Monthly Archives: June 2011

Is it a “gain”? Or is it a “recovery”?

we love the navy blue line!!

Let’s start with this article I read this morning on…

The article talks about how the market has been experiencing “gains” this week.  I have a hard time with that type of language because it isn’t entirely accurate when looking at the big picture.  The Wall Street media machine is clever with how they word things and hopeful that folks have short term memories. 

To us, a “gain” is something more than what we originally had.  In addition, it is something that we get to “keep” and not be subjected to potentially giving back at some point in time (paper gains).  If upward movement in the market isn’t getting us above where we once were then I will argue that it IS NOT a gain, but rather a recovery.

When we speak of gains, we prefer “locked in gains”… those are the kind that can never be given back due to market volatility.  Take a look at the above picture.  In short, it represents a story… and is the story that we tell our clients each day.  If you are on the navy blue line, then the above linked article is correct, it is a “gain”.  If you are on the dark red line, then it is not a gain but rather a “recovery”. 

Regardless of what the market is doing–our clients never have to recover!  That is peace of mind and sleep insurance!!  We invite you to come on over to the navy blue line–our clients love it, you should learn about it!!


Taking off the training wheels.

This is Garret… he is my youngest child and will be 5 years old at the end of July.  The picture is a few years old but has tremendous relevance because I am in the process of trying to teach him how to ride his bike without training wheels.

Last night he decided that he wanted to give it another shot.  I broke out my wrench, removed the training wheels, put his helmet on (him not me) and we slowly walked out into the cul-de-sac.  We began to devise our plan of attack on the obstacle in front of us–the open road with no training wheels.

I carefully explained to him the importance of positioning and continuing to peddle but also focusing on his balance.  He understood completely.  So, I stood behind him with my hands on his shoulders (for safety) and he peddled, wobbly up the road.  After he got (or I thought he got) comfortable, I slowly started to remove my hands and give him the freedom to navigate the open road on his own.  When I would let go, the balance wasn’t as strong and he would begin to fall to one side.  Naturally, the little fella got scared.  “Daddy, I don’t want to fall–it will hurt”.  I said, “Garret, I promise I will not let you fall–I will not let you get hurt”.  That reassurance was good enough for him so we continued on with the exercise for awhile with the same results.  Eventually he had enough for one day and we played basketball instead.

What was interesting to me about this whole experience though was how I was also able to relate this situation to our practice.  You see, our clients have a fears.  They fear inflation and reduction in their purchasing power.  They fear the stock market because of volatility and their dollars potentially “falling”.  They fear not being “positioned” adequately or having “balance”.  They fear outliving their money.  There are number of different fears that our clients share, but you get the point.

What we tell our clients and prospective clients is something very similar to what I told Garret last night.  “I promise, I will not let you fall–I will not let you get hurt”.

The choice is yours–you can leave the training wheels on or take them off.  Either way you will have a great ride full of opportunity and you will NEVER fall!!

Have a great day!


Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

26.2 Miles!!

The above picture is me crossing a finish line that marked the completion of my first marathon on January 30th, 2011 in Miami, Florida.  It was an amazing experience–one that had meaning in several areas of my life.  It was a journey that started long before the gun went off at 6am that morning and the completion of this marathon started with a goal… a goal that was set years before I ever began running.

Interesting fact: About 2 1/2 years ago, I hated running.  I steal my wife’s quote regarding running and say “I only run when I’m being chased”.  However, what started with a goal of getting in shape and shedding a few extra pounds turned into a new kind of challenge with tremendous self-discipline and constantly “raising the bar”.  This “lifestyle” change has transformed my character and who I am in so many ways.  Who would have thought?

The first time I worked with a personal trainer he beat me to death for 60 minutes lifting weights, doing lunges and all that other stuff that makes you hurt for days.  He also lectured me on my diet and told me of all the changes I needed to make “if” I was going to be successful in my journey.  Then after 60 minutes of torture he told me he wanted me to get on the treadmill (a.k.a “dreadmill”) and run for 10 minutes without stopping.  This was my assignment to satisfy my cardio workout for the day.  It was awful and I thought I was going to die.  I made it through the 10 minutes though and I actually felt great afterward… weird.  How did I do it?  Well, at that time I said to myself, “If I am going to lose 15-20lbs and get in shape, cardio is going to be part of that.  I can do anything for 10 minutes, right?”.  So I set a little mini-challenge for myself.  Ultimately I went from saying, “Ok Aaron, one more mile or you’ve got this–come on, 10 more minutes” to saying, “I’m going to run my first 10k, then half-marathon, then full marathon.  How in the world am I going to do this?

Fast forward 2 years.  I went from not being able to run more than 10 minutes/or one mile to dreading the thought of taking a day off from running.  I LOVE IT.  Why?  Is it because it keeps me in shape?  Is it because I am training for another event?  Is it because I am trying to beat my last time?  Is it because I know that when I am running I will have 45 min – 60 min of time to myself where I can clear my head and think?  Is it because it is a good way to channel stress?  Is it because I want to motivate other people to run?  Is it because I want to inspire people to do things they didn’t think were possible?  Is it because I NEVER give up?  The answer is—-all of the above, and more!

This entry sort of sounds like it should be on a “personal” blog as opposed to a “business” blog, right?  Well, the answer to that is… it could really belong on BOTH.  You see, I have a competitive personality and an inner drive and determination that makes me believe that anything is possible.  In addition, I have a motivational inferno burning inside me and a goal in life to inspire every person I come in contact with.  I want to lead by example and inspire others to take action.  How does that translate to financial services?  I am extremely diligent, highly competitive, a very hard worker who is caring and compassionate for all of my clients.  I am constantly trying to do things that others think are not possible.  You want to see if I can do something?  Tell me it can’t be done–then watch me prove you wrong.  Tell me that it is not possible to have safety, opportunity for growth and a guaranteed lifetime income on all of your dollars at the same time and I will politely show you that it CAN be done!!  I lead by example!

I guess that is just a few more random thoughts as I begin to learn this new blog concept.  I will enjoy this, I think.  And, WE will be back again soon with more information about us, what we do and how we can work for you!!

Lastly, I read this on the wall of the locker room at LifeTime fitness last week one early morning.  I didn’t want to forget it so I took a picture of it with my cell phone and re-typed it here.  I would love to give credit to the original author but it wasn’t listed.  Just know that it isn’t my original work, but it sure is awesome!!  “I am not a born athlete. I am a believer.  I will not listen to the voices in my head.  I will continue to run.  Far and fast.  I live to feel my heart in my chest.  The rush of blood.  The pounding of pavement.  I will not give up.  I will taste the salt of my own victory.  I will win my own race”

Don’t you think that message applies to several areas of life??  Not just fitness.  I agree.

Have a great day,


It’s time to be heard!

We are Clark Financial Group!!

Someone once said, “if they wrote a story about your life would it be worth reading?”.  I think about that each time I consider writing because I don’t ever want any of my letters, articles, emails, blog posts, etc. to be either boring or useless information.

It’s time to be heard so we are taking our story to a new format—Wordpress!  We have an incredible story to tell and we want folks to hear it.  From what our clients tell us, YOU want to hear it!! In fact, we typically hear from our clients “I WISH I WOULD HAVE HEARD OF THIS STRATEGY 20 YEARS AGO”!  We will do our best to keep you informed.  In the meantime, this is our first entry so allow me (Aaron) to intoduce us.

Dennis & Aaron Clark–we are Clark Financial Group.  Located in Overland Park, KS (Kansas City Metro).  We have built our practice helping our clients discover “safe money strategies” to protect their profits.  With over 50 years of combined experience in the financial services industry, we have been grateful to show our clients how they can have safety and opportunity on the same dollars at the same time.

This blog is in the development stages but we will try to post often!!  You can also follow us on twitter @ClarkFinGroup and we will soon be on facebook as well.  In addition, you can visit our website (also under construction) at

Thank you for your interest–