Planning for Tomorrow, Enjoying Today

I spend my days planning for tomorrow, helping and encouraging others to do the same.

I love it.  I believe it is incredibly important (This guy thinks so too!).  And I want everyone to do it.

But I don’t ever want to plan so much that I forget about the present.  As another wise man tells me a lot:  Your financial plan needs to fit like your favorite pair of comfortable shoes, not the pair that looks great but makes your feet hurt…and that you can’t wait to take off.

In other words, today is too important.  Make sure you enjoy it.

Recently, we made the incredibly difficult decision to put down my best friend.  We had over 15 wonderful years together, but that wasn’t nearly long enough.  She was the best, and I’d give anything to have another day with her.

So today I’m not thinking about the future so much.  I’m remembering the past and embracing today, and reminding myself that all three – past, present and future – are important.

I’ll get back to planning tomorrow. For today, I’m just going to miss my girl.

Rest easy, sweet Lily.  December 2, 2004 to February 3, 2020.

| Jay Kenerly, MSFS, CHFC

All I Want For Christmas Is a Magic Telescope

Over the past few weeks, my four children have been busy completing their Christmas wish lists.  Panthers jerseys and purple bikes, Burrito games and “hii hiel chirch shoos” (Maye’s spelling, not mine)…. Santa definitely has his job cut out for him this year.

My 11-year-old Hal is our more “out-of-the-box” thinker, and his wishes are often a bit more difficult to shop for.  A few days ago he asked for a magic telescope.

“I want to see things really far away…. Like the future!  Wouldn’t that be cool, Dad?”

While that would be neat, I let him know it might be hard to find.  But as so many parents do, I began the search anyway, scouring the internet and searching for some type of magic telescope.

And then it dawned on me.  I actually already have one, just not the type Hal is talking about.

A retirement plan.

Whether it’s a 401k or Roth IRA, a Simple Plan or simply a plan, retirement savings magically allow us to glimpse at our futures and see our lives years down the road.  Even better, they allow us to change the future if we don’t like what we see.

I’ve been looking through my telescope for almost 25 years and, as I turn 47, what once was blurry is becoming more and more clear.

Hopefully Hal will be satisfied opening a different kind of telescope this Christmas, but I’ll be sure to tell him about the magic ones that really do exist.  He might not “get it” this year, but one day he will.  And I can assure him it will be really cool.

When you look through your magic telescope, what do you see?

| Jay Kenerly, MSFS, CHFC

broken umbrellas

It’s Raining. It’s Pouring.

The umbrellas literally sit right beside our front door.

Four or five of them, and a few that actually work properly.  We even have one of those really cool ones that open and close the opposite way of traditional umbrellas, dumping rainwater outside when I close it instead of on me (Genius by the way…. How did it take us almost 4,000 years to come up with that?)

And yet, despite how easy it would have been to grab one… and despite the wet ground and dark sky… and despite the forecast that I checked that morning…. I left for work on Tuesday with no umbrella.

You can guess what happens next.  The rain started pouring about half-way to the office.  I sat in my car listening to a Bill Simmons podcast for as long as I could, but eventually just had to make a mad dash.  I looked like I had showered in my suit, which made for an incredibly comfortable morning, and basically didn’t completely dry out until I changed before dinner.  Shirt and suit went to the cleaners this morning (cha-ching!), and I woke up with a cold…. Good times, and all on me.

Whether it is for a large business or a small family, every financial plan needs good umbrellas.  Risk management is not as sexy as saving and investing, but it is equally important (if not more so) and can waylay the best laid plans.  Employee retention strategies, properly structured life insurance, fully funded buy/sell agreements, sufficient disability coverage, wills and powers of attorney, etc …. they may not be fun conversations, but they are a lot more fun than the conversations that take place when the unexpected occurs and there are no umbrellas.  As a wise man says to me often: “It’s not a matter of if it is going to rain, but when.  And how hard.  And how long.”

This morning, despite the sunshine, I carried an umbrella to the car, where it has now found a permanent home.  And I placed one at the entrance to our office.

I don’t know when it is going to rain again, but I’ll be ready when it does.

What kind of umbrellas are you carrying?

| Jay Kenerly, MSFS, CHFC

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein, the Big Three Questions and You

Albert Einstein, the Big Three Questions and You

Albert Einstein is famously credited (perhaps wrongly?) with saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about how the United States prepares its citizens for financial literacy, readiness and wellness, but he might as well have been.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What grade are most Americans taught even basic financial planning, ie., budgeting, credit, bank accounts, long term savings, etc.?
  2. For most Americans growing up, how open and honest was the discussion about family finance?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being “not at all”), where do most Americans rank themselves in terms of financial knowledge and confidence?

Since 1776, this country has done little to nothing to help its citizens learn about personal financial planning, and yet seems surprised when studies show that Americans are unprepared financially, savings rates are too low, debt is skyrocketing, significant risks are left unaddressed, etc.

Surprised??? Given the lack of resources, education and support, we should be surprised that anyone ever makes a good decision. And still the system doesn’t change…. sound insane?

Going forward, we will be sharing thoughts and ideas here that we hope can be a resource for you and your family, and will help you achieve the safety, security and future you want and deserve.

We all agree that Einstein was a pretty smart guy…. maybe we should start listening to him (or whoever it was that said it