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European Vacation and Sequel Lessons

European Vacation and Sequel Lessons

May 28, 2024

After emotionally scarring his family in 1983 during a disastrous cross-country Vacation road trip, food additive designer Clark W. Griswold decides that once is not enough and that he and his family will embark on a second family vacation, this time to Europe in the 1985 sequel.


As with most sequels, this movie was not nearly as fun or creative as the original. The parents, played by Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, endure a number of mishaps across Europe. This includes losing the family's camcorder in Paris, getting into a Bavarian folk dance brawl in Germany, and renting a car from thieves in Rome. All of this frustrates and embarrasses their kids, who happen to be played by different actors in each successive movie.

All of this led to less box office success and far less of a critical reception than the original. The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the sequel a score of just 37%. One critic stated, “The journey lacks the laughs that made the original outing so memorable.” Unfortunately, none of this stopped the Griswolds, as they tried to create additional family memories in the constantly playing Christmas Vacation movie from 1989, as well as the thoroughly forgettable Vegas Vacation movie that was released in 1997.

Many of you know that Rachel and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary on April 12th. It took me 50 years to get to Europe for the first time in 2015 when we were lucky enough to travel with a group of friends to spend six days in Tuscany and an additional six days in Paris. We had our first European Vacation sequel in 2019, when we spent 12 days in Florence, Cinque Terre, and Milan. I am happy to report that our sequel went much better than Clark and Ellen's.

Our next European vacation sequel was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, we were able to reschedule and celebrate our wedding anniversary in northeast Italy, Croatia, and Greece, which were always on Rachel’s bucket list of destinations.

The trip included many great moments and memories. This was the third time we had been to different parts of Italy. It is always amazing and leaves us wanting to go back and explore more. Several of you had told us how incredible Croatia and Greece were on your trip and travels. We are very happy we could explore these areas and take a Greek cooking class as well. I will share a few pictures with you below.

Source: Jesse's Phone

I would like to share a few lessons I have learned over the last few weeks. The first is that I was reminded of something that our good friend and estate planning Attorney John Rasnick told our clients many times, “In the whole history of mankind, we have only figured out three things you can do with money…save it, spend it, or give it away. And if you don’t give it away while you’re living, you will give it away when you die because you can’t take it with you”.

This is not only great wisdom and advice, but it is true. John passed away in March 2021, far too young, and we miss him every day. There is not a week that goes by that his name does not come up several times in discussions with clients.

One of the great things the financial planning process does is give you clarity and a roadmap to follow to help reach your retirement planning goals. This allows you to know how much you need to save and invest along the way to get there. It also means that if you know you are saving enough, you have the freedom to spend or give away the balance.

Therefore, I encourage you to do just that and use some of your hard-earned resources to create shared experiences and memories with your family, friends, and loved ones. As I have shared with many of you over the years, these investments always increase in value over time.

Source: Jesse's Phone

The second thing I learned was that I am not indispensable. I had never been out of the office for 15 days before. After working as a financial advisor for 36 years, I thought it was time to give it a try. Luckily, the team we have built at Impel Wealth Management was able to talk with you, answer your questions, and keep moving life forward even when I wasn’t there. This gives me the confidence to plan future trips and travels. Thank you for trusting the amazing team we have put together to help you in my absence.

The third thing I learned as I approach my 60th birthday next year is that I have become more aware that there is a certain phase of life when you have the potential to use the gifts of health, the gift of time, and the gift of financial resources to create these types of shared experiences. If any one of these gifts disappears, life changes.

Therefore, as long as I am blessed with those gifts, I intend to use them to invest in my wife and family each year so that we can create these types of family adventures. My goal is to build a legacy book that can be shared with my loved ones for many years. I have encouraged many of you to do the same in the past, and I will continue to do so even more vociferously going forward.

In future blogs, I will address how to use some of the wealth we have worked so hard to help you build to bless others as well. Because, as our friend John Rasnick so astutely reminded us, you can’t take it with you.

Thank you for letting me share this message with you. I look forward to continuing to hear about the travels and shared memories you create with your families. This is the source of many of our bucket list ideas. I trust that we will all be more successful in our ventures than Clark and Ellen as we continue “Moving Life Forward.”

© 2024 Jesse Hurst

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