It’s the New Year, time to turn the page on another set of resolutions. It seems to me that every New Year should not be about the resolutions, but how long we stayed at the resolutions. I would guess as a society that the time we stay with those resolutions gets shorter with each passing year.
This top New Year’s resolutions for 2020, according to Statista, look almost the same as last years. Or are they last years?
What is interesting is the frequency of searches on Google for many of these resolutions. Can you see a pattern?
These searches definitely do not persist. I think we can all agree on that!
It appears the majority of U.S. Adults according to this research want to manage their finances better, but you also noticed it was not one of the top Google search results!
Why is it this one resolution seems to be at or near the top year after year? I would suggest it is because we Americans fail to power through and get things done (on average).
Here is a great example. My twenty-year-old daughter is home from college for winter break. She leaves to study abroad in Italy in one week. She is nervous she is not prepared, and she has good reason to be nervous.
Instead of powering through and getting better prepared, she keeps putting off the things she knows she must do for that trip, while instead spending time watching YouTube videos and shopping for things, she does not really need nor want.
Now there is nothing wrong with the latter, but when the trip of a lifetime is fast approaching, and you have yet to figure out how your budget or even if you have enough money for the trip, there is a problem. She has no checklist of those items that you still need to be done and a date that each item needs to be accomplished. She is an organizational mess!
Thankfully, her dear old dad sat down with her and help her with her budget. I also had to help her develop that to do list with definitive due dates. Now on a daily basis, her mother and I must remind her to keep at it or she inevitably drift back into her bad habits.
This is not uncommon behavior in my experience. In fact, this is something we see everyday at InTrust Advisors with our family office clients. I am not sure everyone is wired to power through. Many cannot get out of their own way, as is the case with my youngest daughter.
In the case of our clients, we facilitate, so they can get financial things done. It is what we do and strangely one of the reasons we get paid.
So, being it’s a new year and this is essentially what we do, I thought it the perfect time to give you my seven ways to power through and get things done.
1. Make a list and prioritize
This is a common recommendation that really does work. It’s essentially a “to do” list sorted by priorities, with a target completion date and an assignee.
You can use a yellow pad or an online tool like Asana but getting organized is the first step to financial freedom. Brainstorm everything you need to do (example, hire an advisor) and then arrange them in the logical order they need to be completed. Add accountability by assigning the work to a specific spouse or person with a very specific target due date.
A key to getting more done is delegating. Our clients essentially delegate these tasks to us because (1) they can afford too, (2) they would rather spend their time elsewhere, and (3) it is not their gifting, but it is ours.
I myself then delegate to our virtual staff to get more done. As a recovering one-man band and “getter done machine,” this is not an easily learned behavior, but with the right team you can accomplish more in a shorter period!
3. Set Aside Time
Of course, a brilliantly constructed to do list and no time to accomplish those items is a big problem. Only bite off what you reasonably believe you can accomplish. If you need help, see number 2 above or shrink your list.
4. No pain, no gain
Anything worth doing is worth doing right and sometimes it involves pain. I spent a good part of the holidays fixing the work of a former assistant and a larger financial services provider who both failed to do the work properly.
Yes, it was unpleasant. However, when these financials are cleaner come summer and my team and I are wrestling with tax reconciliations and looming tax deadlines for supplying this information to our cadre of CPAs, it will be time well spent!
5. Focus on the positive outcome
Attitude is everything. If you focus on the benefits of the positive outcome, it makes the work and the pain of pushing through worth the work.
In the example above of fixing company financials for a client, the benefits I focused on were accurate financials for the client, better decision making, a smoother summer and the ability to take some time off this summer to go visit our oldest daughter in Boston, who is a first-year law student at BU. I don’t want to be frantically trying to fix these financials (which were a mess) with a looming deadline and an inability to take some time off come summer, so I sacrificed some time now for the positive outcome or reward later.
6. Celebrate the completion
Here is one they teach you in sales school, celebrate the victories. You finish having your attorney revise your revocable trusts and sign the revised paperwork, now it is time to celebrate!
Whether that means it’s Miller Time or just that it earned you some “me time,” you must celebrate the wins!
7. Rinse and Repeat
The final step is exactly what you read on the back of your favorite shampoo bottle:” rinse and repeat.” In other words, regain your strength and tackle the next item on the list.
Accomplishing great things is about taking a series of small steps over time and with regularity! That is why so many New Year’s resolutions fail, the steps are too large, and the regularity becomes too difficult to maintain. Don’t fall into this trap!
I hope this list of seven ways to power through and get things done has been helpful.
If you have other suggestions or ideas, let us know in the comment section below or on our blog.
If you have read my posts or received our emails, you know that I am not always the most bullish person on the markets. I know, you are probably saying “Nah, never noticed” with extreme sarcasm.
When I look at the markets, I see a magnificent way to achieve long-term goals, but I also see a lot of issues that we need to work through not the least of which involve bulging Federal Deficits, declining GDP growth, an aging population and more. I could go on and on.
However, they say, “the market climbs a wall of worry” and I think I can safely say that to be true. For whatever issues I see in the markets, they have generally continued higher and have confounded the most skeptical of us.
So, in an attempt to present an unbiased look at the markets, I would like to present the bull case for the next decade or so.
This all starts with a very long-term view of the markets.
What we have above is a 100-year chart of the S&P 500 index.
What you will notice is there are periods where the markets essentially move sideways (in red). We call these secular bear markets. These periods are usually volatile, and the market makes little or no headway over a 5 to 25-year time frame.
We also have periods where the markets advance for years on end. We call these secular bull markets. The last full secular bull phase was 1980 to 2000 or twenty years.
Within each secular bull and/or bear market cycle are a number of cyclical bull and bear markets or cycles within cycles.
The cyclical bear markets tend to be much more volatile and the corrections deeper within the secular bear phases than they do in the secular bull phases. The bull cycles in secular bear markets typically are advances back to the top of a range. In the secular bull cycle, they are advances to new highs.
Notice how the markets move up and pull back in these secular bull markets but the trend clearly remains up. In fact, the cyclical bear markets look insignificant when you look at a 100-year chart. If you looked at the 1980 – 2000 secular bull phase, you would hardly know that that period included the Crash of October 1987, the mini crash in October 1989, the 1990 recession and 1998 Russian Financial Crisis just to name a few.
Now look at the last red box on this chart. Notice how we appeared to exit the latest secular bear market in 2013. That is very constructive for stocks!
That is not to say that a recession will not occur in 2020 but if we are indeed in a secular bull phase, that market correction could be much less severe and/or much shorter in duration.
Now the caution, this all looks very bullish, but what happens if we back out the effect of ten years of Central Bank intervention through money printing and asset purchases. It is impossible to quantify this effect, but it is possible this bullish 100-year chart has been distorted by the aforementioned intervention.
However, it is also possible this is just another example of the markets climbing that wall of worry and an excellent chance for investors to capture higher returns for many years to come.
Let us know what you think?
Not according to well known author Robert Kiyosaki. The best-selling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and many other books makes the case that an asset is anything that brings in cash flow. He defines a liability as anything that sends cash flow out
If you think about your home, cash flow goes out doesn’t it? You pay insurance, property taxes, repairs and maintenance costs, mortgage interest and principal, alarm monitoring fees and more.
So therefore, under Robert Kiyosaki’s definition of assets and liabilities, your home is a liability.
I know that is hard to get your mind around. However, I also know I pay a lot of expenses on our home and receive no cash flow in. On the other hand, I oversee a rental property for my in-laws and every month they have cash flow that is paid to them on the rental of their home that is well in excess of such costs.
Now I know you may be thinking, what if I factor in the appreciation on my home?
I would counter right off the bat that appreciation is not cash flow, but obviously some of that appreciation could be monetized with a home equity line on the property. That aside, what if we factor in appreciation? Does it offset the costs of ownership?
I will use my home as an example since I am not sure how else to answer this question. We bought our home in 1994 and have lived in it now 25 years. Yikes!
We purchased the home for $130,000. Today our 1700 square foot home is worth roughly $500,000 after expected 6% realtor fees if we were to sell.
The net sale value of $500,000 minus our cost basis of $130,000 equals a potential net profit of $370,000. $370,000 divided by the 25 years we have lived in the home equals $14,800 in appreciation per year.
Our annual costs on the home include:
Does the appreciation change anything?
As you can see, we may have proved Mr. Kiyosaki wrong if we factor in appreciation.
However, you might have noticed that there was no mortgage interest or principal repayment costs in our home costs as our home is paid off.
What if that home was not paid off as is the case with so many homeowners? What if we had a loan for 60% of the value of the home? Further let’s assume that we have a fixed rate mortgage for the sake of simplicity at 3%, which I believe is an excellent long-term rate. Using a mortgage calculator and a 30-year mortgage term our monthly payment is as follows:
Oh no, that cash flow is now negative. Maybe Robert Kiyosaki is right!
So, what should be the take away from this?
A final comment, you must live somewhere obviously, and I am not suggesting you live in a cardboard box on the side of the road. There is a cost to any place you might live whether you own or rent. However, what I think this exercise has proven is that maybe its to your advantage to keep that cost as low as possible?
As a wealth building strategy, I may even go as far as suggesting you rent where you live, and you own where you rent. Think about it! You rent your personal residence so you can buy properties that you rent to others who cover all the costs of that home and then some and provide you a positive cash flow. If you then own enough assets, your cost of the liabilities is eventually covered by that positive cash flow.
This sounds simple doesn’t it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.