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Back to School Work

15 September 2013

Back to School Work

Now that kids are back in school it almost feels like a new year. For many, Labor Day is like a new beginning rather than just the end of summer. Because new habits and behaviors typically kick in this week, here are some ideas for your consideration: 1. Join a conversation about education and help answer the question , “what is school for?”. I have a deep interest in spurring a conversation about the current state of public education. Seth Godin  and Ken Robinson have written two very good pieces on how innovation and creativity have been squashed in the modern curriculum, as well as how to start making changes. The attached website has wonderful video talks by each that are well worth the time. Seth also has a free manifesto if you want more substance. http://www.squidoo.com/stop-stealing-dream 2. Focus time on your personal financial situation:
  • Save more- I spend most of my time with clients discussing how to plan and invest their savings, yet not enough on increasing the amount saved. This is best done by automating it,  so consider maxing out your 401k or setting up a link between your investment account and checking account to save dollars each month.
  • Borrow carefully- The last five years have seen most of us make great strides in reducing debt, however good debt is part of a healthy balance sheet. Many mortgages have been refinanced at historically low rates, which can free up dollars for saving. If cash flow is strong, consider making an extra mortgage payment each year as the term of your loan could be reduced by 20% or more. Do not carry a credit card balance but do use a rewards card for everyday expenses. Capital One has a solid program as does Delta Visa Signature. You may never buy an airline ticket again!
  • Review your 401k plan for contribution amount and investment allocation. I am happy to take a look at your statement to see if the mix of funds is appropriate given your portfolio here.
  • Create a five-year map based on what truly excites you and then share it with me and your family. With the changes seen over the last five years, we know all too well what can happen during that time span. I like thinking in terms of maps as maps need to evolve based on data we do not yet have. I have found that working in five-year increments allows me to create actionable items for clients, which we can control or influence. If retirement is within five years, reconsider what you may do professionally while in retirement. Many clients have realized that maintaining some professional outlet actually helps them transition easier. Financially, this may be needed to supplement savings but more importantly it helps ensure a sense of purpose.
  My best to you, Woody