Wisdom on Wealth

Wednesday at 7:45 a.m.

Everyone has money questions, whether it's what to do about retirement, or how to invest for the first time. Each week, Byron Moore offers practical, down-to-earth advice on handling money; and shows that even though money is important, paying attention to it can keep it from ruling your life.

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Twenty-five years ago, Bob Castiglione told me, Money is not math, and math is not money. At the time I just scratched my head (till all my hair fell out), but I finally figured out what he meant.

The advent of personal computers thirty years ago enabled those of us in the fledgling financial planning community to crunch numbers to our hearts content. Thus enabled to calculate the numerical nuances of infinite financial possibilities, financial planners began producing elaborate projections of potential financial futures.

BasicGov / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/hnhp7ek

Most governmental bodies, institutions and large businesses have some sort of disaster preparedness plan. Do you?

It seems like not a year passes that some fire out west destroys dozens, if not hundreds of houses incinerated in its path. Whether its a western wildfire or just a stovetop grease fire that burns down your house, make sure that whatever you lose to a fire, youve got the coverage you need. As with any insurance decision, I recommend you speak with a licensed professional agent. Here are a few things to consider:

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Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die to get there.

Here is a self-discovery conversation I often have with people: suppose you are 35 years old and need $1 million to retire at age 65. So you’ve got 30 years. You figure you can save $10,000 a year and let’s just say your financial crystal ball says you could earn 5% per year on the money.

At the end of 30 years, you’ll have almost $700,000.

“But that’s not enough,” you observe. “I need a million to retire.”

OK – so what shall we change in this equation?

Gregory Roberts / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/hdaocon

Let me tell you the story of the Pyle brothers.

They did nearly everything alike. They married twin sisters, lived next door to one another and invested exactly in exactly the same things. As a result, they each reached retirement age with a…pile of money.

Big R. Pyle didn’t much think about life’s risks. He shunned insurance, drove without a seatbelt and actually went swimming before his mother’s not-for-30 minutes-after-dinner rule was up.

Few things cost more than unexamined assumptions.

Never is this more true than when parents begin thinking about sending their first child to college.

Where will Junior go to college? And why? And who is driving this decision?

I remember a meeting with two parents who wanted to send their child to their alma mater, which was now a very expensive private school much more expensive than when they went. They would have had to borrow the money, so I simply asked them, Why are you doing this?

Gregory Roberts / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/hdaocon

Last week we asked the question concerning financial goal setting and financial planning: “Is bigger really better?”

It didn’t take long to realize that just because you have a big number (i.e., a large amount of money at retirement time), it does not necessarily follow that everything is fine. We saw that bigger doesn’t always mean better.

Gregory Roberts / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/hdaocon

When you were a kid, did you ever imagine retiring with $1,000,000?

You’d be set! But if you are anywhere near retirement age now, you know $1,000,000 doesn’t necessarily make you as secure as you once thought it would. So what’s the solution?

Most people could answer in a single word: more.

The traditional approach to financial planning can be summarized in three words: bigger is better.

David Goehring / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/j7m2hj5

Have you see those ads from the nice folks who want to buy your pension for cash? Who couldn’t use an extra six figures worth of money? But…how do you tell if that is a good deal?

Well, this would be a great time to be very, very careful. That guy who says he wants to buy your pension may be Mr. Potter knocking at your front door.

Clayton Scott / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/jbmplh8

A certain amount of financial stress is fact of life in our modern world.

As my wife used to tell our teenagers on a nearly daily basis – what you are feeling is 98.6 – very normal.

But sometimes it all seems to come down around you – suddenly: a job loss, an illness, an unexpected emergency, a foolish purchase you wish you’d not made…however you got here, you now have more demands financially than dollars you can find.

So how do you handle those seasons of life when your financial circumstances threaten to overwhelm you?

This week on Wisdom on Wealth Byron talks about our need for financial life boats such as insurance, legal documents, and savings. 

He compares the famed Titanic to our lives saying,"after you hit your an ice berg, it's too late."

The crew of the Titanic were not prepared for the possibility of the iceberg, so they did not have enough precautions or training when such an event happen.

In our own financial life Byron reminds us that, "you trade the certain but small loss of protection for the possible but horrific loss if tragedy strikes."

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