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There are less than two weeks left in 2017.

Usually at this time of year, I write about all the smart things we can do to reduce our income tax liability, and yes, there are steps you can still do. No need to waste them and no need to pay more income tax than you legally should.

Maybe as I get a little older, I reflect on the year that is about to close and I get a little melancholy.

Some things went well in 2017 and some things, not so much.

It has been another booming year for investments, if you are invested in the stock market. Nearly all stock market investors have made boatloads of money.

Overall, the U. S. economy is thriving. Businesses are booking record years, although we have had a few set back locally.

There was a little fire you might have noticed. Some families and many businesses were forced to make many changes.

Like you, we have friends who are starting to rebuild.

They have lost a lot of “stuff” and are beginning to start anew. They have cleared the plots where their homes used to lie and met with folks to create new structural and floor plans. Some have said they will build like their old homes and many have said they will make dramatic changes.

Change is not easy for most folks. Little changes do not take much effort but big changes require big adjustments.

As my wife and I packed our cars in preparation to evacuate, we had to make some hard decisions.

What should we take? What was truly important and what was not? Luckily, our home survived along with all our “stuff.”

Our cars were loaded with the important things and house was still full of the not so important things.

Deciding what to take was hard. We dodged a bullet as the fire moved away from our neighborhood. We were grateful for the shift in the wind. Several of our friends were not so fortunate.

So how was your year?

Our 2017 is drawing to a close. Did you prosper financially? Was it a normal, uneventful year? Rarely is a full year without drama.

Besides the fire, many of our friends had successes and tragedies this year.

Some had events like graduations, births of new family members, weddings, promotions and so many joyful happenings.

Some of us had difficult years with the loss of dear family members, jobs, and possessions. Some had health issues that permanently changed their lives. ]

Some had failures and financial setbacks. For most of us, life goes on and we deal with the cards that we are given.

Here’s to a fruitful and joyous 2018.

Let us all be grateful for those we love.

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Tom and John Mills are registered investment advisers and certified financial planners. Reach them at 254-0155, Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Strategic Wealth Advisors Group (SWAG), a registered investment adviser.