financial planning

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I ran across an article some time back with the headline, “When a million isn’t enough: why bankers struggle.” The million wasn’t their savings – it was their annual income. And (fighting back sniffles here), it apparently isn’t enough.

“It’s really not that unusual to find Wall Street bankers who are close to declaring themselves bankrupt,” said Gary Goldstein, co-founder of U.S. search firm Whitney Partners. “Some people are really struggling.” And on and on the story went.

I know, I know…my heart is breaking too…

Mario Mancuso / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/mtsrkc5

Sometimes the dumbest thing you can do is not ask a stupid question.

Maybe you have no idea where to start in thinking about retirement planning. And so you think asking about it might be a so-called stupid question.

Well, if that’s you, it isn’t a stupid question – it’s a good one.

So congratulations for just asking! Asking is the first step to gaining wisdom. Acting on what you’ve learned is the second (and most important) step.

wackystuff / Flickr.com https://tinyurl.com/hsyzp3j

The best time to fire someone is before you hire them. And sometimes the best loan for you is the one you don’t take out.

I’ve had people come to me loaded down with poor past decisions, currently reflected in a crummy credit rating. Then, while treading water in a sea of maxed out credit cards, they find it… their dream home! It would be perfect for the kids, perfect for the neighbors, perfect for work and..well…it's perfect!

Guilia Forsythe / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/zatmg97

If the purpose of a financial plan is to predict the future for you, I’d say save your money. You’ll do about as well with a monkey throwing darts at some charts.

But if you want to know what the real purpose of a financial plan is, look no further than what happened to the University of Arkansas Razorbacks and the New Orleans Saints football teams a few years ago.

If you aren’t a football fan, here’s a little background on both teams: each had a great season in 2011. And both teams brought most of their key player talent into the 2012 season.

Ken Teegardin / Flickr.com http://tinyurl.com/jvdw3g5

How is anyone supposed to do any financial planning these days?

After all, we don’t know if taxes are doing down, the affordable care act is going away, jobs are coming back or a border fence is going up!

How are we supposed to know what to do next?

Really? Is it really that difficult?

Or are you just stuck because your concept of financial planning is proving to be fatally flawed?

Flickr.com / duncan c / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

What is your time horizon when it comes to your retirement planning?

Before you answer, check your calendar, your watch…or maybe your birth certificate. I’m guessing your time horizon is a lot longer than you might realize.

If, for example, you said that you have a 20 year time horizon, I’m guessing you mean the time until you plan to retire. So that would make you mid-forties (sorry to give that away).

You feel like you are at the base of your own personal financial Mount Everest and you’ve got a mere 20 years to climb to the top. Fine.

Tax Credits / Flickr.com / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Not everyone is rich. So, does the profession of financial planning have anything to offer to the average or even poor person? What could just plain old regular folks do to live better?

I have met individuals worth multiple millions who had no time, no love and no peace in their lives. I have also met others who could list all their possessions on the back of a napkin whose family, community and lifestyle were a constant source of joy to them.

So let’s begin with the understanding that wealth never made anyone rich and poverty never made anyone…well, poor.

Budget or Bust

Jul 27, 2016
Trevor Bashnick / Flickr.com

You’re selling your house and downsizing…or, upsizing. Either way, you’ve found the newest home of your dreams. Except that it will require a bit of…updating as they say.

As you wander through the new house, you’re making lists of carpets, cabinets and carports that will have to undergo some renovation.

Unless you’ve got more money than the Republican presidential nominee, you’d better do some serious planning before one thread of that ugly shag carpet gets ripped up.

Ken Walton / Flickr.com

If you’re one of those souls who get out of bed each day and can’t wait to get to work – good for you!

But even if you feel like you enjoy your work so much you can never imagine stopping – don’t for one second think that gives you a pass on responsibly planning your financial future.

Why?

Because there is a world of difference between “get to” and “got to.”

Right now you “get to” go to work. That’s as much a reflection of your attitude as it is of your circumstances.

Darrell Miller / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Whenever you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else.

Suppose you are thinking about buying a small lake house. The price seems pretty good, but something is bothering you. You still have some other credit card debt you haven’t paid off yet. The angel on your shoulder says take care of the debt, but the devil whispers that you’ve got to pull the trigger on this kind of thing quickly or someone else may buy it.

How do we know what’s right?

Well, we could agree to meet again in twenty years and then we would both know what the right decision was.

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