Men – Three ways to improve your sex life!

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Men – Three ways to improve your sex life!

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

As a man, I’ve been a lifelong learner and by my side is my wife who continually educates me along with way. I’m thankful she’s helped me become a better man. Sure, it’s taken over 26 years and the fact is her job will never be done.

So what are the three ways to improve your sex life? First, do not discuss your finances before bed. I suspect you know that nothing ruins the mood more than discussing money and maybe how much you (or rather your spouse) may have overspent in the last few weeks.

The second way to improve your sex life is to be realistic when it comes to budgeting each other’s financial needs. Our needs and wants can vary greatly. Sure, my hair cut costs me $14 and I’ve been told it looks like it. But when I add a tip it’s an entire $20 bill to look this good. Now let’s say Mrs. Anderson haircuts cost $125 and by the time you add the highlights and tip it can really add up. BTW – she looks great! So how can one fairly compare a $20 haircut to a $125 haircut? It’s impossible and I will state that I am not qualified and will never do it again.

The third and final way to improve your sex life is to have some mad money. Its money that neither one of you can complain about that you spent. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that verbal performance review on how you spend your family’s hard-earned money with a couple of questions and observations – i.e. How long have you had that? How much did that cost? I can’t believe you spent much money on that. I hear this all the time with couples I work with.

The great thing about Mrs. Anderson and myself is we always agree on the who, what, where, when and why about money which is why I’m so qualified to write about. Just ask me! I’m looking to reach the one percent of individuals reading this that just can’t help themselves and money is always on their mind. Surprisingly, as a financial advisor, money is not always on my mind. Money is not always an easy subject brining up all kinds of positive and negative emotions. There is always time to bring up this topic, but you need to ask when is the best and appropriate time to discuss. And that time is never, ever bedtime.

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Business Owners – The other number you need to focus on!

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Business Owners – The other number you need to focus on!

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

$100, $500 or $1,000 or more, per month per employee?

It’s a great question. As a business owner, how much per month do you personally save per employee into your own retirement/savings accounts? Let’s say you own a successful law firm, maybe your number should be $1,000 per month. Or if you own a smaller company your number should be $250 per month. Now start multiplying that and it becomes a really big number because it should be!

One of the best ways to build wealth is having other people work for you which you’ve known for years as a business owner. EBITDA is important, yet I want our clients to seek TWO meaningful buckets of money when they sell their company. You have to ask yourself this… What problems would it create for you to save an extra $500,000, $1 million or $2 million before you retire? BTW, that doesn’t include the value of your business. You already know the typical response I receive… i.e. “It wouldn’t create a problem.” So why aren’t more business owners doing this? The biggest reason is that they aren’t working with me.

Seriously, I find business owners are not always focused on diversifying outside of their business. Sure, your greatest ROI should be your business and if it’s not, it’s time to sell. Yet once we have an in-depth conversation about goals, business owners see the possibilities of two buckets: a personal financial bucket and a business owner bucket. These options my business owner clients the possibility for the most flexibility when it comes time to transition.

A business owner has no idea what their business will ultimately sell for, correct? You may have an idea, but we really have no concrete numbers to count on until someone writes that check out and it clears the bank! EBITDA, taxes, technology, markets and competition all change and it is truly out of our control. So I come back to my philosophy for business owners – build two buckets of money so you have more options and flexibility down the road.

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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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Are You Married to Your Business or Your Spouse?

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Are You Married to Your Business or Your Spouse?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

As a business owner, you’re a special breed. Many people don’t know just how much hard work, sacrifice and time goes into running a successful business. Then, there’s the stress of not just bringing a paycheck home to meet the needs of your family, but ensuring that you are able to retain and compensate your employees. Add in issues with compliance, taxes, and the economy and some days, it’s tough to even remember the world exists outside your office walls.

Yet, as the old adage goes, “It takes all types.” However, if you’re married and your spouse is not a business owner, he/she might not “get it.” We’ve all heard the horror stories about the missed anniversaries, absenteeism in children’s lives, and as we’ve talked about in our previous blogs about Prenups, the divorce rate continues to climb.

Can a successful business owner also experience happiness in their family? I emphatically say “Yes”, provided there is balance and understanding from both spouses. In my work with many business owners and their families, I’ve seen the following factors as key to allowing a business to run smoothly while keeping peace at home.

PRIORITIES – From the get-go, you must both have a mutual understanding of your goals for your business and the needs for your family. If you can honestly priorities both, you have a good chance of succeeding in other areas as well.

COMMUNICATION – Communication is the key…it really is. The couples that I see experiencing the most success in their relationships take the time to really communicate with one another. Whether that means a family meeting or routinely touching base at dinner, you must ensure that the other person is up-to-speed. If the business is in trouble, tell your spouse. If something is affecting your home life, tell your spouse. Keep those lines of communication open.

COMPROMISE – Give and take is all it takes. Yes, you might have to work late every night, but maybe those e-mails can get answered from home so your spouse can make plans one evening. Additionally, the spouse who is not the business owner must compromise as well, as the business owner will be expected to pour of themselves into the business. The other spouse knows he/she must pick up the slack around home at times.

LITTLE THINGS – Be willing to be flexible. Yes, as a business owner you’re pulling long days, but you also have the freedom to do some of the little things that either drive your spouse crazy or might be far more difficult for him/her to manage. Whether this means working from home to care for a sick child, picking up the dry-cleaning, or even running to the grocery store for last minute items, your spouse will certainly appreciate the help, especially if his/her job does not allow them the same flexibility.

OFF SWITCH – That’s right, the off-switch. As a business owner, I get it, it’s not just making a living, it’s a way of living. However, what may be your way of living might not be hospitable to your spouse. You need to find a way to unplug, so that your life has balance. You don’t need to answer EVERY e-mail immediately, nor do you need to focus on work 24/7. Delegate, wait until morning, focus your intentions while at work, and make yourself available to your family when you’re home.

GET OUT OF DODGE – Take a vacation. Regularly. If you and your spouse have an annual vacation where you’re able to spend meaningful time unplugged from the workplace and connecting to one another, it will give you something to look forward to and work toward. DO NOT SKIP VACATIONING TOGETHER. Even if you can just get away for a long weekend, it could be just what the two of you needed.

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Saving for College or Saving for Retirement

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Saving for College or Saving for Retirement

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Often, clients are willing to forego saving for retirement (under the guise of postponing it) in favor of saving for and financing their children’s higher education. This is a dangerous game to play and one that is not recommended.

With advancements in health care and increased lifespans, coupled with decreasing home and investment values that could occur at the wrong time, outliving your retirement is a very real possibility without proper planning.

I understand that for many families, you may not be able to save for both retirement and college simultaneously. However, you should not put your future (in terms of your retirement) on the line to cover college expenses for your children. I hear your arguments, and yes, children are the future, but just don’t do it.

“Why?” you might ask.For starters, you can get loans to cover college expenses. You cannot get loans to cover your retirement expenses. Additionally, when you’re funding your retirement savings, those financial tools may be more tax friendly AND still allow access to that money down the road. For college savings, it is very specifically for college expenses only.

The best plan? Continue saving for retirement. In fact, save as much as you can for retirement.

Then, when the kiddos start coming along, start saving for their educations as early as possible (i.e. when they’re babies), so the amount may build incrementally as they grow up.

If your kids are older now and you’re already staring down the gauntlet of college expenses, thinking that you should have started sooner, don’t fret, there are still plenty of options available to you. Contact me today for more information on formulating a plan for your situation.

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Winning The Retirement Lottery

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Winning The Retirement Lottery

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Winning-The-Retirement -Lottery

Chances are you’ll hit the retirement lottery one day and it may well be your biggest payday ever. For most it comes in one of two forms – the sale proceeds of your business or that 401(k) you’ve been saving in for the last thirty years. Either way you are going from working for a paycheck to “mailbox money.” And I have to tell you nothing beats mailbox money because it just shows up for your retirement enjoyment.

When you cash in your “retirement lottery ticket” I have a few observations from many years of working with clients. When you go from working day in/day out and earning a paycheck every two weeks for the fruits of your labor, you’ve had one philosophy for your money. But after you retire, and often within three to six weeks and certainly within six months, you’ll develop a different philosophy towards money. And chances are you’ll become more conservative, desiring to spend less to preserve what you have.

During this time, I would recommend you do not to commit to any major purchases that you may regret. That’s probably easier said than done. You may want to travel purchase a larger retirement home or that cabin, or that well-deserved Porsche. What I see happening is clients will start to reevaluate priorities and even question will if they will have enough money to go the distance.

My recommendation – hold off on major purchases, relax into your new lifestyle, get used to mailbox money for six to twelve months before making major purchases. I suspect your values toward money will change during that time. And remember – you can finance college but not retirement.

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