Pre-Retirement

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It Can Wait!

Be patient, and keep your priorities in order. 

Remember that recurring scene in "It's a Wonderful Life," where George Bailey keeps seeing things like a broken door knob, and muttering, "need to fix that." No? Well, how about that Lowe's commercial from a few years back, where the gal puts in her brand-new light fixture, only to see ten other projects that need attention now that the room is brightly illuminated.

I'm a recent first-time homeowner, and I'm living this every day. Every time I walk into my house, the front glass door slams hard behind me, because the hydraulic hinges are bad. I cringe every time it slams, and think the same thing George did - need to fix that. It's easy to get stressed or overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, and as humans often we have a tendency to feel like everything has to be done now.

However, as I was going through the process of buying my home, people told me time and time again that the housework never stops, and sometimes you just have to let it be. I've taken this to heart recently, reminding myself when I start feeling project overload that there will always be thing to do, fix, renovate, buy, etc. It just doesn't all have to be done now.

It's a valuable lesson in life to know that some things can wait. (I'm not talking about your savings goals. Those do need to be started on now. Just to clarify.) But, taking a deep breath and remembering that while I can easily afford a $15 new hydraulic arm for my screen door, right now, I'd be better off using that money for something else. Knowing what can wait can help you more clearly see the big picture.

Fifteen bucks may not sound like much, but that can go toward a vacation fund, emergency savings or another goal you're planning for. You might even be able to find an additional ten, fifteen or twenty bucks to throw in too. If you're forgoing savings to focus on these types of small things that can wait, you're not doing yourself any favors.

I can't tell you how many people we see in our conference who've just bought a new house, and have an exhaustive list of projects - bathroom redo, kitchen updates, landscaping, decorating, etc. Folks, these things can wait. It's fun to make a house your own, but trust me - you have time. Look at it from the big picture perspective, and plan those projects over the next few years as you have funds and can plan to get the best bang for your buck. Often people jump the gun on these decisions, and make the decisions before they were good and prepared.

Now, before you call me a wet blanket and walk away, we are not just about telling people "no" to the things they want to do. We want you to be strategic, keeping future wants and needs in mind as well as current ones. We actually see many clients relax a little when we tell them they can wait a while to make decisions and improvements, and that's it's in their best interest to put them off in favor of other priorities. It takes the stress off, and they can still be dreaming about those new curtains or bathroom vanities.

Planning to buy a new home, or thinking about home improvements? Let us know. We can help you prioritize and make sure they fit into your overall financial plan.

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