Real World Common Cents

Let’s Buy a Vacation House

Yes, it’s that time of year when we retreat to our favorite happy places. Maybe it’s the woods, lake, river, beach, or couch, no matter - we all have our retreats. Which makes us think, ”How I can spend the rest of my life here?” Rarely do I receive a questionnaire back from a client that doesn’t have a goal of a vacation property for some day in their future plans.

Make Par, Not Losses

Long fairways of green grass is the open highway I like to drive in the summers. What I like and what I get are two different realities though. Usually I find myself in the rough, woods, water, or neighboring highway. Anyone who’s ever played golf has found themselves trying to recover from a bad shot. The problem, however, is that most people try to make up for their mistakes by powering an impossible next shot over the river and through the woods. Rarely does this work, and now you are in an even deeper hole. Golf, like investing, is often just about minimizing mistakes and not losing.

Your Largest Bill

We spend a lot of time watching our budgets. We buy the store-brand cookies instead of name-brand at the grocery store, we wait until the end of the season to refresh our wardrobe to ensure the best deals, and we share passwords for streaming services to save on our monthly expenses. All of these are great strategies to save a few bucks throughout the year, and it adds up. However, there’s a much larger bill, which we all pay that we easily forget about until April 15th of every year.

The Decision to Not Make a Decision

The decision to not make a decision can be a great decision.

Saying Goodbye To My Best Investment

This week I parted with one of my best investments, a pair of vending machines. While I never “got rich” off these investments, they did turn candy and soda into cash and coins every week. The maintenance was minimal. I had a great business partner who handled the operations (stocking the machines). While the investment was simple and profits small in dollar terms, the lessons of what make a good business were great.

Playing with FIRE

As children we were warned, don’t play with fire. If you see it, put it out. Today though, young savers are running towards it. FIRE is an acronym for Financially Independent Retire Early. FIRE followers splatter their posts across message boards with religious fervor. Reading these posts, it’s hard not to get excited about kicking the day job and living off your portfolio.

Maximum or Minimum Contributions?

It’s a new year with a whole calendar ahead of you. This is the year that will be different, that you set ambitious goals and actually achieve them. What are those ambitious goals? How do we achieve them? Will they leave me feeling so overwhelmed and helpless they are abandoned?

What 1% Feels Like

It’s the beginning of the year, and for many, that means performance reviews.

Trying to time a Snowstorm

Recently one morning on the way to work, the roads were dry, and leaves were blowing in the air. Around 9:00 flurries started as the weather had called for light snow followed by rain. By 11:00 the grounds and roads were covered and still no signs of rain. At noon, school closings started to scroll across the screen.

Enrollment Season

It’s that time of year again. The HR envelopes start showing up at home, meetings are held at the office, and you learn why a smaller paycheck next year will really benefit you. That’s right, it’s employee benefits enrollment season.