With Labor Day weekend and the summer winding down, any will be returning home from time away from their city, home, job etc and settling back into their “real life.” Coming back from having been away is often painful (depending on where you were). An old boss of mine used to say that vacation is a cruel trick management plays on workers to give them a small taste of freedom. Time away does something else though. It provides a great opportunity to pull back from the manic pace we all seem to keep and view our day-to-day through a fresh set of eyes. What did you miss while you were away? What did you dread coming back to? Recording these observations allows us to analyze what changes we can make to spend more time doing the things we missed and less time on those we dreaded returning to – ultimately getting more out of life.
When you were completely in charge of your schedule, how did you most enjoy spending your time? If it was spending more time with your children, what changes can be made to facilitate more time with them at home? Is cutting back to working just 40 hours per week feasible? How about going part-time? Can the family maybe get by on one income until the kids reach a certain age?
In terms of activities, how feasible is it to integrate those same activities you enjoyed on vacation into your daily routine? Squeezing a run into your mornings at home is something that most of us can accomplish to improve our health, but if you are from Ohio and enjoyed surfing in the morning and surf fishing at night while on vacation, that is going to be a bit more difficult. Does moving make sense? While moving to the vacation spot of choice is impractical for most, a change in geography for improvement in quality of life, job opportunity, to be closer to family or whatever your values dictate can be one of the most rewarding changes we can make.
Many times with this new found clarity we can implement small changes that greatly add to the quality of our lives on our own. However, when contemplating more significant changes, it is prudent to seek advice in order to leverage the experience of those we trust, make good decisions and ensure we remain on track to accomplish the objectives we set. Family and trusted friends are good sources of advice, but one source many don’t adequately take advantage of is their Financial Planner. Financial Planners (those who actually do planning – not just manage assets) are great at assisting their clients in successfully facilitating change in their lives. If they are doing planning right, they are in the unique position of having a complete view of your financial picture, an understanding of your goals and values and know you well enough to help get the important things in your life done. Case in point, this year I will have helped one client family maximize a move across town by getting the most out of the sale of their current home and the best deal, financing and insurance on their new purchase. Later this year I will help another family move across the country aiding them with things like maximizing the transactions on their sale and purchase of homes, getting them a good referral to have their estate plans updated in their new state and helping them rework their cash flow situation as they transition to a single income family after the birth of their second child.
So, take advantage of the clarity provided as you return to “real life” making the small (or significant) changes that will improve your life. If you have a Financial Planner, make sure to leverage their expertise to ensure the best outcome with the big ones. If you don’t have a Financial Planner, give us a holler. Helping clients live their best life is why we do this.