Cash is King. Life Lesson 19 of 50.

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Cash is King

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

You might find my statement hard to believe, but take that extra moment or two to let it sink in. Cash is genuinely misunderstood in our world today and how it fits into one’s own financial plan. This is why I think too many people have too little cash.

Take for example the recent government shutdown. Each newscast showed people who couldn’t pay for groceries, rent, mortgage or their insulin. his is a great example of people living paycheck to paycheck. I suspect for most people, it’s easy to remember when that described a period in our lives.

Yet, the statistics I read today are amazain – 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Many are only one paycheck from losing their homes. In our world today, we are so focused on “stuff” to bring us happiness. One of my client’s recently pointed out that it’s not until you turn 50 years old that you realize you don’t need all this stuff. We are spending our way into working longer when we have to.

Having cash isn’t a problem nor does it create a problem. If you had $100,000 or $250,000 just in your saving account today, what problems does that truly create? The answer is none!

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We all need time away – time for ourselves. Life Lesson 11 of 50.

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

We all need time away – time for ourselves

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

A friend of mine goes to his cabin to spend time away from his family and business each quarter to work on his business and just to have time to think. We all need time away to recharge and rest.

One place where I rest my soul is at church. I’m not a fan of large crowds or lines, which is why I attend the smallest church service. But this time allows for me to decompress over the weekend. (I might also binge watch a Netflix series to relax).

I confess that the best place where my soul rests is outdoors – oceans, beaches, mountains, or even walking rolling hills of South Dakota. Maybe it’s because I live in a big city with all the hustle and bustle of traffic, work, phones, computers, etc.

When it comes to getting away and vacations, I no longer will take a seven day get away. For me, I don’t even start to decompress until the fourth or fifth day and by that time I’m already starting to think of all the stuff I need to do once I return.

That’s why I no longer take short vacations. I view them as short getaways, just repositioning for a few hours. I made a decision a few years ago, when I go on vacation I don’t for less than three weeks, otherwise, I’d rather not go. Anything shorter than that and I can’t truly decompress and rest.

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10 + 6 =

Solving for Happiness – Lesson 5 of 50.

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Solving for Happiness

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

That sounds easy doesn’t – “Solve for Happiness.” For many I suspect we’ve never really thought about truly solving for happiness. I’ve been guilty of focusing on day-to-day, or that new tech toy would be bring so much joy and fulfillment. It turns out for me and others, we need to seek and expect more to truly achieve happiness. Most people believe money will bring happiness.

Money seems to be at the hart for many and believing that it will solve or achieve their happiness. I wish it was that easy. Money and stuff can actually bring stress and problems along our journey of life. And maybe it’s about our expectations and views of what money and stuff can bring. Yet, the love of money is where I believe it’s easiest for us to get derailed.

“Solving for Happiness” starts with knowing ourselves. That sounds easy, but it actually takes time and soul searching to figure out what will truly bring us happiness. Most of us have postponed joy and happiness for the pursuit of money. It’s only natural based on today’s society and world.

Life is too short to truly not examine how we can achieve happiness today and into the future. It’s so easy for us to only see obstacles in the way of our achievement of happiness. It’s actually focusing on planning our lives. It’s not just placing our financial house in order, but about what’s meaningful to us and how can we be impactful within our families, communities or world. It’s thinking without boundaries we’ve placed on ourselves. It’s coloring outside the lines when we’ve gotten so used to coloring inside them.

Planning your life happens where your money and meaning connect. It connects in a meaningful way for most likes it has never connected up until this point. It starts with just a few basic, impactful questions that you’ve probably not thought about in a new light and with a new perspective.

Drop me a note if you’d like to schedule time to have a meaningful conversation about how to solve for happiness.

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6 + 8 =

Fables of a Passbook and Financial Literacy

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Fables of a Passbook and Financial Literacy

BY Bill Rubin, St. Croix Economic Development Corporation, Executive Director

Somewhere in a storage box marked ‘Personal Stuff” sits a palm-sized leather document containing handwritten entries from a savings account closed decades ago. For the younger generation, the non-cell phone object is referred to as a passbook savings book. Doubters can look it up, or they can ask an old person (grandparent) or a really old person (great grandparent). It seems the younger generation cannot imagine bank transactions without the assistance of a cell phone or iPad.

According to this fable, there was a time when bank transactions were done in person with a teller counting the coins and currency before making an entry in the passbook. For good measure the teller may have initialed the transaction in the book. The same teller may have greeted the account holder by name, “Hello Mike, or Robbie, or Chip (footnote: see the 1960s sitcom, ‘My Three Sons’) or Theodore” (footnote: see the ‘Leave it to Beaver’ sitcom). The times were a bit slower back then.

As the world moved toward automation, passbooks gave way to monthly statements sent by U.S. Mail. Alas, the paper statements yielded to electronic, online summaries. However, with the old passbooks, a nuisance involving an overdraft fee was avoided. If you didn’t have the funds, you couldn’t make a purchase. Or, as was overheard in a check-out line at a big box retailer last December, “How come my debit card quit working?” Slow down there, young consumer, the ink in your account just went from black to red.

Fables are supposed to have a moral. The moral here involves financial literacy in Wisconsin. In late November 2017, Assembly Bill 280 was signed into law as Act 94. It directed Wisconsin school districts to develop academic standards toward financial literacy including the classroom instruction of financial literacy in grades K-12. The end game is greater financial literacy for the younger generation.

The morals keep getting better. For 75+ years a nonprofit organization called Junior Achievement of Wisconsin (J.A.) has been in classrooms teaching financial literacy and fundamentals of entrepreneurship. J.A. is led by volunteers – moms, dads, retirees, bankers, and business people. School districts in the St. Croix Valley may be aligned with Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, based in St. Paul, MN. Regardless of J.A.’s organizational venue, that younger generation eventually grows up to manage their own finances. We hope.

Another moral. Thanks to a great member-partner, St. Croix EDC was able to grant $1,000 to each of the public school districts in St. Croix County last year, earmarked for financial literacy curriculum. Another grant went to J.A. Upper Midwest to jumpstart their instructional lessons in the St. Croix Central district. Modest as those grants were, the EDC envisions long-term benefits for the next set of entrepreneurs and resident consumers in the county.

Here’s to a long-forgotten passbook and Financial Literacy 101.

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3 + 12 =

5 ways to know when to change jobs

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

5 ways to know when to change jobs

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s not always easy to know when to change jobs. Changings jobs for most individuals isn’t something you take lightly. It’s an undertaking for soul searching to even being afraid of the unknown where the job you have might not be ideal but the next one could be worse. Here are 5 ways to know when it’s times to change your job.

1. Your boss sucks

Let’s face it, not every boss is for everyone. When I worked in corporate America, I had a boss that was horrible. I resigned and worked my required 30-day notice without another job. Not every employer is going to be fitting for you, either. You can have a great company, great benefits, or great coworkers, but if you have a boss that sucks, you won’t stay.

2. You drive too far

Sounds crazy……but we spend too much time driving to and from work. By spending 2 hours a day driving to and from work, over 30 years, that’s over 15,000 hours. That’s like two years of your life taken away. Set your environment up to minimize the time you spend commuting.

3. You have the potential to do more

Over time, it’s easy to outgrow your job or your company. I’ve felt over the years I’ve outgrown positions and have become bored. Many like to be challenged and learn every day. The days of pursuing one career or sticking with one employer for 30 years have pretty much dissipated.

4. You lack fulfillment

Our identity is often seen as our occupation. In many cases that’s not always true. You work for money, but the pursuit of money isn’t your focus. You want to be impactful in your work and maybe even find meaning. It can be done with so many opportunities in our world today.

5. It’s usually not about money

When you think it’s about money, I suspect deep down you know what it’s about. If items one through 4 are rock solid, I don’t believe 95% of us would pursue another job making $1.00 or $2.00 more an hour. 

If you need a sounding board if it’s time to move on, I’m just a phone call way.

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9 + 4 =

Simplify Your Time, Simplify Your Life

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Simplify Your Time,
Simplify Your Life

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Man, I could spend all day, 5 days a week, meeting with vendors and wholesalers offering their products to my clients. Working in an intangible business, you never run out of inventory or have supply issues because a machine broke down or a supplier couldn’t get a part in.

By sifting through the hundreds of calls and emails I get each day that ends in a sales pitch, I am guarding your time. Part of my job is acting as the middle man and deciding what is worth your time by using my best judgement. Most of the time, the products and services will take more time and money to install/implement than they will actually pay off. However, there have been times when products have met the needs of my clients, and I have forwarded that information onto the respective parties.

In short, I am simplifying your life and saving your time by taking care of this end of the deal. You can focus on your kids’ sporting events, family birthdays, and work deadlines while I worry about your money. Know that it is in good hands.

One common thread that you and I have is 24 hours in a day. If you don’t protect your calendar, before you know it, you are no longer in charge of your schedule. We need to protect one our most important resources – time.

I’ve become guarded of my schedule over the years, so I don’t feel overwhelmed with the day to day expectations of my family and clients. I know I live by a calendar, I have to in order to keep it all straight each day. It’s even typical for my wife and I to compare our schedules to meet the demands of our family. Yet, that’s usually while we are in bed, with computers in each of our laps. Do you have a favorite calendar resource you use to track and schedule your meetings? Do you make a checklist on there too?

The bottom line is that neither you nor I can meet with everyone. I wish I could, I truly enjoy hearing each person’s stories. However, we need to protect our time and our calendar to focus on the items that are most important to us in helping us reaching our goals – personally and professionally.

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