Life’s Resolutions vs. New Years’ Resolutions – Financial Simplicity for Life’s Possibilities

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Life’s Resolutions vs. New Years’ Resolutions – Financial Simplicity for Life’s Possibilities

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Simplifying one’s Life isn’t all About Money 

For the last couple of years I’ve been quietly working on simplicity.  And, that simplicity is included on many different levels. I suspect many of you are no different from me. I’m running a business, am married, have kids and a dog, and own a house and cars. So, how can I take everything I’m doing and make it simpler?

 

Simplicity for our Stuff….

Looking back over the past 10 years, I can’t believe how many laptop computers I’ve “justified” I needed. They’d help me be more productive, the one I had was too heavy, or it was the newest, hottest model. I’ve been working on giving or throwing away 5 things each week (big or small) throughout the last year and I’m still not done. Will I use it, need it, or wear it in the next year? I have to be honest with myself. It seems that I really don’t need all of the socks, shorts, shirts or STUFF that builds up in the garage after all. I’m actually looking forward to downsizing our house one day once our last kid graduates from high school so I can get rid of a lot of stuff all at once.

Technology – I’ve gone 90% paperless at the office. It’s amazing how even technology can help bring our client’s financial information together so it doesn’t have to be in 20 different locations even though it is.  Simplicity – I don’t have to look for files, I can have conversations with clients even when I’m not at the office, and my staff can help clients when I’m not available.  This has been such an awesome transformation. If you’d like to incorporate some technology to help simplify your financial information into one, let me know.

 

Financial Planning Resolutions

Simplicity for our Lives….

I don’t remember the day or time, but I reached a breaking point which is why I started down the path of simplicity. In my favorite movie – The Shawshank Redemption – the character, Brooks Hatlen has a great quote

“The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”

He had been in prison for 50 years and wasn’t used to how fast the outside world had become accustomed to moving. Have you ever had that moment when you had to wait for 2 or 3 minutes at McDonalds for your hamburger, and you’ve gotten a little flustered wondering why it’s taking so long? Or, you wonder why your Financial Advisor hasn’t called you back because you left him a message 10 minutes ago?

 

“My experience and observations through life so far has been that more stuff, more stress, and more money don’t necessarily equal happiness.”

It contradicts what society tells us, but I’m ok with that.

However, I didn’t always have this view. I once thought success was a big house, fast car, and the list could go on. Sure, I’m in the money business, and yes, money helps. But, it may be time for all of us to get off this really big hamster wheel – myself included. Experiences – not stuff – really equals life’s possibilities.

I recall talking to a client a couple of weeks before he passed away. He said to me, “it’s not worth it.” When I asked him what he was talking about, he repeated himself. “It’s not worth it.  A big house, boat, car, toys, etc. none of it is worth it.” He continued by saying “All that mattered was his family.”  Simplicity – That’s my goal not only for 2016 but the rest of my life: To make those people and experiences in life worth it.

My lovely bride asked me last night what my best moments in 2015 were.

My response was the time we spent together on our adventures. Sure I know some of you will say what a suck-up I am, but it’s true! Fishing in Alaska and pheasant hunting in South Dakota were right up there, except that Ross can really snore. I’m realizing that it really IS about life experiences and impacts I can make along the way, not the “stuff”.

Financial Simplicity for Life’s Possibilities: when you break it down, you realize how freeing it can be.  

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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