Tips for those who need help

By Jeffrey Moormeier | Jun 05, 2019

It is never too late to start, either keep going, or get going.

This month's article is for those people who may have had hit a bump or two and ended up somewhere other than where they expected and they feel stuck, sidetracked or depressed.

Before I launch into my diatribe, I want to tell you a story to get your mind in a receptive place.

I picked up my phone one day in the aftermath of the year 2000 stock market crash.  It seemed like an endless flow of bad news, for two years, which included the Twin Towers being taken down on Sept. 11, 2001.

To protect her identity, I will call the voice at the end of the phone, "Peggy."

She said, "Jeff, I am calling to see how you are doing."

I was a wreck. My clients were worried, and I was freaking out almost every day.

Peggy had been a client of mine for about 10 years, and she had just successfully battled breast cancer.

Her husband was not so lucky. He died of cancer only a few years earlier.

In addition to that, she had a grandchild die of SIDS within the past year.

So when she asked me how I was doing, it came from a place of tremendous pain and compassion.

And when I answered, "Not well," I knew what I was about to hear was going to be powerful. I took a deep breath, put down my pen, stopped looking at the computer screen, and gave her every ounce of my attention. And she said in the most gentle voice, words that shook me to the core and changed my life. I have repeated these to myself many times since that day.

She said, "Jeff, there are two types of problems in the world. One kind of problem money can solve, and then there are real problems. You have the type of problem money can solve."

These words freed my mind to start moving again. And since that day I have lost both parents and two brothers.

She was so wise. If you find yourself stuck by some misfortune caused by money, remember Peggy's words. If you have real problems, I can say there is hope for that too.  Call me, and I will do my best to cheer you up.

My work is with the money problem side of things. And to that, I will address the rest of this column.

Here are some helpful things you can do to turn the tide in your favor:

 

Save 10 percent of everything you make, no matter what

This sounds so simple.

If you are in over your head, start to cut the excesses and readjust your life.  Do you need "that car" or "that vacation" or "that house"?

My wife and I have downsized twice in the last decade. We did not do it out of necessity, but once we did, our bank accounts started getting bigger faster. Live within your means.

Get super clear about what is essential and valuable. Make the main thing the main thing.  For me, that is my health, my spouse, and my family.

When I still had two teenagers at home, I found myself screaming a lot. It took virtually no money at all to stop yelling. My biggest fear is being alone, and I realized by my behavior, I was driving them away. So instead of screaming, I jumped on my bicycle and went for a bike ride.

My bike at the time was inexpensive – you can find bikes like it at garage sales for about $50. I have since upgraded.

 

Consider downsizing

I am reading an excellent book right now called "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" by Margareta Magnusson. It is a weird title, but a very healthy read.

Since I have downsized, I could relate to the many stories she tells of her experiences.  The result for me is I have fewer things to keep track of and maintain.

I was holding on to things I thought my children would enjoy. I found out they wanted very few items of mine.

Downsizing has saved me thousands of dollars, which I turn into ski trips! The greatest five words I have ever uttered, "I sold my lawnmower!" OK, four words.

 

Be a smart investor

You don't have to be an expert.

I heard Warren Buffet say, "An IQ of 120 is about all you need to become successful and rich, any IQ points above that can be given away."

The important thing is to get time working for you. And in today's low-interest rate environment, you are going to need to educate yourself to find places where you can get a decent return on your money.

When I started in 1988, Certificate of Deposit rates were over 10 percent, and money market rates were 7 percent.

Those days are long gone.

 

Know how to protect yourself from unexpected disasters

In other words, have an emergency account to take care of the small catastrophes and pawn the big catastrophes onto the insurance companies.

For example, if you have car insurance, consider a high deductible. The cost of insurance is lower, and you have the money set aside to cover the first dollars of an accident.

The higher the deductible, the cheaper the insurance.

Next month, I will continue this list of things to do if you find yourself in a place you did not expect.

A big ocean liner can be turned around when it is moving and impossible if it is stuck in the sand. Keep moving.

 

 

Jeffrey Moormeier of JG Moormeier Financial is a Mukilteo-based financial advisor affiliated with KMS Financial Services, Inc. an SEC registered investment adviser. His column does not represent the opinions of KMS, nor is it an official prediction or recommendation of any kind. The opinions expressed in this column are generalizations. For advise catered to your specific financial circumstances, contact Jeff directly at jeff@jgmoormeier.com or 425-931-8898.

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