but what we cannot experience in the classroom is the interaction between the client and advisor. From working with Nancy, I learned that financial planning is more than helping people be financially independent. Nancy taught me that financial planning is more about building long lasting relationships that lead to empowering the client to take control and understand their finances. Not only did I learn how to build relationships with clients, I also got to learn how to build relationships with professionals from related fields, such as insurance, accountant, and lawyers. Nancy showed me all of the different things she does to surround herself with successful professionals and how this benefits her clients. The most important thing I learned this summer is that the client comes first. When Nancy and I were not in the office she was showing me all the wonderful things the PNW has to offer. In the Travel Adventures article below, I describe some of my favorite adventures we went on this summer. I cannot imagine a better way to see the PNW than with friends and this will definitely be a summer I'll never forget.
The Same Course
"Do I need to stay on the same course until I retire?"  This question is often posed to me.   My first response is to say no because circumstances change over time and sometimes all at once. So, I have an issue with "staying on the same course".   As a financial planner, I support having a course or track to monitor.   The tone of the question and the use of the words indicated to me that she was feeling like she was locked into a pattern of action and that was disturbing to her.
The idea of being locked in would be disturbing to me also, so I empathize with her. I've had clients voice to me their concerns, actions and goals being "written in stone" as they are considering developing a financial plan.   It may seem like a contradiction. A well written plan is a combination of firm commitment and an acknowledgment that planning is a process and is consistently evolving.   A written plan does formalize your intentions, works when your action items are acted upon as agreed, and requires commitment of action and spirit.   To be effective, you take the time to explore and analyze potential outcomes before taking ownership of an action plan.
Once a plan is devised and initial actions are taken, you can monitor and revise the plan while keeping focused on your goals and objectives.   Circumstances under your control; changes in wants, desires, or interpretations of needs, can result in your initial goals and objectives becoming obsolete.   You then must explore with your Planner the effect of these changes and within yourselves your commitment to modify your course.   Circumstances out of your control, such as health, job, family, and Mother Nature, often motivate or force changes to the plan's structure and activities.
"Stay the course" is different than "staying on the same course". A written, well thought out and organized plan gives you the framework to reach your objectives. Following and monitoring your plan safeguards you from fads and immediate distractions that can undermine your success and your security. Planning, when properly done, helps build in safety nets, flexibility, and a base to address life's curve balls.   If you are prepared mentally, financially, and physically to achieve retirement, leave a legacy, buy that second home, and then circumstances change, you are in a position of strength to change as well.   Without preparation, you are without tools, resources and the mental fortitude to adjust your course with purpose.   You are subject to the winds of fate alone.
A plan is the accumulation of your emotional commitment, mental skills, and actual actions to live your life intentionally. It is not written in stone and the courses will change as major incidents occur in your life. With a plan, you restrict and prevent the small stones of living from land sliding the results you truly desire.   Commit to living by incorporating planning, but do not necessarily commit to the dogma of a plan. Planning should be seen as a process, not a book with a check list and actions to be followed strictly without modifications.

Travel Adventures
This summer I had the opportunity to travel more than I ever have and it was amazing. I grew up on the east coast and had a great time exploring all it had to offer, but it was time to branch out and explore other parts of the country. Before this summer, the furthest west I had been was Chicago, so I was beyond excited to see what the west had to offer. When I first arrived in Olympia it did not take long for Nancy to start planning grand adventures for us to go on. A week into my visit she planned a trip to go explore Mt. Rainier and camp nearby. We were lucky that Nancy's mom was in town, so she came with us. I had never been camping and when I told Nancy this she was disappointed, but excited to be the first person to take me. After exploring Mt. Rainier, we ended up camping in the Wenatchee National Forest right next to the American River. It was an amazing first time camping and sharing it with friends was even better. I had always wanted to see Mt. St. Helens, so Nancy planned an awesome adventure that included a lot more than just Mt. St. Helens. By the end of this trip I had seen Mt. St. Helens from every side. We started on the northern part of the mountain stopping by the Johnston Ridge Observatory, then we backtracked down to the Columbia River and spent a few days exploring and camping in both Oregon and Washington. The first day on the Columbia River it was calm enough to paddle board on, an experience I hear can be rare. Then the next day the wind picked up and the river was filled with wind surfers, it was an awesome site to see. After exploring the waterfalls of Oregon and going on some beautiful hikes, we headed back towards Mt. St. Helens. This time we came from the south around to the east side of the mountain ending at Windy Ridge. This trip was truly an eye opener for how much the PNW has to offer. I got an opportunity to go on a solo trip to the San Juan Islands for a weekend and had the pleasure of watching the sunset as Orcas swam by.  It was an incredible experience. I took a day trip to Greyland Beach, which broke my record of going as far west as I can. One of my favorite trips was to Portland, where Nancy and I spent a couple days seeing the city the right way, on bikes. I also feel it's necessary to mention Powell's bookstore; all I have to say is that Portland knows how to do book stores the right way. One of the last trips we took was to visit the Hoh Rain Forest and to drive all the way around the Olympic Peninsula, while stopping by Dungeness Spit and Hurricane Ridge. I cannot wait to come back and explore some more. When we were not traveling out of town, we went on local adventures, whether it was paddle boarding or biking around town we were always active and looking for a new adventure. I wish I had more space to write about the rest of our adventures. I hope this gave you an idea of the scope of traveling we did and maybe even motivated you to go out and enjoy the wonderful PNW. After everything I saw this summer, I would have to say that Washington has more to offer then I could have ever imagined. 
Chris Stokes
Quick Links

Points to Ponder

41... Percentage of US consumers surveyed who would spend a $10,000 windfall on paying off debt.*


40... Percentage of US parents surveyed who said their most important financial goal is building an emergency fund.**


24... Percentage of Millennials who correctly answered four or five questions on a five-question financial literacy quiz.***




**CFP Board

 *** USA Today
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Mid-West Mom's Helpful Hints 

Spray on fishing lures...  Salmon fishermen in the Pacific Northwest spray their lures with WD-40 because it attracts fish and disguises the human odor that can scare them off and keep them from biting.  You can increase the catch on your next fishing trip by bringing a can of WD-40 along with you and spraying it on your lures or live bait before you cast.  But first check local regulations to make sure the use of chemical-laced lures and bait is legal in your state.


Remove "paint rub" from another car...  You return to your parked car to find that while you were gone, another vehicle got a bit too close for comfort.  Luckily there's no dent, but now your car has a blotch of "paint rub" from the other car on it.  To remove paint-rub stains on your car and restore its original finish, spray the affected area with WD-40, wait a few seconds, and wipe with a clean rag. 


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