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Henry Walker, CEO Farmers & Merchants Bank  

Click Here for Henry Walker's Bio

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Bear Sterns' scandal's deeper impact
Monday, July 14, 2008
Reflections on July 4
Prioritize your investments. Kids should top the list.
The heat is on as we continue to empty our pockets at the pump and figure out how to cut corners in our everyday spending.  It feels as if this roller coaster ride we call the economy has taken a plunge downward and we are trying to figure out how to get back up.  As a banker, I was stunned to watch the Dow Jones plummet to its worst June since the great depression.  With the persistent downward spiral of sluggish home sales, the rising cost of food and the constantly increasing price at the pump, many of us are walking around with a bleak view of our current condition, making it difficult to enjoy our prized California summer.

These past few months have been a whirlwind and when I finally stopped to catch my breath, I started to re-evaluate my investments.  As the new CEO of F&M, all eyes seemed to be on me, and it was exciting but difficult to prioritize all that demanded my attention.  When I finally decided to drown out the sound in order to focus on what is most valuable to me, all I could think about were my kids.  They keep me on my toes, tease me and bring me unspeakable joy; they are the most important investment I have and yet I needed to prioritize my time so that I could find a balance between working hard and spending quality time with them.

Delegating, managing and keeping to a schedule that included my kids shaped my new way of living.  When outside events began to dominate my calendar, I would reposition myself and adjust my schedule to include quality time with them.  The declining economy drives many of us to focus on our circumstances. While it’s important to navigate our way through uncertain times, it should not dominate our way of life, nor rob us of our happiness.  While I am passionate about banking and thrive in my current position, I recognize the most important part of my life is staring back at me and decided to make it my most treasured investment.

This summer, I am dedicating my time and energy to my kids by facilitating trips for fun and humanitarian purposes to give us perspective.  Rather than allowing the economic conditions to cloud my judgment, I want to invest in the lives of others.  I am spending the week with my kids, playing in the sun and will take them on a mission trip to Peru to help those who are desperately in need.  The current economic conditions we face may slightly impact our current lifestyle, but do not compare to the pervasive poverty permeated in other regions.  I have discovered the true value of an investment is dictated by how you spend your time and not measured by how much money you currently have to spend.