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How to Fight America’s Loneliness Epidemic

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As hundreds of merry Marylanders flocked to the streets of downtown Baltimore to celebrate the holidays, nearly a dozen of The Oxford Club’s top decision-makers gathered nearby for what promised to be a tense late-night meeting.

Long before any of us arrived, we knew this pivotal event would test our resolve – and that we could trust no one.

One by one, we filed into the room and took our seats around the long mahogany table. And when everyone was accounted for… we began.

After more than an hour of contentious negotiations, someone abruptly slapped a slip of paper onto the table. Immediately, I sprang up out of my chair, banged my fist on the table and exclaimed…

“A 7 of spades! I’ve got a full house! I win!”

A Somber Reminder

Unfortunately, I did not go on to win our highly anticipated Oxford Club poker game. (I went all-in and lost all my chips a few hands later.)

But that poker game is still the highlight of one of my favorite weeks of 2023.

You see, unlike most of my colleagues here at the Club, I don’t reside in the Baltimore area. I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which means I’m over four hours and 240 miles away from the people I work and talk with every day.

Sure, working from home has its perks. But we all know sending off a quick email just isn’t the same as walking down the hall, popping into your co-worker’s office and striking up a conversation.

Nowadays, it feels like it’s harder than ever to make genuine connections with people.

I saw this chart the other day on “The Platform Formerly Known as Twitter,” and it stopped me dead in my tracks. It’s a somber reminder of the lonely reality many Americans face as we age…

Chart: Who Americans spend their time with, by age
According to that data, the average person my age spends around 4 1/2 hours alone every day. But for me as a remote worker, it’s normally close to twice that number.

That’s why I’ve learned to cherish the few weeks I spend in Baltimore every year – especially the week of our annual holiday party, which is one of the only times that all of us are able to be together.

While I was in town at the start of last month, I shared a meal with Marc and Rachel, I caught up with Jenna (the all-star copy editor behind Wealthy Retirement) and met her fiancé for the first time, and I enjoyed s’mores and doughnuts with Kailyn, the video-editing mastermind behind Marc’s State of the Market YouTube series.

As the week drew to a close, I was full of gratitude to be a part of this Club and to be able to work with so many amazing people.

My Challenge to You

Here’s my lasting takeaway from this holiday season: The memories we create with the people around us can make up for all the other junk that goes on in our lives.

And with that in mind, I have a simple challenge for you as we turn the page to a new year.

Take the leap.

Whatever “the leap” means to you… whether it’s joining a gym, picking up a new hobby or finding an excuse to get out of the house… I encourage you to dive headfirst into making memories with the people you care about.

Of course, I’d love it if you’d allow The Oxford Club to be a part of that leap. Our No. 1 priority in 2024 is fostering a deeper sense of community among our Members, and I think you’ll really appreciate some of the things we have in the works.

But no matter whether you’re a brand-new Wealthy Retirement reader or a longtime Oxford Club Member, I want you to know that we’re in your corner cheering you on.

We’re truly grateful that you’ve allowed us to play a role in your wealth-building journey. Whatever may come in 2024 and beyond, here’s to playing our cards right… together.

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