Posted on September 30, 2020

Thoughts on my life as I have passed sixty trips around the sun


by Kent Kuhlmann, Financial Advisor


First, I do not feel like I am sixty, I still think I am thirty and will continue to think so for as long as I can.  Life is dynamic, impermanent, and one never stops learning.  We gain wisdom from experience and experience comes from years on the planet and circumstances both good and bad.

As a kid, I was fearful and anxious.  In my younger years, I was chased around the school at recess and bullied, horribly.  I was beaten up badly by a gang in jr. high because I turned them in for vandalizing our school.  Looking back on these life events, I am grateful.  It forced me to take the path in life that has led me here.  In fact, I think we can all admit that it is the rough times, the adversities in life, that make us grow and become stronger.  You are never really motivated to grow when you are comfortable.  In my gratefulness exercise each day, I am always thankful for all the people and times that have made my life difficult as well as for those that have made it joyous and wonderful.

I was not all that great at some of the sports I played but played them anyway.  I did not grow up in Pop Warner or Little League, so I was not an athletic kid when I finally started playing in high school.  In fact, I was significantly behind.  My folks were wonderful, but they did not do much other than play tennis and I got pretty good at that.  Everything else I had to learn on my own.  I learned to sail, ski, backpack, and SCUBA dive.  I quickly found that to conquer my fears, I needed to run towards them and not away from them.  I was terrified of public speaking, so I tried out for school plays and later went on to play and sing in bands and do stand-up comedy.  I was afraid of heights, so I went to mountaineering school.  I also went on to get my pilot’s license.  I was intimidated by the power of water, so I went to whitewater guide school.   My love for sailing started in high school and I went on to do offshore racing and deliveries, spending days and sometimes weeks at sea. Until today this remains one of my greatest passions.  I wanted to know what riding a motorcycle was all about, so I bought a Harley and rode it all over the country.  I have learned that life without fear is a much better life.  So, as we move into this strange world of COVID, I refuse to play into the fear that is thrown at us from every angle, every day.  I respect heights, the power of water, the dangers of riding a motorcycle or bicycle as I do any disease, but I will not live in fear of it.  I have learned to eat healthy and I eat all organic foods to replace what my body no longer makes like it did when I was younger.  I always try to make sure my immune system is at its best.  I work out and stay in shape because I know this will help keep me healthy and strong and able to keep up with my six-year-old son.

I have seen a lot in my life.  I have lost both parents, been divorced twice, and been wiped out financially.  I have struggled as a small business owner, and countless other hardships like most of us, yet I have a most amazing life.  I am married to my best friend and soulmate and after 11 years of marriage it is still magic.  I have two wonderful stepdaughters both off with their own lives and my incredible son, Bodhi, from whom I learn every day.  I am blessed with so many amazing friends and my life is rich.  I have been so blessed by all the people who have been in my life – including my ex-wives.  Everything and everyone have made me who I am today, and I am proud to be who I am.

This year continues to be a challenge for me and the business.  Although I have successfully navigated the financial dangers this year has thrown at us, challenges pursue, nonetheless.  As most of you know, Bob retired in May.  He and Robin are very happy by the way, and always tell us to say “hello” to everyone.  At that time both Ryan and Austin were to come aboard and begin to step into the role of Jr. Advisors. They were to learn the ins-and-outs of the entire business with the goal of becoming Advisors in the future.  Ryan arrived as planned but Austin ended up staying in Texas for personal reasons for a few more weeks.  The Friday before he was supposed to start, he called to inform me he had decided against taking the job.  This threw nine months of planning and preparation out the window.  A few weeks after that, Gail incurred a personal event in her life and asked if she could continue to work remotely since this went well during the COVID shutdown.  Although this is still going very smoothly, the initial shock presented a double change and forced me into evasive action to figure out Ryan’s new path.  I also had to replace Gail’s presence at the front desk, so I hired Ashley Brooks.  She is a lovely and intelligent young lady with lots of personality.  I am sure many of you have spoken with her.  We managed to get everything working like a well-oiled machine!  But there was going to be one more change last week.  Ryan made the decision to move back to Texas to be with his family and friends.  We wish the best for him in whatever his future may hold.  The Kuhlmann Associates Financial team is here for you and whatever you may need.  Even with these changes we can handle whatever comes your way.

In the meantime, as many of you have noticed, we have rebalanced and repositioned most of your portfolios to fit this strange market we are experiencing.  We are also facing what is certainly going to be a messy and contentious election period and we may see 2000 election issues between Bush and Gore all over again on steroids.  As a result, I have been reading and doing as much research as I can to understand the possible dynamics and keeping up with all of you and your life situations.  In short, forget watching the entire repertoire of Netflix, I have still been putting in sixty-hour weeks and trying to manage my family dynamic amongst the chaos and weirdness.  Again, I say this not for sympathy but for context as I am still peddling as fast as I can.

My spiritual path has also been rich throughout my life and continues to guide me to new understandings.  This has sustained me along with my belief that “everything happens for a reason.”  I love to read and learn more now than I ever have and have an almost insatiable need to question nearly everything I hear or have ever learned.  There is so much we still do not know, are not told and much we are not supposed to know.  I will never stop learning for your benefit, as well as for myself and mine.  Thank you to all of you who have been such cherished friends and teachers in my life.   I am confident we will get through this together and life will indeed continue.  Please reach out with any questions or concerns and I will continue to reach out to you as quickly as possible to check in.