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Go to the Ant

Go to the Ant

September 17, 2021

Be diligent to know the state of your flocks…For riches are not forever~ Proverbs 27:23

An interesting comment, “follow the money,” helps us understand the way we think about money and who we are as individuals. It is one thing to have money but do we know what money we have? This proverb is teaching us about diligence. This exhortation actually reminds us to be diligent, why? Because riches are not forever. Whatever your faith, this appeal remains an important principle.

Let’s start with,

The Bill Drawer

I used to have a bill file, some have a bill drawer. You pull the bill drawer open and it’s so full you can’t seem to find the scissors. If we really want to know what’s going on, somewhere it’s buried in this drawer. So go ahead, open the drawer, I dare you.

When I really delved into why I did not know much about personal finance when my late husband passed, and because of my reflective nature, I found I was being a bit lazy. No one would say that about me however, taking a good look at myself, I was not pushing to learn more about what was happening behind the scenes. I didn’t push or ask about our personal finances or help take responsibility for them, I did myself and my future a disservice. I notice on occasion, some women are similar in that however, when they come into our firm but we both, Joe and myself, encourage participation and understanding from if married, both individuals, the husband, wife or significant other as well as their desires and concerns collectively.

We should consider to:

Scorn delights for now and live laborious days and only then will I rise above then live which shall yield a harvest later. ~Anonymous

Embrace Gratitude

Some of us are obsessed over what we have and others, not enough focus meaning sometimes we cherish our money too much and other times, not enough.

For those of us who have more, do we do good? That means being rich in good works. Share with others, not from a socialist view point, but how about share a plate of dinner with your neighbors, or volunteer to sew socks or blankets for the local children’s cancer ward and not because someone knows that you do that but because it is kind.

I have three grown sons, all in careers and with families. Part of my responsibility is to encourage and lead by example even today how to live a purposeful life within a strong set of values. Pay your taxes, have integrity, be kind and work hard. One of my daughter in-law’s has type 1 Diabetes. They, as a family, give to an organization that serves children with Type 1 for research and financial support for the cost of insulin.

For those who don’t feel they have enough, how about before you get out of bed, be thankful and grateful for life. Many of you know I was in a horrible cycling accident two years ago. This was right after I had the total joy of cycling the French Alps with Chris Carmichael, an incredible cycling coach. I was conscious after a woman texting, didn’t see me, hit me from behind then ran over me.  As you know, I’m here but I remember laying there praying, “Lord, this is Your will but who will pray for my children and grandchildren?” One parent had already passed. I had several months of recovery, but I jump out of bed daily thanking God for life, even though the ups and downs. And for others of us who have a different faith, be grateful. Think of five things every morning to be grateful for, such as family, friends, food and a home. We are witnessing a horrific fire which is deemed the second largest fire in California’s history. People have lost everything including some, their lives.

We are told to do good, to be generous, to be wise, and also to store up for our future and our children’s future. In the last post I addressed, sometimes we are generous first, forgetting to decrease our spending, create more income, saving and investing then we don’t have enough for our own future.

 Ant School

Go to the ant you sluggard and learn from her. Proverb 6

The sluggard (not being politically correct) noticed the warm fireplace when she could have been out ploughing so she stopped there. ~Anonymous

Go to the ant, that means go to school, learn from her ways. She is small but is prudent, plans, and prepares for her future without someone telling her what to do. A sluggard or lazy person, is someone who procrastinates. I think personally most people are not lazy, they just don’t know what to do or they need to learn different habits.

Something that helps me to think about the task, set myself up for it, and remember in all labor there is profit in doing that task.

A few ways to get a handle on your responsibilities, (your bill drawer) is to set up and authorize an automatic bill payment to be made using your debit card, credit card, checking account, savings account or money market account.

What can you automate?

  1. Mortgage/lease payment.
  2. Utility bills.
  3. Cell phone bill.
  4. Streaming subscriptions.
  5. Credit card bills.
  6. Auto loan payment.
  7. Student loan payments.
  8. Insurance.
  9. Investments.

Tally up

When I am working with people on how to get a handle on their expenses and know the state of their flock, (referred in above proverb) meaning what they have, what they need to pay and what they should change, I have them keep track of every single expense and income handwritten in a five-column spreadsheet so they can master what they are spending. That means they keep every receipt and record it monthly. Then start to automate as well. One of our clients, I was with her in a meeting a few days back, I was so impressed because she knows things about Zoom I didn’t. She is on technology!

My heart is creative. I don’t necessarily enjoy budgeting but I want to know what I spend, where can I decrease, are their fees, what I save, what I earn and where everything is. When my late husband passed, I had to learn everything first hand over again.

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear reminds us that if you work on building a system of small continuous positive improvements, you change your outcome.

A bill we should have

So, we discussed what you have, embracing gratitude, know your responsibilities, track and automate but how about insurance?

I think about this quite regularly. I will be 58 on my next birthday, do I have things in place for the well-being of my family? Is my family insured? Do I have long term care? Do I have something in place in case something happens to me for my family? You might think it is a gamble but it is something to consider.

The provision of insurance for our families and ourselves should be taken into consideration as part of our goals in planning. Insurance can be looked at in a negative way but the insurance companies do a lot of research not only on the health of the nation but they break it down by age, by habits, location, health, a variety of factors and they are well funded. This is a company you can buy from. Truly you could be driving down the road happily and then something happens, you might wake up in the hospital with $100,000 racked up in costs. This is where we need to consider protecting and providing for our families accomplishing this by aligning with our financial goals at the same time.

A woman in her early 50’s shared that her insurance agent had set her up on a plan where she was paying about $6,000 per year in insurance, a plan that really did not align with her family goals. After discussing and reviewing her goals and realizing her current insurance program did not meet those, we created an insurance strategy that provided much better alignment with her goals and provided much better protection for her children and herself long term at roughly the same cost of her current insurance program.   At our firm, we don’t just handle insurance and securities but view financial decisions with an aim to help our clients optimize cash flows that are in alignment with their goals. For this client we were the “Ant School”.  So, if you are looking for help with your various financial decisions, whether for insurance, investments, or other areas of your life, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.