Building Your Wealth: A Step-by-Step Approach

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Building Your Wealth: A Step-by-Step Approach

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC
Back view of extended family exploring the best place for their picnic in autumn. Copy space. Man is aiming at distance.

It’s time to start building your wealth one step at a time. But how do you accomplish this? Break it down and take it slowly. It doesn’t happen in one day.

It starts with small decisions that build up over time to create a big impact. Reflect on your relationship with money. How do you feel about it? Are you secure and confident, or do you experience worry and insecurity? Understanding your attitudes towards money is important before making any financial moves.

Once you understand where you are coming from, it will be easier to begin to shift your thinking. Money is just a means to be able to do the things that you enjoy. If you aren’t enjoying your life, no amount of money is going to change that.

Building Wealth: 4 Steps to Take First

While these four steps aren’t a guarantee, they are important to help ensure you’re on the right track.

1. Define your values. What is it that sets you on fire and gets you up in the morning? What do you look forward to at the end of the day or the week? What truly brings you joy and happiness in this world? Maybe when you think about all of this you realize that the best things in life are free for you. In that case, wonderful. However, the fact of the matter is that life costs money. Even just spending time with those you love usually involves a meal, a destination, or some type of entertainment.

2. Cut out the unnecessary stuff. Do you have a junk drawer at home? The one with miscellaneous pens, rubber bands, and free giveaways? Why is it that we hang onto so much that has no value? We live in a culture that loves stuff. It somehow became a sign that someone has ‘made it’ when they have a bigger house, more toys, and a flashier lifestyle. But what in your life could you do without? I’m guessing a lot of it.

3. Reframe your thoughts. When you think about saving vs. spending, shift your mindset. Would you rather get an expensive coffee drink with a flavor shot and whipped cream on top every day of the week or retire to a house on the water where nobody knows your name? Life is full of trade-offs. If we don’t begin considering future consequences in our present decisions, we’ll never have contentment down the road.

4. Finally, discuss with others. Yes, some consider it taboo to talk about personal topics like money. But we should feel encouraged to engage in open conversations with trusted advisors and peers. Sharing experiences and insights can provide valuable perspectives and help you navigate financial challenges more effectively.

Wealth accumulation is not just about amassing money; it’s about aligning our financial decisions with our long-term goals and aspirations. By taking small steps today, we can create a brighter and more prosperous future for ourselves and our loved ones.

Reach out for a free consultation if you want to discuss your current financial strategies or future plans.

 

It’s time to start building your wealth one step at a time. But how do you accomplish this? Break it down and take it slowly. It doesn’t happen in one day.

It starts with small decisions that build up over time to create a big impact. Reflect on your relationship with money. How do you feel about it? Are you secure and confident, or do you experience worry and insecurity? Understanding your attitudes towards money is important before making any financial moves.

Once you understand where you are coming from, it will be easier to begin to shift your thinking. Money is just a means to be able to do the things that you enjoy. If you aren’t enjoying your life, no amount of money is going to change that.

Building Wealth: 4 Steps to Take First

While these four steps aren’t a guarantee, they are important to help ensure you’re on the right track.

1. Define your values. What is it that sets you on fire and gets you up in the morning? What do you look forward to at the end of the day or the week? What truly brings you joy and happiness in this world? Maybe when you think about all of this you realize that the best things in life are free for you. In that case, wonderful. However, the fact of the matter is that life costs money. Even just spending time with those you love usually involves a meal, a destination, or some type of entertainment.

2. Cut out the unnecessary stuff. Do you have a junk drawer at home? The one with miscellaneous pens, rubber bands, and free giveaways? Why is it that we hang onto so much that has no value? We live in a culture that loves stuff. It somehow became a sign that someone has ‘made it’ when they have a bigger house, more toys, and a flashier lifestyle. But what in your life could you do without? I’m guessing a lot of it.

3. Reframe your thoughts. When you think about saving vs. spending, shift your mindset. Would you rather get an expensive coffee drink with a flavor shot and whipped cream on top every day of the week or retire to a house on the water where nobody knows your name? Life is full of trade-offs. If we don’t begin considering future consequences in our present decisions, we’ll never have contentment down the road.

4. Finally, discuss with others. Yes, some consider it taboo to talk about personal topics like money. But we should feel encouraged to engage in open conversations with trusted advisors and peers. Sharing experiences and insights can provide valuable perspectives and help you navigate financial challenges more effectively.

Wealth accumulation is not just about amassing money; it’s about aligning our financial decisions with our long-term goals and aspirations. By taking small steps today, we can create a brighter and more prosperous future for ourselves and our loved ones.

Reach out for a free consultation if you want to discuss your current financial strategies or future plans.

5 Tips for Financial Wellness from a Financial Planner

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

5 Tips for Financial Wellness from a Financial Planner

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC
Back view of extended family exploring the best place for their picnic in autumn. Copy space. Man is aiming at distance.

Financial planning is a deeply personal process, as it involves securing not only your present but also your future, along with the well-being of those who depend on you. To navigate this journey effectively, it’s important to integrate various aspects of life that can help you achieve your financial goals. Consider these five tips for financial wellness from a financial advisor, yours truly.

1. Prioritize by learning to say no. This world is full of constant demands. Fill your schedule, then add some more. Get a full-time job, volunteer, raise a family, have a social life, post about it on social media, connect with old friends, keep up with your health, cook meals, run errands, stay clean, the list goes on. How can we possibly balance everything? Surely something must give. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was to say no to things to create a better yes for yourself. With this extra time, you’ll be able to focus on and invest in what really matters to you.

2. Practice generosity. As difficult as it can be at times, put others first. If you are in a good place both physically and mentally, you have the capacity to give and serve others. Generosity doesn’t always have to equate with money; this can be as simple as saying an extra “thank you” today. It can be as complex as starting a nonprofit organization to contribute to a cause you care about. No matter how you do it, you won’t regret the time and resources you gave to better the life of someone else.

3. Appreciate. If you’re reading this right now, you are incredibly blessed. You have access to technology, the knowledge to read, and a mind to process and comprehend thoughts. That is pretty cool. Your body is capable of a lot. Appreciate the things around you – the changing seasons, the simple pleasures, and the things that keep you going each day (even if that means the coffee pot at work). Embracing gratitude for the everyday blessings will help enhance our overall outlook and contentment.

4. Embrace planning. There are many areas of your life that will go better if you just plan them out. Budget for each month. Write down your goals. Make to-do lists. Keep track of the events you have coming up. Plan for life. While remaining flexible to life’s changes, having a plan guides us towards our desired outcomes.

5. Love. Seriously — in every single way. Loving wholeheartedly and nurturing relationships across various avenues of your life is vital. Love the people around you even when they are hard to love. Look in the mirror, smile, and love yourself.

From prioritizing your commitments to fostering meaningful connections and embracing gratitude, these tips serve as a roadmap to not only secure your financial future but also enhance your overall well-being.

Reach out and let me know how I can help you reach your financial goals.

Brett

 

Financial planning is a deeply personal process, as it involves securing not only your present but also your future, along with the well-being of those who depend on you. To navigate this journey effectively, it’s important to integrate various aspects of life that can help you achieve your financial goals. Consider these five tips for financial wellness from a financial advisor, yours truly.

1. Prioritize by learning to say no. This world is full of constant demands. Fill your schedule, then add some more. Get a full-time job, volunteer, raise a family, have a social life, post about it on social media, connect with old friends, keep up with your health, cook meals, run errands, stay clean, the list goes on. How can we possibly balance everything? Surely something must give. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was to say no to things to create a better yes for yourself. With this extra time, you’ll be able to focus on and invest in what really matters to you.

2. Practice generosity. As difficult as it can be at times, put others first. If you are in a good place both physically and mentally, you have the capacity to give and serve others. Generosity doesn’t always have to equate with money; this can be as simple as saying an extra “thank you” today. It can be as complex as starting a nonprofit organization to contribute to a cause you care about. No matter how you do it, you won’t regret the time and resources you gave to better the life of someone else.

3. Appreciate. If you’re reading this right now, you are incredibly blessed. You have access to technology, the knowledge to read, and a mind to process and comprehend thoughts. That is pretty cool. Your body is capable of a lot. Appreciate the things around you – the changing seasons, the simple pleasures, and the things that keep you going each day (even if that means the coffee pot at work). Embracing gratitude for the everyday blessings will help enhance our overall outlook and contentment.

4. Embrace planning. There are many areas of your life that will go better if you just plan them out. Budget for each month. Write down your goals. Make to-do lists. Keep track of the events you have coming up. Plan for life. While remaining flexible to life’s changes, having a plan guides us towards our desired outcomes.

5. Love. Seriously — in every single way. Loving wholeheartedly and nurturing relationships across various avenues of your life is vital. Love the people around you even when they are hard to love. Look in the mirror, smile, and love yourself.

From prioritizing your commitments to fostering meaningful connections and embracing gratitude, these tips serve as a roadmap to not only secure your financial future but also enhance your overall well-being.

Reach out and let me know how I can help you reach your financial goals.

Brett

5 Tips and Tricks for Filing Your 2023 Tax Return

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

5 Tips and Tricks for Filing Your 2023 Tax Return

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC
Latin American couple talking to a financial advisor about an investment - home finances concepts

As we approach the April 15 deadline for filing 2023 individual federal income tax returns, it’s essential to start preparing ahead of time. The IRS has provided some important reminders on steps you can take now to ensure a smooth filing process for your 2023 return.

Here are 5 tips from the IRS that I’d like to highlight for you:

  1. Utilize an IRS Online account: Take advantage of the IRS online platform available at www.irs.gov/account. This tool offers a range of helpful resources for the upcoming 2024 filing season, including access to key data from your latest filed tax return, account transcripts, electronic notices, and the ability to manage payment plans. This centralized hub can streamline your tax preparation process and keep you informed about your tax situation.
  2. Organize and update tax records: Maintaining organized tax records is crucial for accuracy and efficiency when preparing your tax return. Ensure you have gathered all necessary income documents, such as Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC, to avoid delays in processing and potentially uncover overlooked deductions or credits. This includes potential deductions for donation receipts and medical expenses, which can help reduce your taxable income. Remember, most income, including income from the gig economy and digital assets, is taxable and should be accounted for.
  3. Speed up refunds: Opt for direct deposit to receive your tax refund quickly and securely. Providing your bank’s routing and account information ensures a smooth process. Those opting for paper checks may encounter delays or issues such as non-receipt, so direct deposit is highly recommended to expedite your refund.
  4. Bookmark IRS.gov resources: Make IRS.gov your go-to resource for tax-related information and tools. The website offers user-friendly online tools available 24/7 to assist with filing and paying taxes, tracking refunds, and accessing account information. Bookmarking this site will provide easy access to valuable resources throughout the tax season.
  5. Consider consulting a tax professional: Tax professionals, including CPAs, enrolled agents, and attorneys, can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the tax system and ensuring compliance with tax laws. Choosing a reputable preparer who is skilled in tax preparation can help minimize errors and maximize tax benefits. Be sure to follow IRS guidelines for selecting a tax professional to avoid potential pitfalls.

Lastly, keep in mind that you can request an automatic six-month filing extension until October 15, 2024, by submitting Form 4868 if needed. However, remember that this extension applies only to filing and not to paying taxes. It’s important to make a good-faith estimate of your tax liability and pay any expected taxes by the April 15 deadline.

As your trusted financial advisor, I’m here to support you through the tax filing process and ensure you make informed decisions that align with your financial goals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance along the way.

 

As we approach the April 15 deadline for filing 2023 individual federal income tax returns, it’s essential to start preparing ahead of time. The IRS has provided some important reminders on steps you can take now to ensure a smooth filing process for your 2023 return.

Here are 5 tips from the IRS that I’d like to highlight for you:

  1. Utilize an IRS Online account: Take advantage of the IRS online platform available at www.irs.gov/account. This tool offers a range of helpful resources for the upcoming 2024 filing season, including access to key data from your latest filed tax return, account transcripts, electronic notices, and the ability to manage payment plans. This centralized hub can streamline your tax preparation process and keep you informed about your tax situation.
  2. Organize and update tax records: Maintaining organized tax records is crucial for accuracy and efficiency when preparing your tax return. Ensure you have gathered all necessary income documents, such as Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC, to avoid delays in processing and potentially uncover overlooked deductions or credits. This includes potential deductions for donation receipts and medical expenses, which can help reduce your taxable income. Remember, most income, including income from the gig economy and digital assets, is taxable and should be accounted for.
  3. Speed up refunds: Opt for direct deposit to receive your tax refund quickly and securely. Providing your bank’s routing and account information ensures a smooth process. Those opting for paper checks may encounter delays or issues such as non-receipt, so direct deposit is highly recommended to expedite your refund.
  4. Bookmark IRS.gov resources: Make IRS.gov your go-to resource for tax-related information and tools. The website offers user-friendly online tools available 24/7 to assist with filing and paying taxes, tracking refunds, and accessing account information. Bookmarking this site will provide easy access to valuable resources throughout the tax season.
  5. Consider consulting a tax professional: Tax professionals, including CPAs, enrolled agents, and attorneys, can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the tax system and ensuring compliance with tax laws. Choosing a reputable preparer who is skilled in tax preparation can help minimize errors and maximize tax benefits. Be sure to follow IRS guidelines for selecting a tax professional to avoid potential pitfalls.

Lastly, keep in mind that you can request an automatic six-month filing extension until October 15, 2024, by submitting Form 4868 if needed. However, remember that this extension applies only to filing and not to paying taxes. It’s important to make a good-faith estimate of your tax liability and pay any expected taxes by the April 15 deadline.

As your trusted financial advisor, I’m here to support you through the tax filing process and ensure you make informed decisions that align with your financial goals. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need assistance along the way.

50 Life Lessons for a Fulfilling Journey: From Bucket Lists to Relationships and Financial Wisdom

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

50 Life Lessons for a Fulfilling Journey: From Bucket Lists to Relationships and Financial Wisdom

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

the lessons never end

Life is an incredible teacher, filled with countless lessons waiting to be discovered.

As I navigate through each day and confront choices, I ask myself two important questions:

  1. Does this simplify my life?
  2. Do I want to spend my life energy on it?

These questions help guide me. I also want to share 50 other life lessons that I’ve personally learned or received from others.

While not all may apply to your life and the experiences you’ve had, these simple lessons offer insights, direction, and reflections that can enrich your journey and help you navigate the complexities of life with greater understanding and fulfillment.

50 Life Lessons

Whether you’re embarking on a new chapter or simply seeking inspiration, feel free to explore and embrace the lessons that resonate most with you.

  1. Time is precious. Start checking off items from your Bucket List today.
  2. A rite of passage involves bothersome occurrences, such as hair sprouting in unwanted places, but this means we’re still alive, so welcome the changes.
  3. If starting a business was easy, everyone would do it. But if you have a compelling idea or a passion too irresistible to overlook, be ready for a potentially rewarding challenge.
  4. When retirement arrives, avoid making major decisions hastily. Instead, take a cautious approach and spend some time simply observing.
  5. Some believe money to be the key to happiness, but it’s often the opposite. Life is too short to not truly discover how we can achieve happiness today and tomorrow.
  6. No matter the struggles in your life, you’re never alone. Lean on Him.
  7. Always strive to live according to your values, but be open to progressing and falling along the way.
  8. The key isn’t how much you make, but how much you save. Always be prepared for the unexpected.
  9. Don’t take everyday tasks for granted, as we may all need help with them at some point in life.
  10. Live your life in a way that allows you to reflect without regret.
  11. Prioritize your health and set aside time to relax. Nobody performs their best when they’re overworked.
  12. Embrace the little joys in life, like chocolate.
  13. Find joy in your beliefs.
  14. Not every child is suited for college or a traditional four-year program. And that’s OK.
  15. Get out of your comfort zone to truly discover where you are most comfortable. You’ll learn something about yourself.
  16. Life is short, we can’t take tomorrow for granted. Even when faced with bad news, don’t let it stop you from living. 
  17. Take control of the influence of technology in your life. Set aside dedicated “power-off” periods.
  18. Food is a major household expense. It’s OK to be frugal and skip the boutique grocery stores.
  19. Don’t let spending prolong your journey to financial freedom. Use credit cards wisely, and remember, cash is king.
  20. Earning money takes time, but spending happens in an instant. Treat yourself because you’ve earned it, but be mindful not to let it get out of control.
  21. How many dumb ways are you spending money? Conduct a financial self-audit to find out what expenses you can cut. Every small saving adds up.
  22. If you feel you’re growing apart from your spouse, don’t give up. Put in the time and schedule something that’s just for the two of you.
  23. Live where you want to live and work where you want to work, because you never know when something will change. Recognize if you’re not happy and take charge.
  24. You can stop asking for permission, you just need the willpower to make smart decisions on your own.
  25. A prenup doesn’t mean you don’t love your spouse. It’s a document that safeguards your financial interests and prevents divorce lawyers from profiting off you.
  26. The commitment of “till death do you part” can feel like an eternity, especially if it’s with the wrong person. If your values and your partner’s don’t align, keep searching until you find your person.
  27. Are your life decisions pulling you away from your spiritual ideals? It may be time to pause and make some changes.
  28. Even the scariest of situations can be made a lot less daunting if we’re ready for them.
  29. Life is too short to spend it waiting for the future. Pursue your passions today.
  30. Spend time with the people who know and understand you best.
  31. Make family a priority, and answer the phone when your mom calls.
  32. Sometimes embracing the old way instead of change is the right move.
  33. Sharing is a nice gesture, but it’s not always mandatory.
  34. It takes practice to develop and maintain the art of being friends, but the payoff is well worth the effort you put in.
  35. Get a dog. A dog takes care of you just as much as you take care of them. It’s unconditional love.
  36. There will come a time when your choices are to trust the professionals or get in way over your head. Make the right choice.
  37. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. Before deciding to be an employee or an employer, deeply consider your strengths and weaknesses.
  38. Don’t retire with a mortgage. The burden of a major monthly payment on a limited income isn’t ideal, so take steps now to avoid this situation.
  39. Your professional and personal development should always be a work-in-progress.
  40. Even when it’s challenging, remind yourself that being a parent is the greatest reward
  41. Learn from Biggie “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.” Long-term happiness isn’t about the stuff you accumulated, it’s about your experiences and the people you impacted along the way.
  42. Expect the unexpected. Do what you can to prepare and trust that you’ll be able to manage any hand life deals you along the way.
  43. Share your blessings through generosity. Giving back can take many different forms. Be a difference in the world.
  44. Be respectful of the difference between “poor” and “broke”. You may have financial struggles, i.e., broke, but if you have a roof over your head and a hot meal, you’re not poor.
  45. Do business with good people. If you’re feeling uneasy about working with someone, trust your gut. 
  46. Don’t trust people who say “trust me.” People shouldn’t expect trust, but earn it through their words and actions.
  47. Cultivate an attitude of leadership. Your attitude and interactions with others have the power to impact those around you.
  48. Take a sabbatical to gain new experiences and ideas. Don’t wait until retirement.
  49. Make a dream board and tell others about it. Physically seeing it every day and having others hold you accountable can push you to make your dreams a reality.  
  50. The lessons never end. We should always be open to learning something new.

Reach out and let me know how I can help make your financial goals a reality.

Broke vs Poor – Life Lesson 44 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Broke vs. Poor

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

broke vs. poor

Frequently, we use the term “poor” to describe our financial situation when what we truly mean is “broke.” Why does it matter? These words signify two distinct circumstances, and using them interchangeably diminishes the very genuine experiences shared by millions of Americans.

Being Broke Is a Drag

Most individuals have experienced being broke at one time or another. I know I have. In my simple definition, “broke” means having a roof over your head, food in the fridge (even though you might think you never have anything good to eat in the house), clothes, shoes, and a car or bike—but your phone might be a few years old, you make your own coffee before you head to work, and you probably aren’t taking lavish vacations.

Broke signifies not having enough funds for the non-essentials we desire—like the latest iPhone, fancy meals, or designer clothing. It’s about getting by and hoping for better days ahead.

Being Poor Is a Crisis

On the other hand, poor means not having a roof over your head or knowing where your next meal is coming from. It means that a single surprise, accident, or medical issue would be catastrophic. It means hope is as hard to come by as a decent night’s sleep. Poor is a life-threatening condition that affects entire families across the country. I pray you and I never experience it.

While we may not all possess the latest car, trendiest gadgets, or high-end devices, you know what? That’s okay. Occasionally, we may gripe about not having what we desire, but it’s crucial to acknowledge the disparity between being broke and being poor so we don’t overlook the struggles faced by numerous Americans.

Pursuing Your Passions: Life Lesson 29 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Pursuing Your Passions

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

pursuing your passions

Photo by Kal Visuals

If you’ve postponed pursuing your passions in favor of chasing money, don’t worry—there’s no shame in this, and you’re not alone. Over the years, I’ve found myself in the same situation, but I’ve come to believe that there’s a more fulfilling way to live.

Perhaps there was something you enjoyed or loved doing when you were younger. However, societal pressures, parental influence, or other voices in your life may have discouraged you, insisting it couldn’t be a viable career. Their negativity might have deterred you from pursuing your passions. Now, sadly, many find themselves too drained from the daily grind to muster the energy for those once-cherished pursuits. Consequently, numerous individuals postpone their deepest desires until that elusive future called “retirement.”

But you know what? Retirement, for many of you, is in the future. This is your present. Don’t let anyone convince you that your passions can’t sustain you financially. Countless people do it every day!

If you feel a calling, don’t allow anyone to undermine your worthiness to pursue it. Money matters, and planning for retirement is important, but life is too brief to wait for tomorrow. Time is a precious gift, and it’s your duty to dedicate yours to pursuing your passions, enabling a fulfilling life.