Can Walking Make Us Richer?

Long walks and successful long term financial & life goal setting go hand in hand. Lots of people have zero interest in long walks but even a walk to the mailbox can turn into a long walk – so stay with me here. A recent, rather long walk on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain (pictured) taught me life-changing lessons about goal setting. Namely,

  • There is no truly right or wrong way to formulate financial or life goals. Yes, goal setting is easier when pen & paper are involved, but the process is more about quality of thought (meaning being honest and open with oneself) than any set of “rules.”
  • There need not be a rush to set financial, business or life goals. Although starting sooner rather than later can help – and momentum will develop on its own. The list of goals may then turn out longer and more exciting than ever imagined! (Dreams can become goals too.)
  • Accomplishing goals in a quality way becomes a series of decisions made along the way – seemingly small decisions and larger, more serious-feeling decisions.
A walk, short or long, can give space for free thought by separating us from the stress of beeping appliances, phones, laptops – even briefly from bosses and colleagues.

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It Takes More Than Financial Goals

As the country and our world emerge from the battering of the pandemic, the Russian aggression in the Ukraine has now added a different, far-away, uncontrollable stress on our minds. Not to mention the markets’ reaction and inflation, although markets naturally experience up & down cycles. In light of all this, one of my best – and as it turns out most insightful – clients sounded in on the following:

  • Now more than ever, our health and survival in the short- and long-term depend on Self-Care. (I would add that self-care includes having personal finances somewhere near “in order”.)
  • Realize, though, the financial stability part can only come about after the self-care part is addressed.

Before deleting this message, please read on… to Part One of this edition of TGIF 2 Minutes.

Now more than ever, our health and survival in the short- and long-term depend on Self-Care, including having personal finances somewhere near “in order.”

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Here’s to the 2021 Graduates!

With inspiration from the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes… and in light of graduation season, it can be beneficial to celebrate the basics of personal finance for future peace of mind – both for ourselves and the kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews who mean the most to us. 

College graduation may have been a long, long time ago or more recently – and experienced from the perspective of a parent, grandparent, or friend.

Inspired by last weekend’s graduation at the University of Notre Dame and “graduation season” in general, consider these pieces of financial advice that hold meaning for nearly everyone at every age:

Some financial advice holds meaning for nearly everyone at every age, not just recent grads.
Photo by Emily Ranquist on Pexels.com

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White-Hot Real Estate – Pt 1

The real title this week is, “Selling Real Estate in a White-Hot Market”.

Future topics include:

  • Real Estate (in general) in a White-Hot Market
  • How to Handle Real Estate as an Asset in Any Market
  • Renting versus Buying in a White-Hot Real Estate Market

ALL of these topics have come up in conversations with friends and clients over the past year, even more so in the past five months. There is no question that real estate – especially around major cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, and Atlanta – is sizzling hot. Even cities such as Atlanta where there are residential areas inside of a sprawling city, those “suburban feel” areas are also on fire.

Whether or not to sell their home has come up in conversations with friends and clients over the past year, even more so in the past five months.

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Are Tax Rates Going Higher?

The question of whether or when tax rates may go higher is one asked after many a US Presidential election. The actuality of taxes going up is altogether another issue with its own timing depending on the President, party and Congress involved. There can be signals of both higher and lower taxes that certain candidates and Presidents communicate to win friends (and elections) and influence people.

In fact, in reading this week the obituary of Walter Mondale it seems that his transparent insistency on a proposal to raise taxes in his mid-1980’s US Presidential bid was a major factor behind his losing the election to Ronald Reagan (Reagan’s 2nd term run). That was then, this is now. One could say that now President Biden ran on a platform to raise taxes – in part winning him the election. Taxes and tax plans may always be part of US elections as they say the only things certain in life are death and taxes.

There is no “magic bullet” strategy to avoiding tax increases.

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More on PCL…and WRW!

Good morning and TGIF,

A couple of weeks back the topic was PCL, or Post-Career Lifestyle. I received more comments than usual from people of all ages – and a number of cool ideas on how to look at the “nonretirement” concept of saving today in order to do what you love tomorrow. “Doing what you love” in a post-career lifestyle can include continuing to work for pay, slowing down and enjoying a “side gig” or truly retiring and ending working altogether.

Another excellent factoid revealed was that women and men tend to look at retirement and post-career lifestyle differently. Women also have a lot more to say about their attitude toward saving (whether for PCL or retirement) and managing the savings habits of their families. This translates into a concept best described by the acronym, WRW*, or Women Rule the World.

Now before the men reading this say, “Wait a minute!” a couple of notes of clarification.

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Goals Gut Check

From the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives earlier this year PRE-coronavirus…

Earlier this year in February things were GOOD! The economy was cranking, unemployment was low, wages were up, and it was a somewhat perfect time of the year to set goals. Think: it was pre-tax filing time and after the holidays.

Fast forward to today… the world has changed. Our savings have been tapped in the pandemic — and new savings and other goals need to be reset! While the kids may now be going back to school (followed by maybe not??) using this precious time to set just a handful of goals can pay off toward achieving those goals.

silver and gold coins
Give yourself a “Goals Gut Check” with this precious time before things potentially go a little haywire.

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Why Do We Save Money?

As we persevere through the coronavirus pandemic, consider the following message from the 2019 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes….

What is your reason for saving money? Is it retirement? Or are there “mini-goals” that would feel really great to achieve today?

Of course, retirement is often a primary long-term savings goal, but not always. “Retirement” encompasses more than simply stopping work and being on a “permanent vacation.” In fact, research published in the Journal of Financial Planning* reports that quitting work cold turkey often is not reality – for a number of reasons.

green typewriter on brown wooden table
What is your reason for saving money? Is it retirement? Or are there “mini-goals” that would feel really great to achieve today?

Continue reading “Why Do We Save Money?”

Portfolios & Mental Health – Part 2

Re-running this edition due to popular demand… Younger and less experienced investors (new college grads, younger workers buying a first home or saving in a 401k for the first time) can especially benefit by learning these steps, but really anyone can be better off:

If anything has been important since mid-February 2020 it has been being mentally strong and resilient – or having friends and family who are mentally strong to lean on. Believe it or not, this has nearly always been the case with investing.

green typewriter on brown wooden table
Pay attention to the present moment while knowing it is necessary that you and your adviser also consider the long-term.

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“Hanging In There” in Tough Markets

How many times in the past going on 10 weeks has someone said to you, “Hang in there”? How many times have YOU perhaps said to someone you care about, “Hang in there”?

Hanging in there is often all we can do – and a brave thing to do at that. When it comes to tough markets like the ones we are currently experiencing, “hanging in there” translates to discipline in the midst of bravery. Discipline and bravery are two of the ultimate challenges in life.

KWD Chart

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