Wish you were a better manager of your money? We make so many decisions every day. We can’t possibly make good choices all the time. When it comes to our hard earned dollars we want to make the best use of them possible, especially if we want to retire some day. Here are some helpful hints to being a better money manager. I recently came across a Seinfeld video where he goes on a rant about cookies. Paraphrasing he says, “You never see them during the day. But sometime after 9 p.m. they begin to appear. They wait until you’re tired and weak. The cookies, all lined up in the boxes, look like a D-Day beach landing troop carrier ready to attack.” He’s talking about the temptation and weakness we have for consuming cookies or some sweet treat late at night…
I recently spent $3,000 on car repairs. I’d avoided dealing with it for a few months but couldn’t put it off any longer. Nothing against my excellent mechanic, but I’d just didn’t want to part with the money. I’d rather have that money stay in my bank account as long as it can – OK, maybe I’m overly frugal. That said, I can understand how some people may procrastinate when it comes to financial planning services. We’ve all been there. How much longer can I put this off without incurring even more expense? It got me to thinking about the cost of procrastination. I’ve begun to suspect that people think about financial planning services in a similar way. It can be expensive, initially. You could easily spend a couple of thousand dollars or more engaging a financial planning professional. People tend to wait until there’s a dire need before seeking help.
“Money anxiety disorder” is a term used by psychologists to describe a condition of constant worry and unease about money. The term seems to have come into use around 2008 to 2009, when the economy was unraveling and most people were concerned about their financial well-being. Additionally, research has shown that women seem to suffer from money anxiety more than men. Here we look at what it is, how to recognize it and how the financial planning process might help.
Here are some of my favorites on the fascinating topic of emotions and money. If you are interested in exploring this subject, you will surely find something worthwhile and fun to read. I strongly urge you to try some of the exercises offered in the books. Self-learning really happens when you “do the work.”
Do you know how much a half gallon of orange juice costs? Think carefully. What was once a 64-ounce container of juice is now 59 ounces. A pint of Hagen Daz is just 14 ounces (Ben & Jerry’s still has a 16 ounce “pint.”) How do you compare? Take another example, hotel rooms. I found a great place to stay in Sonoma for under $200 a night in February. This summer there was nothing under $300 at the same place. I recently purchased artwork for my office. I had no idea how much to offer, except that it had to be lower than the asking price! Plane flights, cars…ditto. Clearly, some prices do vary based on seasonal factors. Yet, is there such a thing as the “real” or best price for anything?
The objective of investing is not to make a “big pile of money.” Or is it? This is not a real goal – it is a fairy tale. We think we’d love to make a “fortune.” But how much is a big pile, a lot, or even a boatload? How much is enough? What do we need it for? What are we trying to accomplish?
Imagine you have come to the office of Stoffer Wealth Advisors for a consultation. You need some help in reviewing and structuring your investments. You are concerned about securing a good rate of return on your investments and want to understand what will be the best approach. Here’s how the conversation might go.
Did you hear the latest on the trade talks with China or the health of the economy? If you somehow missed it, you’ll probably hear about it later today or tomorrow. It may be on the screen at the gym. You’ll turn on a radio and there it is. It seems impossible to escape the financial news. Does listening to any of it help you to invest your money more wisely. The answer is, probably not. The point is that we’re bombarded with all kinds of “information” that is supposedly making us more informed about markets and investing. The ‘news’ usually focuses on telling us what has happened. It certainly doesn’t help inform us of what is likely to happen.
Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” has been forced ashore by a mutinous crew. We see him stranded on an island drinking rum with his lovely companion beside a fire. They are discussing his ship. “It’s not just a keel, a hull, and a deck and sails. That’s what a ship needs. But what a ship is, what the Black Pearl really is . . . is freedom.” As an idealistic young investor in the ‘80s I felt the same way about the investment of my retirement savings. Those investments represented financial freedom. What do your financial investments mean to you?
Why is saving for retirement so hard? For many of us, it’s much more appealing to spend today than to save for tomorrow. It’s human nature – we live in the present. Often the choices we make aren’t necessarily in our best interest in the long run (examples include smoking, indulging in a poor diet or giving in to spending for immediate gratification versus saving for retirement.) Why?
...When an old acquaintance saw the name of my business, Stoffer Wealth Advisors, he said, “As soon as I have some wealth to manage I’ll give you a call.” Clearly he was thinking of wealth only in its most narrow definition: an abundance of material possessions or money.