Are You Stuck in the Middle?
If you are raising kids, helping aging parents and trying to keep your career moving in the right direction- congratulations, you are officially in middle of a storm. Adding to the possibility that you are doing all of it at once is the fact that kids are launching later, and that parents are living and needing assistance more often than a generation ago. Further, you may have to keep that career going so you can continue to grow your nest egg to ensure your own security (or you are working to keep your own sanity)! If this is your life, we have some tips to help you make it through:
First, self-care is critical. Self-care is not necessarily spa days and retail therapy (although, let’s be honest- sometimes that is nice, too). Self-care is about establishing healthy habits for your mind and body that allow you to get what you need from it. Getting in the habit of going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time daily instead of binge watching Netflix, eating healthy, and getting at least some minor exercise (could just be a walk around the block) each day will make a world of difference to you. The consistency of it will have a bigger impact than a random spa day. It may sound silly, but slowing down can give you more time.
Second, you need to put the plan on auto-pilot. This is especially true concerning your finances. When you are crazy busy, you are more susceptible to theft and fraud or even just wasting resources. Freeze your credit, set up auto bill pay, and schedule 30 to 60 minutes a month to confirm that everything is where it should be. Put a recurring task on your calendar to check insurance policy renewals once or twice a year when they are scheduled to renew. Doing this could help avert a major disaster. Take 30 to 60 minutes to make a list of what needs to be bought each week and buy only what is on the list. That will keep the Target run for one thing on the list from becoming a $100 excursion- 4 times in a week. Be sure to keep your regular standard of living below your income and your savings plan as automatic as possible.
Third, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. In your old, non-squeezed life, you may have been able to run to one store for something and another for something else to save a few dollars. It doesn’t make sense to do that now, especially if your hourly rate is higher than what you’d save in that time period. You may have had time before to clean your own house and run all your own errands. You may have to spend money on that now and cut back in other areas that are more discretionary like home improvements, clothing, gifts, or travel to honor your budget but allow you to have the help you need.
Fourth, communicate with and allow everyone to operate at their maximum independence level. Kids can do far more than you think. Spouses can do more. Parents can be responsible for as many of their own needs as long as they possibly can. If you are taking your time to run the entire operation, they must be able to do as many tasks as they can. Take the time to plan, the time to nag the kids to get their stuff done, and help your parents find ways to do more and do it safely. If you don’t your time crunch will get worse, not better, as people will begin to expect you to do it all.
Finally, enlist help. You need at least a couple of friends who you can commiserate with and blow off steam. You need to have a community of parents that you know and trust with your kids to help keep an eye on them or get them to practice. You need co-workers who get it who will grab you a cup of coffee just because or help you complete a project. Your extended family may be able to help with your parents- even those out of town- with phone calls and services. And of course, there are professionals and services for everything. Many are low cost or even free (even grocery delivery for you)!
If you need to talk, let us know. We’re pros because we’ve been there (who are we kidding- we’re still there)! We’ve had plenty of help and tips from clients and mentors who have been there and done that and a community of people going through it now who have many tips to share. This affects your finances now, but also your future financial security. We’d love to help!
In 1990, the percentage of women living alone from the ages of 65 to 84 was 38%. In 2014, it had declined to 32%. (Pew Research Center)
Get Those Kids Off to Adulthood with a Good Financial Education
By Kelly Hokanson, CFP®
It’s that time of year again when people are posting pictures of their kids off to college. It’s a good reminder that they are getting older and should be getting more responsible with money. We like to meet with the kids of our client’s multiple times before they are off on their own. First, by their junior year of high school, it’s a good idea for a discussion about what the funding plan is for school, so kids can plan accordingly as they look at colleges or make post-high school plans. A meeting before college starts to discuss funding and budgeting is also a great start for the kids who may be more focused on social issues than financial ones. Career planning during their senior year of college is helpful, as well as time to talk once they get that first professional job. Finally, as they mature into self-supporting adults who don’t live in your basement, we can keep them going in the right direction. We are so proud that 35% of our existing clients have a family member who is also a full planning client. We know that helping the kids of our clients is one of the best things we can do to serve both the client and their children.
“As we look deeply within, we understand our perfect balance. There is no fear of the cycle of birth, life and death. For when you stand in the present moment, you are timeless”. ~Rodney Yee
Market Update: More of the Same
7-31-18 YTD Dow 4.1%
7-31-18 YTD S&P 500 6.5%
7-31-18 YTD World EX US All Cap -.5%
7-31-18 YTD US Agg Bond -1.6%
So far, political primaries and tariffs haven’t caused major market swings. International markets have not fared as well as the US markets have so far year to date, but who knows when that will change. The Federal Reserve Bank is suggesting they will continue with rate increases, but the future is unpredictable. Given all of that, the only constant is change. In our opinion, the best thing we can suggest is to keep plenty of liquidity to handle personal or external volatility and then invest for the long-term. If you are worried at all, please ask us about your liquidity planning and how much of a shock your current plan can handle, and for how long. Of course, if you don’t ask, we’ll tell you anyway. We’ll even compare it to putting it all in a mattress or a coffee can in the back yard. Because at The Planned Approach, we’ve considered every scary situation we can come up with- and man, do we have great imaginations. (Staci can find something scary in a bowl of cereal).
The views expressed represent the opinion of The Planned Approach. The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. While The Planned Approach believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and The Planned Approach’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties.