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Riverfront July 26, 2021
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Planning for More Challenging Times

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Riverfront July 19, 2021
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The Search for Income

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Riverfront July 12, 2021
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The View from 10,000 feet: It’s All About Interest Rates

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Riverfront July 6, 2021
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Quarterly Review: Markets Looking Beyond COVID-19

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Independence Rock July 2, 2021
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On July 4, 1852, a young man named Ezra Meeker found himself staring up at a huge granite monolith in central Wyoming.  It was called Independence Rock, partially because westward-bound pioneers, like Ezra, knew that if they made it to this landmark on or before Independence Day, they stood a good chance of reaching their destination before winter came.

That day, Ezra was more concerned about keeping his wife and newborn baby alive than anything else, but he and the other pioneers in the area did take the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day.  He also took the time to carve his name into the rock, like hundreds had before him, and hundreds would after.  Then, he continued his way along the Oregon Trail.

In 1906, fifty-four years later, Ezra Meeker found himself concerned that the nation’s memories of the Oregon Trail were beginning to fade.  So, despite being 75 years old, he set out again, retracing his exact steps along the trail in an actual covered wagon.  Along the way, he set markers and tablets, designating important landmarks and milestones.  And once again, on July 4, he found himself staring up at Independence Rock.  He was no longer able to climb to the top, as he could in his younger days, but he still inscribed a message for future generations to read:

The Old Oregon Trail, 1843-57

In 1916, now 85, Meeker traveled the trail again –this time in a Pathfinder automobile.  Although the car was an absolute relic by modern standards, Meeker was probably amazed at how much faster and easier the route was compared to when he walked it on his own two feet.  Along the way, he became one of the first advocates for a national highway system, so that every American could travel the width and breadth of our country.

The years passed.  Technology improved.  The country changed.  But Meeker kept on traveling.  And for his last trip over the Old Oregon Trail, in 1924 at the grand age of 93, Meeker finally did it in style – in an airplane.

Between Meeker’s birth and his death, America celebrated 97 birthdays.  We’re sure Meeker was astonished at how much the nation changed during that time.  It expanded, going from 30 states to 48.  It grew, going from roughly 13 million people to over 120 million.  It mechanized, with horses and covered wagons being replaced by trains, then cars, and finally aircraft.  It modernized, thanks to the invention of the camera and the film projector.  When Meeker was born, the telegraph was just coming into use.  During his life, he would witness the birth of both the phone and the radio.  (In fact, Meeker made an appearance on the radio one year before he died.  He declared it a “new and wondrous invention.”1)

Most of all, the country progressed.  During Meeker’s life, slavery ended, women won the right to vote, and children swapped the coal mine for the classroom.

In a few years, America will have celebrated almost 100 more birthdays since Meeker died.  If he were to see America today, we think he would be even more impressed!  Meeker dreamed of a national highway.  Today, we have 70 different interstates.  Meeker appeared on the radio.  Today, we have smartphones.  Meeker flew in an airplane.  Today, we have spacecraft.  48 states have become 50; 120 million people have become 330 million.

When the pioneers reached Independence Rock on the 4th of July, they couldn’t possibly fathom how their country would change over the decades.  Now, as we celebrate another birthday for our great nation, we wonder how it will continue to change.  What amazing new inventions await us?  What progress will we make, and our children after us?

There are many reasons to be grateful for the United States of America.  But high at the top of our list is that we live in a country that is constantly changing, constantly moving, constantly growing.  America never stands still.  Neither do her people.  That was true in Ezra Meeker’s day, and it’s true in ours.

And for that, we are grateful.

So, happy birthday America!  We can’t wait to see where you’ll go – and how you’ll grow – next.  And to you, we wish a very happy Independence Day!

Sincerely,

Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

1 “Meeker, Ezra,” HistoryLink.org, 5/02/2006.  https://www.historylink.org/file/7737

Riverfront June 21, 2021
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‘Ford vs Ferrari’: Comparing the Dow Jones Industrials to the Nasdaq

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Honor Our Fathers June 16, 2021
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As you know, the world is full of important people.  From presidents to scientists to singers, all celebrities influence our culture in different ways.  But when it comes to us as individuals, there are few people more influential than our fathers.  Fathers inspire us, guide us, and motivate us.  They not only shape who we are, but also what we will become.  Their impact can even be felt long after they’re gone.

Take the story of Rivaldo Vitor Borba Ferreira … or just Rivaldo for short.  Rivaldo is a retired Brazilian soccer player, famous the world over for the goals he scored, the trophies he won, and the skill he displayed.  But that’s not what makes his story so compelling … nor is it what this letter is about.  This letter is not about Rivaldo the athlete, but Rivaldo the father and Rivaldo the son.  It’s about family.

Rivaldo spent his childhood in Recife, a city on Brazil’s northeast coast.  Like most cities, Recife has both its glamor side and its less glamorous side, and it was the latter where Rivaldo was raised, in the favelas (Portuguese for slums) of the giant port city.

Soccer has always been huge in Brazil’s metropolitan areas, especially in the poorer quarters.  That’s because, for children growing up in a favela, soccer is more than just a game—it’s a means of escape.  Rivaldo spent most of his days selling souvenirs to tourists in order to bring money home for his family, before devoting his nights to kicking a ball around on the beach.  But while playing with his friends was fun, it wasn’t enough to stave off the effects of poverty and hunger.  Rivaldo and his four siblings all suffered greatly, especially due to malnutrition.  Even today, as a famous and successful athlete, Rivaldo still seems unable to cast off the physical effects of malnutrition.  His face and frame are still as gaunt as ever, and he’s worn dentures for years—the hunger he suffered as a child made his teeth fall out.

Hence, soccer: the only way to forget the pangs of an empty belly.  When the tourists went inside their hotels to sleep, Rivaldo could play, run, and dream; dreams of playing before thousands of adoring fans.  Dreams of playing like the legends he saw on television, dreams of a better, safer, easier life.  But to Rivaldo, they were only dreams.  “I never really thought I could be that good,” he once said.1

But one person did believe: his father, Romildo.  The two were very close.  Romildo had his own dreams, too: dreams of a real escape from the slums, not just a fantasy one.  He encouraged his three sons to train hard and get better at the sport they all loved.  It was their best hope at a better life.  “He always said to us that one of the three brothers would be a professional footballer,” Rivaldo recalled in an interview.1

But when Rivaldo was 16, his number one fan was taken away forever.  His father was killed in a car accident.  Rivaldo was devastated.

Without his father, soccer meant nothing anymore, and he went a whole month without playing.  But his mother begged him to continue, saying, “You can’t give up now.  You must make your father’s dream come true.”1

So Rivaldo the son kept on playing for Romildo the father.  And he worked, even going so far as to walk ten miles by himself almost every night in order to train with his team.  He couldn’t afford a bus.  But through it all, he once said, “My father never left my side; on the street, on the beach, he was always with me.  He helped me on the road to becoming a professional, and now I play just for him.”1

And what a professional he was!  By the age of twenty, Rivaldo had turned pro.  Soon he was playing for one of the biggest teams in Brazil.  By his mid-twenties, Europe was calling.  Rivaldo spent over a decade playing overseas, including a stint at Barcelona, one of the biggest teams in the world.  He made more money than he ever thought possible, and listened as tens of thousands of fans chanted his name.  Just like in his dreams.  Just like in his father’s.

In 1999, he was officially named the best player in the world.  Three years later, he won the World Cup with Brazil.

Despite his success, he never forgot his background.  He founded his own charity, and always donated a part of his wages to help the children who looked up to him the way he had looked up to the legends of his own youth.  He also started a family of his own.  Rivaldo the son had become Rivaldo the father.

One of his sons is named Rivaldinho, Portuguese for “little Rivaldo.”  True to his namesake, Rivaldinho is a soccer talent, too, currently playing for a team called Mogi Mirim EC, one of the first teams his father played for … and the last.

Rivaldo’s long road out of the slums passed a new milestone on February 19th, 2014.2  Forty-one years old, Rivaldo returned home and signed with Mogi Mirim.  On the aforementioned date, ten minutes into the second half, Rivaldo came off the bench and joined his eighteen-year-old son on the pitch for an official game.  They played together for just over half an hour inside the Estadio Romildo Ferreira … the stadium named after Rivaldo’s father, Romildo.

“I thank God for this moment,” Rivaldo said afterward, shortly before retiring.  “I am really happy to have played with my son.”3

Once upon a time, he had wanted to quit.  But Rivaldo the son kept playing for his father, so that, in the end, Rivaldo the father could play with his son.

From all of us here at Hudock Capital Group, Happy Father’s Day!  Thank you to all fathers everywhere!

Sincerely,

Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

Michael J. Hudock, Jr., CPM®
President and Founding Partner
Wealth Consultant

1 “Rivaldo: In the name of the father,” FIFA.com, February 1, 2000.  http://www.fifa.com/ballondor/archive/edition=1999901999/news/newsid=74934/index.html

2 Matthew Nash, “Rivaldo and son Rivaldinho play at Rivaldo Stadium,” Metro, February 19, 2014.  http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/19/rivaldo-makes-history-by-joining-son-in-brazilian-league-action-at-the-age-of-41-4309839/

3 “Rivaldo and Rivaldinho play together,” Marca, February 19, 2014.  http://www.marca.com/2014/02/19/en/football/international_football/1392844760.html

Riverfront June 14, 2021
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Three Tactical Rules: Flying with the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ Sign On

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Riverfront June 7, 2021
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Europe: From Consummate Slacker to Candidate for ‘Most Improved’

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Riverfront June 1, 2021
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Supply Chain Shortages Present Challenges for Companies (Part 2)

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A Message from President Eisenhower May 26, 2021
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When I was young, I remember asking my parents why we observe Memorial Day.  While some people use it mainly as a chance to throw a backyard BBQ, others take the time to visit cemeteries, pour over old photographs, or read the stories of those who died serving our country.

“But why?” I wanted to know.  It seemed like such a sad holiday.  Why do we do it?

That’s when my parents showed me something I’ll never forget.  It’s a speech given by President Dwight Eisenhower – and if there’s any president who understood the “why” of Memorial Day, it was surely Ike.  It’s an extremely short speech, just 250 words.  But those words made me realize why Memorial Day is so important.

In honor of this Memorial Day, I’d like to share those words with you right now.

Whereas the bodies of our war dead lie buried in hallowed plots throughout the land, and it has long been our custom to decorate their graves on Memorial Day in token of our respect for them as beloved friends and kinsmen and of our aspiration that war may be removed from the earth forever; and

Whereas it is fitting that, while remembering the sacrifices of our countrymen, we join in united prayers to Almighty God for peace on earth; and

Whereas the Congress, in a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, provided that Memorial Day should thenceforth be set aside nationally as a day of prayer for permanent peace and requested that the President issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day in that manner:

Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, Saturday, May 30, 1953, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning at eleven o’clock in the morning of that day, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, as a period in which all the people of the Nation, each according to his religious faith, may unite in solemn prayer.

Let us make that day one of twofold dedication. Let us reverently honor those who have fallen in war, and rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace, to the end that the day may come when we shall never have another war—never another Unknown Soldier.1

Read that last paragraph again.

Let us make that day one of twofold dedication. Let us reverently honor those who have fallen in war, and rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace, to the end that the day may come when we shall never have another war—never another Unknown Soldier.

That’s why.  That’s why Memorial Day is so important.

You see, it’s not just a holiday.  It’s an opportunity.  By remembering what we have lost, we give thanks for what we have.  By honoring the sacrifice of war, we place an even greater value on the promise of peace.

Like President Eisenhower said, Memorial Day is a day of twofold dedication.  Dedication for those who died.  Dedication for those who, as a result, may yet live.  A day for remembering what was, and a day for looking forward to what may yet be.

Ever since I read those words, Memorial Day has held a special place in my heart.  I’m so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy – and for those who fought to uphold them.  I’m so grateful for this nation we live in – and for those who laid down their lives to protect it.  I’m grateful for everything they did, and everything we can do because of them.

I’m grateful for Memorial Day.

On behalf of everyone at Hudock Capital Group, I wish you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.

Sincerely,

Barbara B. Hudock CIMA®, CPM®
Chief Executive Officer
Founding Partner

1 Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Proclamation 3016 – Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1953”.  https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/proclamation-3016-prayer-for-peace-memorial-day-1953

Riverfront May 24, 2021
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Supply Chain Shortages Present Challenges for Companies

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