Day 28 of 365 Tiny Changes
There are rainbows in my kitchen. Yes, they’re real. They come to visit me every day the sun is out. I love it when they visit. They remind me that beauty is in the simple things, and that all is right with my world, when the sun is shining.
These rainbows have to do a little work to get into my kitchen, because my windows face south and west. Since the sun rises in the east, it’s no easy trick for the rainbows to reach my kitchen.
Guy has a truck. This truck has a hard top for the bed. 90% of the time this top is sitting on wooden saw horses in our back yard, on the south side of the house.
I have a lamp that is made of beveled glass that sits on our kitchen table, located inside a south facing window.
The sun rises, its rays bounce off of the truck hard top, through my kitchen window, onto my beveled glass lamp, and wha-la I have rainbows in my kitchen.
Beautiful rainbows, that move as the sun moves. They end their visit, when the sun is too high over our house for the rays to bounce properly to reach into my kitchen. I’m a little sad, every time they leave.
As simple as a rainbow in my kitchen sounds, once examined, it’s discovered that it is actually a series of complicated steps to become a reality. This seems to be true with so many parts of life.
Today, I am going to see a financial planner. Not just any financial planner, but a holistic financial planner. (And you thought the holistic movement was limited to medical care.) She specializes in taking care of a client’s whole financial picture, based on their values, dreams, and goals. I’ve heard her speak, twice, and have met with her once, but I wasn’t ready to make the commitment to a holistic financial future, yet. I am, now.
It is so easy to get into the rut of automation. The paycheck is automatically deposited into the checking account. The bills are automatically paid from this same checking account. The left over money is spent using a debit card on things that are always needed, like food and gasoline. All rote activities, where everything is accepted and nothing is examined.
The same for the investments. The deposit into the 401K is made pre-tax from the paycheck. The type of investment is directed solely by the contract the employer has with the investor. Very little control is given to the employee, so most just allow the deposit and never review the results.
This whole automated thing was just not working for us.
The industry I was working in was hit dramatically by the economic downturn. Over a 5 year period my income dropped by more than $100,000 a year. When I finally calculated that it was actually costing me $2.34 an hour to go to work, I quit.
Since that day 18 months ago. I have been working diligently to get our financial house in order. I created spread sheets that track every penny we have coming in and going out.
Doing this has helped me to discover where we are spending more than is necessary, out of habit, or lack of oversight. I have paid off lots and lots of debt, and started really paying attention to our investments.
Investments should never be left to fend for themselves. I have heard many a financial professional state that if you are in the market for the long haul, you shouldn’t worry about your losses or gains for the short term, it will all come out in the wash. I call Bull Shit!
When I started tracking our investments and reviewing the activity that had transpired while we were busy doing other things, I discovered we had lost over $50,000! You might say, so what, the market will come back, it always does. I say, I will never get that $50,000 back.
I had a client that thought this same thing. She was 70 years old. When the market tanked, she patiently waited for it to bounce back. Unfortunately, when it did start to turn around, she couldn’t take advantage of it, because all of her money was gone. It had disappeared into the black hole of unwatched investments, never to return again. She was 70 years old and had nothing, absolutely nothing. She was forced to move in with her daughter and pray that she could sell her house for something, before the bank foreclosed on it, because she could no longer afford her house payment. This will not become my story!
If I had been paying attention, I would have moved our lost $50,000 into an investment that wasn’t loosing nearly as much, or as fast. When the market came back, I would have been able to earn on these better invested funds, and recouped any losses we had more quickly, instead of trying to make up the loss with the little that was left after this loss.
Since I have been paying attention, I have been able to react to market deficits and move our money around to take advantage of the small headway that happens in the market, or at least move it into much safer investments until the market comes back around.
There is more to financial health than just investing well. There is also taxes, and income and proper future planning.
I am planning to launch 2 business’s in 2012. I want to make sure that I am prepared financially for them. Not just in start up funds, and cash flow, but structuring as well. Will I need an LLC, or an S Corp? Will I need a Living or a Fiduciary Trust? What else am I missing? These are questions better left for the experts.
Up to this point I have been relying on the experts written word, and fitting it to my personal situation. It’s time to put out the money and get the specific, personal, information I need to become financially strong.
It’s going to take some planning, and some work, but I see rainbows in my financial future, too.
Tiny Change 28: Seek help from experts.
What have you lost, by simply not paying attention?
Tiny Blessing for the Day: I am blessed to be able to see and enjoy the little beauties of the world, like rainbows in my kitchen.