Trust the Professionals! Life Lesson 36 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Trust the Professionals!

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by David Siglin

We might be able to swing a hammer, troubleshoot a failed download, and deposit a check through our mobile banking app, but that doesn’t make us expert carpenters, IT professionals, or banking specialists. Even though we’re self-sufficient creatures (who may hate asking for help), there are times in life when the best thing to do is trust the professionals.

And with good reason: we’re all busy, so when someone has tons more practice, insight, and experience than us, it makes sense to benefit from their expertise instead of reinventing the wheel ourselves.

Here’s a list of some of the most trusted people in your life, assuming you can find the right people:

  • Handyman.
  • Mechanic.
  • CPA with business acumen.
  • Certified Financial Planner.
  • Someone to fix your computer.
  • Medical professional.
  • Editor.
  • Banker.
  • Travel agent.
  • Lawyer.

Anyone else with skills you don’t possess and can’t reasonably acquire.
Think about it. You might know how to change a tire, but can you install a new engine? You can apply a bandage to a wound, but can you treat yourself for an infection or disease? You can book a flight, but can you make a hotel reservation in a small town in a foreign country when you don’t speak the language?

That said, I don’t know you—maybe you have some of these skills. Maybe you have all of them. Even so, there will come a time when your choices are to trust the professionals or get in way over your head. Make the right choice.

Of course, if you think you can manage a project on your own, go for it. There are plenty of home projects most of us are more than capable of accomplishing on our own, with nothing more than a trip to the hardware store and a few hours on YouTube.

But if you’re in danger of electrocuting yourself, making an irredeemable mistake, putting yourself or someone else at risk, or in any way making things worse than they already are…just trust the professionals. That’s what they’re there for.

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

13 + 12 =

Looking for Unconditional Love? Get a Dog: Life Lesson 35 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Looking for Unconditional Love?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Atanas Teodosiev

When you get a dog, there’s nothing like the unconditional love you’ll experience—and if you already have one, you understand how dogs enrich our lives and brighten our everyday experience.

When you arrive home, a dog is excited to see you. They ask no tiresome questions about your day. They don’t pester you about how much money you made. Instead, they just show their love and enthusiasm with giant eyes, an eager tongue, and a tail that won’t stop wagging.

This lesson isn’t about money, it’s about having a lifelong friend. And friends take care of each other—I have my dog in my trust: no distributions are allowed from our trust until our dog is financially secure. (My wife won’t let me leave it all to the dog.)

And a dog takes care of you just as much as you take care of your dog (even when they’re hogging the bed). I call it the “presumption close”: a dog is willing and able to go wherever you’re going, eat whatever you eat (without cleaning up after the meal), even go to work with you (where they have no intention of working).

In today’s world, I think people are lonely. Get a dog and no matter what is going on in your life, wherever you are going and whatever you’re doing, you’ll have a little buddy right there with you wagging his tail.

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

10 + 10 =

We’ve Lost the Art of Being Friends: Life Lesson 34 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

We’ve Lost the Art of Being Friends

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Simon Maage

What’s going on with our world today? It seems like we’ve completely lost the art of being friends with the people in our lives.

You may not remember it, but there was a time when we could have meaningful conversations with other people, regardless of our different backgrounds and beliefs. We could even—dare I say it—disagree with strangers without being offended and still walk away as friends.

Impossible? Not at all! Here’s how it works.

You can be friends with individuals who you do not agree with when it comes to sports, politics, religion. You can even be friends with individuals who believe the Vikings will win the Super Bowl. You just have to understand and accept that everyone is different, and that the things we disagree about will never be as important as the things we all agree on.

(I happen to think the Vikings will never win the Super Bowl, but believe it or not, I’m still friends with a host of Vikings fans.)

Many of us claim that football is life, but we all understand this as an exaggeration. Life is a rich tapestry woven out of many threads—yes, including football, but just as crucial to our quality of life is having friends who talk to us, listen to us, and even respectfully disagree with us.

Like any other skill, it takes practice to develop and maintain the art of being friends, but the payoff is well worth the effort you put in. For example, I’m a dog person and not a big fan of cats…yet I still married my bride 29 years ago, even though it meant welcoming a cat into my life.

Relationships are all about empathy, compromise, and understanding, and we will only recover the lost art of being friends by practicing these important traits in our daily lives.

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

4 + 8 =

I Don’t Want to Share: Life Lesson 33 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

I Don’t Want to Share

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Here’s the thing. Generally, I don’t want to share—and neither does Joey in Friends, my favorite TV show. (I must admit it’s on every day in our household. That show helps keep me young at heart.)

In fact, everything I feel about sharing is all summed up in this great line from the show:

“Joey doesn’t share food.”

(If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t, you really should.)

I may not always see myself in the settings and situations the characters on Friends find themselves in, but Joey’s philosophy on sharing is one theme I can definitely relate to. There are some things I just don’t want to share.

There are things you don’t want other people using or taking without your permission too, I bet, even if our lists look a little different. Yours might include the following (not listed in order of importance):

  • Your 25-year-old sweatshirt that’s falling apart
  • Your pillows and blanket
  • Your weekly allowance from your mom
  • Pizza
  • Dessert
  • The TV remote

This isn’t a comprehensive list, so feel free to mentally add your own items. In fact, go ahead and write it out on paper if it makes you feel better. (Don’t worry. You don’t have to share it with anyone.)

The bottom line is: sometimes we don’t want to share, and that’s just fine. The way I figure, you can have it when I’m gone!

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

4 + 13 =

Not All Change Is Good: Life Lesson 32 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Not All Change Is Good

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Chris Lawton

New Coke, Amazon’s Fire Phone, McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, Betamax, that second or third spouse…the list goes on. In today’s world, we are constantly hearing about change. But—as you may have noticed in the list above—not all change is good.

Yet it doesn’t take much for us to become enamored with that shiny new penny. Don’t get me wrong, some change is good: as our technology has developed, we have created iPhones, Bluetooth, and countless lifesaving technologies. Our personal growth and professional development depends on embracing change.

But, as with any big changes, it’s worth considering the potential cost of these technological achievements.

For example, with a smartphone in your pocket, you can get directions to anywhere at any time. Everyone you could ever want to contact is all right there at your fingertips. But if your fancy iPhone runs out of battery, you won’t be able to call ahead and tell your business partner you’re going to be late, or warn your spouse about the construction on their route home from work.

We used to memorize our friends’ phone numbers as a matter of course; now that everything is digitized, those brain-strengthening memory exercises were a thing of the past. Even more alarming, our smartphones could be impacting our brains in troubling ways: according to Business Insider, constant notifications keep our brains hovering in a “near constant state of stress and fear,” causing our prefrontal cortex to freak out in ways that drastically reduce our higher cognitive functioning power.

Yikes.

But while change has the potential to take us away from our core values and bring us further from who we really are, it can also make us more efficient, more well-rounded, and better connected to people around the world. Change is like anything else: in some ways, it’s is good; in others, it can put us at risk.

Don’t just change because it’s convenient or because that’s the way the winds are blowing. Sometimes the status quo, the old way, is just fine. A handwritten letter will always mean more than an email, and nothing beats a homemade loaf of bread. Some change is good, just be thoughtful and vigilant before accepting it into your life (and try turning off the technology every once in a while).

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

8 + 15 =

Putting Family First: Life Lesson 31 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Putting Family First

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Photo by Jude Beck

I’ve never enjoyed being yelled at by my mom. Even as a grown adult, it always upset me. (No matter how busy you think you are—even if you’re in a meeting or sleeping at 2 a.m.—when your mom calls, just answer it. A life lesson I’ve experienced firsthand.) But putting family first is something I’ve struggled with over the years

I know I’m not alone in this. At times, it feels like I have so many competing priorities in life that something has to give, and the thing that was sacrificed first was usually my family.

I’ve been working on it. It hasn’t always been easy, but as I’ve aged, my priorities have become clearer.

As I’ve come to discover, the most significant deciding factor in how I prioritize my priorities has been money. As a business owner, I’ve felt the financial pressure to make payroll for my employees and family, of being the one who writes the checks; sometimes it’s hard to step away.

But a healthy business can handle the periodic lack of attention by its owner every now and then. I have a great team, and I can always rely on them to keep the business moving in my absence. At the end of the day, I always know we’ll be OK, even when I’m putting family first.

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

7 + 4 =