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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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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How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

How Much to Spend on a Wedding Gift

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s something we’ve all thought about when invited to celebrate that special day – how much to spend on a wedding gift. Before tackling this subject, it’s important to note that giving should be based on both the financial position you are in as well as your relationship to the couple. With that, here are some general guidelines to follow.

Realistically, you have three options when it comes to wedding gifts. Either you can buy directly off of the couple’s registry, give cash or check, or give a gift card to the store that the registry exists at or a place you know they enjoy. Although creativity is wonderful, most engaged couples have thought through what it is that they need to get started, so don’t stray too far from that.

Certainly, money can be tricky, especially because there are so many different reasons for going to a wedding. However, a good rule of thumb is to spend at least $50 on a wedding gift. Usually, this lower threshold (under $100) is appropriate for acquaintances, coworkers, neighbors, and distant family members.

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

The $100-$150 range is where most people land when purchasing a wedding gift. This amount makes sense for friends, cousins, and those you have a close working relationship with. Anything above $150 is suitable for those closest to you or for people who have the financial ability to give generously.

Additionally, it is a good idea to try to tackle some of the bigger items on the registry first that may be a bit too pricey for the new couple. Currently, you may not be able to afford to give a washing machine as a wedding gift, but maybe you have a good friend going to the wedding who would be willing to combine gifts. It’s a lot easier to run out to the store for some hand towels rather than new appliances.

Also, don’t forget about the other costs associated with weddings. Generally, are you the type of person who buys a new outfit for a special occasion? In this case, were you invited to a bridal shower, bachelorette party, or a similar celebration? Following the wedding, are you going to be giving anniversary gifts? Indeed these are all good questions to ask yourself – try not to overshoot or undershoot on the gift.

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9 Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

9 Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s not to say your previous Father’s Day gifts have not been appreciated, but it’s time to buy into the idea of a Unique Father’s Day Gift. Here are 9 different gift ideas. If anything, this should get the ball rolling for you to think outside the box (or the Father’s Day display).

1. Father’s Day Boat Cruise

Do a little research to see what your city is doing for Father’s Day. Many places have some type of special or something arranged to help fathers feel appreciated. One of the cooler things is a boat cruise – especially if a meal and/or live music is involved. If you live in the Twin Cities/Western Wisconsin area, check out Stillwater Boat and Packet Specials. Dad will love the combination of quality time, food, and scenery!

2. Custom picture frame with photo

Head over to your local Michael’s craft store and pick up your favorite picture frame. If you’re crafty, add your own twist to it. If not, search Amazon for a quick picture frame delivery. Make it personalized. Does dad like fishing? Get a fishing frame and frame a picture of the two of you with your biggest catch! You can be thoughtful without breaking the bank.

3. A Bathroom Box

This one seems a little silly, but everyone poops! There is now a spray that covers up the stink before you even go. It’s called Poo-Pourri, and you need to check it out here. Now, dad may not want you just saying that he smells, so make it thoughtful. Add a Dad Joke book or some printed toilet paper to complete the bathroom box.

4. Tickets to a local tour

Is there something your dad absolutely loves? Maybe something he often mentions but never gets around to? Look up local tours to find something special. If you’re in Minnesota, GetKnit Events has a plethora of options. It’s always a hit to get tickets to a local museum or a tour of the local brewery, too.

5. Clean Car Caddy

It never hurts to get a useful gift for Father’s Day. Pick up some Rain-X and a nice microfiber towel to give a gift of a clean car. You could even throw in a car wash coupon book or better yet, help your father clean the car!

6. Monthly Box Subscription

There are quite a few options in this up-and-coming category. Check out Dollar Shave Club, Try the World, and Compete Crate for some awesome ideas. There ought to be something to fit your dad’s interests!

7. Custom coasters

When a father comes home from a long day, you’ll probably find him with a cold beverage in his hand (even if it’s water). Shutterfly has great options for customizable coasters. It’s up to you whether you want to just do text, or even add your own family photos! This is a timeless gift that can be used by family members and house guests.

8. A Thoughtful CD

Your father’s car probably still has a CD slot in it. Go to your ITunes library, add about 20 songs to a playlist, and burn it onto a CD. Write about why these songs mean something to you. Maybe they make you think of all of the great times you shared with your dad. Pick out a unique CD case to make the gift a little more interesting.

9. A day dedicated to cleaning/organizing the garage

One of the best things we can give to someone else is our time. If dad is someone who is always working outside or spending time in the garage but never gets around to organizing it, dedicate an entire day to helping him do just that. He will appreciate it for years to come.

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Ways You Know You Have Too Much Stuff

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Ways You Know You Have Too Much Stuff

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

First off, the older I get……when I look at all the stuff I’ve gathered over the years, I can’t believe it. Apart from the dog, who is the only minimalist in the family, we have so much. In time, we’ve packed our entire house up and we have been working on downsizing. Rather than storing 90% of what we truly never use but think we might, we are looking for less space.

During the packing, we discovered we have three crockpots and one pressure cooker. Thus, 4 cookpots. Certainly, I’m embarrassed to even share this, but I know I’m not alone. In the same, many of you reading this are already in this club; you have too much stuff you’ve never use. One day, if you haven’t already, you’ll discover you have too much stuff too.

First, we rented a 10’ x 20’ storage unit that was also 20+ high. Then the movers had to stack high just to fit all our “stuff” in. In the end, we completely filled the storage unit up and thank goodness Mom had space in her home. Today, storage units are in high demand and they aren’t cheap.

Previously, you purchased your stuff (junk). Too often, people run out of space and now have pay to store their stuff. Seriously, I can’t think of a bigger business that rips you off. But, we do it to ourselves. Then we become emotionally attached to our stuff even though we only use 10% of our stuff 90% of the time. Likewise, I struggle with this at times. Although Mrs. Anderson might disagree with this at the time…..

As revealed by Ross, he says sell it all on eBay because that’s why eBay was created. Moreover, we don’t need to keep a power washer 365 days when we don’t even use it for 8 hours within an entire year. Honestly, I’m too impatient to try and sell the stuff. Indeed, I’d rather just give it away. Yet, Ross is right, eBay has all kinds of stuff you and I are looking for. In particular, it’s one giant pawnshop for everything.

Unlike my previous moving habits, I’m working on going through all our “stuff” to truly keep what I’m only going to use. Obviously, this isn’t going to be easy, but I’m going to try my best.

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Putting the F-U-N in Funerals – Planning a Funeral

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. Let’s talk about planning a funeral.

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

How do you start planning a funeral?

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 on 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 one person knows your wishes. It is good to start planning a funeral for yourself.

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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