Summer 2018

June 29, 2018

To Travel, Or Not To Travel?

Christina’s Perspective:

I think traveling is important and believe it provides many benefits to both the traveler and the place they are visiting.

When I go somewhere new, I get the chance to talk with people I never would have met if I just stayed around Portsmouth. I enjoy getting to know the locals and learning about the culture from them. Talking and learning from them gives me the benefit of being able to see things from a different perspective. While I’m learning about this new culture, I’m not thinking about work. I love my job, of course, but when I can unplug occasionally to enjoy a new experience I get the benefit of feeling relaxed. Upon my return I feel rejuvenated, happier, and more productive. The best benefit of all, it makes me appreciate living in New Hampshire even more.

Tourism can be a huge economic benefit to places that can bring in travelers. With increased tourism comes improved infrastructure, more employment opportunities, preservation of their heritage, and an increased sense of community identity. I’m reminded of my trip to Croatia in 2016 when I was talking with the taxi driver on an hourlong drive from Krka National Park to Split. He talked about how the Croatian economy is driven by tourism and how much better it has gotten in recent years. In 2016, tourism contributed almost 19% to Croatia’s GDP. They have done a fantastic job promoting tourism to their country and they are reaping the benefits of it.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the late Anthony Bourdain, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

Susan’s Perspective:

Some of you may recall the children’s book, Miss Rumphius. At an early age, Miss Rumphius was told by her
father that she must travel far and wide before settling back home and doing something to improve the world. Many people love to visit new lands, experience cultures and cuisines and witness natural beauty and historic architecture. I’ve often wondered why it is I don’t have the “travel bug”: am I lazy, unadventurous, complacent – comfortably numb? Over the years I’ve come to think of myself of an interior traveler— “a tourist on the realm of stillness”; that is, if given the luxury of time I might prefer to sit and think. To just be. Traveling can be hard work. On a recent trip to Costa Rica the return home took us 22 hours, which negated for me nearly all the benefit of going in the first place!

I think about my mother, whose only trip in life was a drive from Massachusetts to Florida. And my mother-in-law, who never once got on a plane. Were their lives any less rich? It is a luxury in this modern society to be so mobile and we are a culture that purportedly prefers experience over consumption, although it seems to me we like our stuff, too. But flying surely increase’s one’s carbon footprint. I heard we could recycle trash for a whole year and yet nullify the benefit of that entire effort with one flight across the country. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote of the damage to fragile environments from the many tour boats, buses, helicopters – even bicycles – that crowd and clog once sleepy undiscovered locales. We see it here in Portland and now Bar Harbor is wrestling with the impact of thousands debarking gigantic cruise ships.

Miss Rumphius ultimately returned to her beloved state of Maine and gave the gift of lupines. These multiplied across meadows, fields and hillsides, bringing color and beauty for all to witness. For me, I’ll skip the trip, stay home, and garden.

The Repeal of Net Neutrality

Net neutrality is the basic principle that all traffic and data on the internet is treated equally. This means that internet service providers, or ISPs, (like Comcast and Spectrum) cannot discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of equipment, or method of communication. On June 11th, the Obama-era net neutrality rule was repealed. This can lead to ISPs intentionally blocking or slowing down traffic to specific websites or content (censorship). For example, if an ISP had stake in Facebook they could speed up the data flow when visiting that site vs. when you visit Twitter. Another example is a company like Comcast, which owns NBC, favoring NBC’s content over ABC’s. In a nutshell, this could give power to the largest companies to control what you see and read on the internet.

Those for the repeal argue that net neutrality “deters innovation and depresses investment in building and expanding broadband networks”. Supporters, which include most big tech companies like Google and Facebook, say “the internet as we know it may not exist without these protections”. The internet/broadband had been managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) but under rules passed in 2015 the FCC reclassified broadband as a utility and shifted oversight to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The issue here is that the FTC, which currently oversees consumer protection, isn’t exclusively focused on the telecommunication sector and lacks the ability to make rules (unlike the FCC). Enforcement by the FTC only goes as far as a company’s voluntary public commitment.

The part that alarms me the most is that these companies are now in control of what content you see and can limit what you have access to. Many argue that the First Amendment right to free speech is in jeopardy. Imagine a world where you Googled candidates for US President – and only one came up? What it means for you: this will affect how you experience the internet. Whether for better or worse is yet to be seen.

Cornerstone Happenings

On June 6th, Cornerstone participated in the United Way of York County’s 23rd Annual Day of Caring at the YMCA of Southern Maine in Biddeford. We headed up the front garden team, tackling weeding, mulching, and pruning of various flowers and shrubbery—all to help prepare for the Y’s Camp Sokokis, its summer day camp, for ages 5-12.

2018 Summer Reading List

Susan: Armand Gamache by Louise Penny and Truman
by David McCullough

Jill: SweetBitter by Stephanie Danler and Algorithms To
Live By by Christian & Griffiths

Christina: The Elephant In the Brain by Kevin Simler

Brittany: Falling With Wings by Dianna De La Garza

Mackenzie: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

Carrie: Once Upon A Farm: Growing Love, Life, and Hope
On A New Frontier by Rory Feek

Nichole: Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin

Did You Know...

July is National Blueberry Month! In North America, blueberries are grown in 35 of the 50 states. Not only are they delicious, but they are rich in fiber, low in calories, and rich in Vitamin C!

Welcome, Brittany & Nichole!

Brittany Landry joined the Cornerstone team in April as our new Office Manager. Brittany is looking forward to helping provide a positive client experience to all clients. Prior to Cornerstone, Brittany worked as a Recruiter for a specialized staffing firm. She lives in Falmouth with her 13-year-old black cat, Storm.

Nichole Myers joined the Cornerstone team in February as our Portfolio Manager. Prior to Cornerstone, Nichole worked as an Associate Wealth Management Advisor in Boston. Nichole will be focusing on client portfolios while she pursues her CFP® designation. She is a dog mom to her German Shepherd, Murphy.

« Go back to Financial Planning Newsletters