What Do You Value?

What do you value?  What does your spouse value?  When is the last time you really thought about this, if ever, and created a plan to make it happen?  Most of the pre-retiree clients I meet with have goals other than purchasing material things.  Spending more time with family, cutting back on work hours, traveling, watching the grandkids grow up and giving back to community or spiritually are the answers I hear.  Values are not centered around material things, they are centered around what makes you tick.  Some of the values involve a plan for your finances and some can be done TODAY!  That’s right, TODAY, without a lot of financial and logistical planning.  The White Coat Investor takes a look at these questions and answers here.  Are you ready to create and take action on your value plan?  Talk to your spouse to help create the value plan and  contact us to help with the value-based financial piece.  The White Coat Investor brings up a great point – financial planning is more than finding your “number” for retirement.  It’s about getting to know you and your goals and then designing a plan centered around those goals.  That’s our philosophy at Direction Financial Management, LLC.

How to Use Your Money FAILURES as Money LESSONS



When I read this post from financial therapist Bari Tessler Linden I couldn’t agree more.  We all wish we could have handled a money situation differently in the past.  This post digs deeper and explores how change can take place only when we allow it to – We do not fail our way into change, shame our way into change, or unconsciously react our way into change. We can only love ourselves into change. We learn our way into change.  Read on for more about developing a healthy relationship with money and money lessons.



When’s the Right Time to Reset Goals?

When’s the last time you reviewed your goals?  I mean those goals you’ve been holding on to for years.  Today’s post shares insights about goal setting and how those goals change as you mature and priorities shift.  Carl Richards, author of “The Behavior Gap” shares his thoughts about this cycle of ever changing goals and how priorities drive change.

In the U.S., the upcoming long weekend over the Memorial Day holiday marks the unofficial start to summer. But that’s not how the holiday started. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was meant to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers. Over time, the honor was expanded to include all who died in military service. I know that today many of us also use this holiday to remember and celebrate all of our loved ones who’ve died.

Memorial Day is a perfect example of how something that starts out meaning one thing can grow and change to become something else just as meaningful, but different than the original. I think about this concept a lot in the context of setting goals.

I think it’s happened to everyone. You set a goal in your 20s or 30s, but by the time you reach your 40s, that goal has had to adapt to the changes in you and around you. But we aren’t always very good or graceful about admitting how those goals have changed. Often we get so caught up in the idea of the original goal that we miss seeing the opportunity in changing our minds.

For instance, let’s say you set the goal in your 20s to buy a house in your 30s, take a three-month vacation around Europe in your 40s, buy a boat in your 50s, and retire in your 60s. But you reach your 30s and you travel a lot for business. So even though you set the goal of buying a house in your 30s, does it still make sense to stick with that goal if you aren’t around to enjoy it?

Then you reach your 40s and you’ve got the goal of spending three months in Europe, but you spent most of your 30s traveling for business. Do you force yourself to still take the trip or is finally the right time to buy your dream home? In your 20s, you were convinced you’d love owning a boat in your 50s, but then the day arrives and you realize that old saying is true: The two happiest days for a boat owner are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells the boat.

Finally, we reach your last goal of retiring in your 60s, but the reality is that you’ve still got lots of opportunities and you enjoy your work. Do you still retire?

In some ways, it would have been really easy for Decoration Day to slip into the past as all those connected to the Civil War died. Instead, over time, it grew into something more.

What would happen if we showed this same adaptability with our goals? What if instead of tying ourselves to things we must do, we start thinking in terms of things we can do? To be clear, I’m not advocating aimlessly wandering through life. Instead, I’m encouraging you to be open to possibility, to be open to the reality that what you wanted 10 years ago may not fit very well with the life you have today.

A Bad Cycle

And with that acceptance comes the opportunity to break the cycle of beating up on ourselves for not checking more things off the list. Maybe, like just about everything else in life, we need to give our goals time to grow up and become what we really need as opposed to what we thought we needed however many years ago.


Money Lessons From Mom

Mom Day Card

What money lessons did you learn from Mom (or Dad)? Whether good lessons or bad lessons we all learn something from our parents about finances. Do any of these lessons sound familiar (click The Wall Street Journal link below)?


The follow up question for you is – what lessons are you teaching your children about money? What do you want them to remember about their household finances?

Checklist for Finances

Spring cleaning pix1

Have you started to feel the spirit of spring time? I’ve been doing my spring cleaning around the house and within my business which has provided me with a sense of energy and rejuvenation. Thankfully Spring is measured by more than the temperature outside (we still have snow on the ground in Wisconsin) – it’s a feeling from within your soul.  Now’s the time to capture that spirit from within, clean your house, and  get your financial house in order too.  Here’s a checklist for finances to help you get started.

Get Paperwork Organized

  • Store important papers (birth certificates, passports, marriage license, etc.) in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
  • Set up or reorganize your personal filing system.  Check out Alejandra’s website at www.alejandra.tv.com   for some great tips on how to do this.  You’ll also find some great tips on organizing your pantry, closets and drawers or anything else that needs it.
  • Buy a scanner and go paperless at home!  Not only will you save some trees, you will experience less clutter and discover new uses for your desk or countertops.  Review, scan or shred all mail within one or two days.


Make Sure your Family is Protected

  • Review your life insurance, annuities, and retirement plans to ensure beneficiary designations are updated and reflect your preferences.
  • See an estate planning attorney to draft new documents or review your existing documents. With the recent tax law changes its important to make sure your estate plan is up to date.
  • Review health, disability, long term care, life, auto, homeowner, and umbrella policies to ensure you have adequate coverage, desired policy features, deductibles and competitive premiums.


Take Control of Debt

  • Look into refinancing your mortgage if current rates are lower than your existing rate.
  • Check the terms of credit cards and switch to lowest-cost cards.  Better yet, create a debt management plan to pay off those credit cards and remove the debt burden.  Visit www.debtmovement.com for motivation and tips on how to do this.  Join the debt movement and be proud that you took control of your life!
  • Consider consolidating student loans to reduce interest rate.


Maximize Savings & Review Investments

  • Review your retirement plan contributions for the year. Are you set up to make the maximum allowed by year end? If not, it’s not too late. Most employers allow you to make changes at least quarterly. If you are saving in a traditional or Roth IRA set up automatic transfers from your checking account.
  • Do you have at least 6 months of living expenses set aside in an emergency fund? Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a money market or savings account. That’s how easy it is!
  • Now’s the time to start saving for college. Open up a 529 college savings plan for your children.
  • Review your investment strategy, asset allocation and risk tolerance.  Are they aligned?