Putting the F-U-N in Funerals

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Putting the F-U-N in Funerals

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Recently I was at a funeral. It’s a privilege as we age as our way of paying our respect for our family, friends, co-workers, etc.

Yet as I attended two funerals over the past month I started to wonder why there isn’t more F-U-N at funerals?

We have pastors attempting to deliver a message of hope, humor and connect with the attendees, yet often time they never met the deceased person.

One pastor made a very interesting comment about thinking about the impacts we have left after we pass. That started getting me to think about all the impacts I’ve made along my journey and how many more I’ll make along the way.

One example was a grandfather who loved his granddaughter so deeply and she was the apple of his eye. Not only they did spend time together, but they also spoke every day. They were best friends. This started the day she was born and for over a decade and his impact on his little granddaughter will last, he whole life and for generations to come. Most grandparents don’t have the privilege of spending time together with their grandchildren.

So, I’m on a journey of how to add f-u-n into funerals. Don’t you want to leave on the highest note possible? I’d like to have people leave and say, “That darn Brett. He was funny, impactful, and I’m going to miss the guy. Remember that time he ………?”

If you look to rate the funerals you’ve attended, does one stand out at top on? For me, one was where people shared stories and they guy who passed away had a personal note to his friends and family that the pastor read. Incredibly powerful.

On a recent trip to Switzerland, I discovered where I’d like to be buried. I won’t disclose the exact location as I don’t want you to beat me there. But here’s a picture of the place.

According to Mrs. Anderson, that’s not going to happen. However, there will be plenty of money to make it happen, so I’m unclear why it can’t happen. Hmmmm?

I want a funeral where my friends and family are sharing stories, engaging in laughter and tears knowing that I impacted their lives. Tell stories of how I helped families achieve their goals of children going to college, purchasing that first home, living worry free in retirement, or showing up with money because of the loss of a loved one? Maybe, I request they watch my favorite movie with all the enjoyments of a movie theater. (Note: favorite movie is Shawshank Redemption). Followed by enjoying my favorite food – pizza, BBQ, shrimp and root beer. And let’s not forget about Ben & Jerry’s or Gelato from Italy. Or the Belgium chocolate I have flown in each year during the holiday season. Just the other day, I thought I’d like a big worship music concert.

Do you have a funeral idea you’ve thought about or and you’d like to share with someone? Drop me a note so at least once person knows your wishes.

St. Croix Advisors, LLC is an investment advisory firm. We seek to help our clients achieve financial simplicity. Before implementing financial ideas you read, work with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or CPA for advice or recommendations that fit your own financial situation.

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Vacation in a bottle

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Vacation in a bottle

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

I call it “vacation in a bottle.” Now I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not ashamed. The fact is that I always take the shampoo and soaps from my hotel stays. And sometimes I ask for a few extra before I leave. Sure one could argue I’m cheap – and you’d be correct – but it isn’t about saving money. It is all about the “vacation in a bottle.”

It started a few years ago while I was on Marco Island. We were staying at a Marriott property and I was showering (hide your eyes) and smelled the shampoo and thought “Wow. This smells like a vacation in a bottle.” So I snatched up as many bottles as I could before we went home. I didn’t want to vacation to end but we know that it would and the Monday blues would soon set in. Yet, when I returned home, I wanted to be reminded of the beach, shelling and sun versus living in the cold tundra we call the Midwest.

So I named this experience “vacation in a bottle.” Every day after we returned home I used “vacation in a bottle” and the aromas and lather brought me back to that beautiful beach on Marco Island. Just the scent of the shampoo would transform me to that vacation mindset and I didn’t have to spend all that money.

So the following year, we stayed at a different Marriott property and guess what they didn’t have – “vacation in a bottle.” What the Hell! Sure it’s a nice place, but I wanted “vacation in a bottle.”

I suspect most families don’t track their spending on a daily or monthly basis. St. Croix Advisors clients have access to iAdvise- the most advanced financial planning software. It allows us to track their spending and help establish a monthly budget.

I was determined that this wasn’t going to ruin my vacation, so I walked down to the other Marriott property and asked if I could purchase some of their shampoo. The lady at front desk thought I was nuts, maybe even more so after I shared my story with her. She probably was right, but darn it, I worked hard and I wanted “vacation in a bottle” to use during my stay and bring home. She just thought I was nuts and found some shampoo for me and just gave it to me and probably hoping I’d find a white padded room far away.

Now that I had my “vacation in a bottle” I could thoroughly enjoy my stay. Recently, I was in Arizona and Utah and since there with no Marriott properties, we stayed at a Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express (I did feel a little smarter and ready to take on my day). Not surprised, they didn’t have “vacation in bottle.” I must confess I didn’t take any shampoo and soap knowing our final hotel was going to be a Marriott that did have “vacation in bottle.” I wasn’t the first to notice, my wife was. And as I took that first shower, all those great ocean memories came back even while we were traveling in the desert. And you know what – I asked if I could have a few extra bottles to take home to keep my supply up. Now, I’m not that cheap to take the notepaper, towels, robe, etc. I do have some standards and a little pride, but not much.

For many of us, the ability to enjoy 365 Saturdays every day (retirement) is years away and we have to settle for a vacation or two a year. For me, my “vacation in a bottle” lets me keep that experience going on for a while longer.

That’s how I combine the frugal and dreamer sides of me.

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Divorce–An Area of Planning Overlooked by Attorney, Financial Planner, Ex-Spouse

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Divorce – An Area of Planning Overlooked by your Attorney, Financial Planner, & Ex-Spouse

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Dr. Seuss once said, “you know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”  I suspect most of you reading this have experienced that in your lifetime. Yet sometimes another reality sets in, where your reality starts to change, and now you’re divorced.Let’s talk about divorce today.

For everyone reading this who is contemplating divorce, let’s talk about the steps you should take or consider before making such a move. Once you get past the money, divorce is not always an easy process, and chances are you’ll still have an ongoing relationship with your ex-spouse. I recently came across a video from Maim Bialy about how she manages the relationship with her ex-spouse. I find it to be down to earth advice and even those who are not divorced can follow and appreciate it.

To learn more about divorce watch this!

Divorce view at Source

St. Croix Advisors, LLC is an investment advisory firm. We seek to help our clients achieve financial simplicity. Before implementing financial ideas, you read, work with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or CPA for advice or recommendations that fit your own financial situation. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information.

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Financial Leakage – You’re Making $250,000 a Year & Live Check to Check!

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Financial Leakage – You’re Making $250,000 a Year & Live Check to Check!

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s not surprising; it’s something I hear on a regular basis. Just change the dollar amount for how much your household makes. I bet most of us can relate, especially when you have a couple of kids, mortgage, car payment, are saving for retirement, etc.

What is Financial Leakage?

Over my vast experience in the financial services world, talking with hundreds of people, it’s generally not the mortgage or the car payment, but rather just everyday life that really gets us. It all adds up. $5 here, $50 there, $250 here – it all adds up to real money each month. It’s financial leakage. We all have it, yet, some of us are better than others at controlling it.

Financial leakage

It all adds up. $5 here, $50 there, $250 here

Understanding Your Financial Goals, Objectives & Position require Financial Planning

I suspect most families don’t track their spending on a daily or monthly basis. St. Croix Advisors clients have access to iAdvise– the most advanced financial planning software. It allows us to track their spending and help establish a monthly budget.

“I know and can prove that if you pay attention to your money, you actually have more money than you think. ”

This leads to living the lifestyle you want and making the impacts you’d like to make along the way. If you’d like to discuss over a cup of coffee how St. Croix Advisors can help, drop me a note.

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Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s not the pursuit of less. It’s the exact opposite of what you’d think. It’s more. “An Essentialist produces more – brings forth – by removing more instead of doing more!” Now that’s cool!

Essentialism Defined

Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown is a book I just finished. It was recommended by a client of St. Croix Advisors. He thought I’d connect and relate to its message, and boy did I. Here’s why I connected with its message: It’s about “learning to filter through all those options and select only those that are truly essential.”

Essentialism in Financial Planning

Essentialism

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

When you start to contemplate that, you realize it’s a powerful opportunity we can implement in our daily lives.

3 Areas to Apply Essentialism

We can start to apply essentialism to three primary parts of our lives:

  1. Work
  2. Family
  3. Financial Planning

It’s not about getting more and more things done. I think we’ve all tried that and probably failed. We’ve also heard ‘work smarter not harder’; been there, done that. Instead it’s about investing in “the right activities”. In other words, Essentialism is a disciplined systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, and then with little effort execute on those things.

A great question an Essentialist will ask is “what are the trade-offs I’m willing to make?” A trade-off isn’t a negative.

We can apply this to our daily lives and our financial lives. We can have more. I’m not talking about more stuff necessarily, but instead perhaps less financial stress. Having clarity on our goals and envisioning what our retirement will look like, for example, will cause us to make different or better decisions today to achieve our goals sooner.

If you’d like to chat about the book or talk about making decisions or even financial simplicity, give me a call.

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Life Lessons from a U-Haul Van in Houston

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Life Lessons from a U-Haul Van in Houston

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

I’m driving down I-45 fully loaded with my son’s household items. All of his stuff fits into a 10 foot truck.Talk about essentialism! He has mastered it well and has done his dad proud. Not to mention, it’s extremely helpful when you are the one helping him move from one apartment to another. He’s kept it all simple not only in accumulating less stuff, but also from a financial perspective. Here’s a 25 year old adult, a college graduate who has a Master’s Degree in Architecture, and has built up a very nice savings account, contributes to his company’s 401k plan and lives within his means. I’d like to think he learned all that from his old man, but I suspect he figured a lot of it on his own.

The Day After Prince Died

It’s the day after Prince died as I’m cruising down highway 45 in Houston, Texas in a rented U-Haul when I begin channel surfing. I’m not exaggerating – every song on the radio is a Prince tribute. His song ‘Let’s go Crazy’ comes on. I can’t say I’ve purchased or paid that much attention to his music, but this time I start to listen to his words.

U-Haul Truck

I can’t help but think – at his funeral did they read his lyrics: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life”?  I suspect we all can take this to heart, “things are much harder than in the after world. In this life, you’re on your own.”  But I suspect for many of you and including myself, “at least you got friends”.  So we’re not alone.

“Over the past couple of days and over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen so many posts on Facebook and LinkedIn and I suspect you’re no different from me. We didn’t know Prince personally, but when someone dies at 57 years old, it just brings the reality of how short life really is.”

You Better Live Now

The clock is ticking as we still need to get to our destination, unload the truck, and return it within the two hours. My work is far from done, but my mind was in two places. As Prince wrote “We’re all gonna die. You better live now. Before the grim reaper comes knocking on your door”. I was doing exactly what I should be doing- driving the U-Haul truck helping my kid move. I couldn’t think of better place to be. However, maybe next time I can just supervise the movers.

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