Episode 9: A Forbidden Conversation – Money

Episode 10: Never Pay for an Airline Ticket Again
August 22, 2019
Episode 8 – Brad Allen
July 29, 2019

A Forbidden Conversation - Money

Stacy, Dave and Thom talk about Money on the Efficient Life Radio Show

Talking about money is, at best, discouraged and most often forbidden. In this episode, radio hosts Stacy Harris and Dave Nelson bravely talk to Thom about money. Together we discover that money skills are 21st century survival skills that are not often taught in homes or in school. As a result, working with an advisor, who genuinely has your best interest at heart, is the best way to learn the skills you need to make wise money decisions.



Dave: [00:00:06] You're listening to the Financial Wheel Podcast, equipping you to have the right conversations about money.

Dave: [00:00:15] In today's episode, Thom is the guest on the radio show The Efficient Life. There, he discusses the basic foundations to get to the starting point of your financial future. It's never too late. Don't miss more episodes of the Financial. Subscribe today at FinancialWheel.net.

Announcer: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Efficient Life. Focusing on family, fitness, finance and fun. Here's your hosts, Stacy Harris and Dave Nelson.

Stacy: [00:00:45] Welcome to The Efficient Life. I'm your host Stacy Harris.

Dave: [00:00:47] And I'm Dave Nelson.

Stacy: [00:00:49] Well, it's always a glory day.

Dave: [00:00:50] Always a glorious day, always state of mind or out the window.

Stacy: [00:00:53] Although the weather this month has been a little funky.

Dave: [00:00:55] Yeah, heavy and humid.

Stacy: [00:00:58] Reminds me of home, the sweatyness of Australia.

Dave: [00:01:01] I keep grabbing my fleece thinking it's going to be chilly and then I get mocked mercilessly for doing so.

Stacy: [00:01:08] Although we're glad summer's here.

Dave: [00:01:11] Indeed.

Stacy: [00:01:12] Yeah. Because before we know it.

Dave: [00:01:13] I still remember the snow. I'm thankful for summer.

Stacy: [00:01:18] Well, it's been a bit busy summer so far. I hope everyone's having a fantastic time as we come off the high of July 4th. It's been a few weeks now since July 4th. So the firecrackers are hopefully all gone.

Dave: [00:01:33] All swept up from the gutters up front.

Stacy: [00:01:35] Yeah and our neighborhood, I don't know.

Dave: [00:01:37] It's like like a war zone, we're across the county line, and people take advantage of that.

Stacy: [00:01:43] It might be it might be time to move counties.

Dave: [00:01:44] Or I'm just getting old. I don't know.

Stacy: [00:01:46] Well, it could be both.

Stacy: [00:01:47] Anyway, we have a special guest in with us today. Thom Alison. Hi, Thom.

Thom: [00:01:52] Hi.

[00:01:53] Hi. Thom is the owner of Allison Spielman Advisors Spielman, Advice. He has a financial advising firm out of Bellevue, Washington. And we're actually gonna be talking into Thom today. We'll start off with, you know, when we talk about finances like one of our EFS, right? Family, finance, fitness and fun, finance is probably one that makes people get a little squirmy in their seats.

Dave: [00:02:21] I've already checked out. I'm overwhelmed. You just said finances. I don't like I don't know what to do, so well.

Stacy: [00:02:28] And we've been fortunate enough to work with with Thom on some other projects and get some fantastic insight into the work that his and his incredible team do with their clients. And we wanted to really extend that conversation with our listeners today to be able to break down the walls when it comes to the questions to ask or consider, and really just kind of having that empathetic ear like, yeah. You know, it can be scary. But if you have the right tools and the right support around you, it actually can work in your favor for sure.

Stacy: [00:03:06] So. But what we're gonna do is take a quick break. But when we get back, we'll get it, we'll dive in with Thom.

Stacy: [00:03:12] I'm going to be taking copious notes today because whenever we get to be around Thom, I'm just like I'm just constantly writing down notes.

Thom: [00:03:21] Like, I will re-listen to it on the official after show after.

Stacy: [00:03:25] Oh, nicely done Dave ,.

Dave: [00:03:27] I listen to the audio. You can take notes.

Stacy: [00:03:30] All right. Well, with that, we're going to take a quick break. But when we come back, grab a pen and a piece and a piece of paper because you're gonna be taking notes today. All right. We'll be right back.

Stacy: [00:03:43] Welcome back to the Efficient Light. Today we're in studio with Thom Allison, of Allison Spielman Advisors. Hi Thom.

Stacy: [00:03:50] So right before the break, Dave admitted that he's probably, when we look at fight or flight, when it comes to one of the F's that we talking about, the F that we're talking about today, which is finance, you probably pick flight.

Dave: [00:04:04] Yeah. I don't want to talk about it. This is how I look at it, like.

Stacy: [00:04:07] And being on it being on an alternative talk radio show. Right? That's not right. Let's talk about it. Right.

Dave: [00:04:13] I mean, it may not be as dramatic as I'm about to say, but I got money in my pocket and my bank account. And then I also know that it seems like everybody wants my money. And I also, you know, sort of like grow up thinking I don't telling anybody how much I make or how much I owe. So right there, I'm already primed to not have a discussion about money. Right. I don't, I don't want to.

Stacy: [00:04:33] Well, and especially when you don't know. Well, could I come across this feeling that, you know, as ignorant or stupid or silly or immature when it comes to finances? And if you don't ask those questions and start having those conversations, how you ever learn. Right?

Dave: [00:04:50] Yeah. And that's the key is to have the conversation.

Thom: [00:04:52] So, I mean, to start with, I want to assure you that when it comes to money, you two are normal.

Thom: [00:05:02] I mean, that's success, failure.

Thom: [00:05:04] Yeah, it's a very common thing. People don't talk about money. They're taught not to talk about money. Yeah. One of the things that we do with our clients when we're first starting with them is we ask them, what did you learn from your parents about money? And the first reaction is nothing. You know, because they never talked about it. In reality, they learned a lot when they start thinking about it, but they learn it through observation, not through discussion. Right. So people just don't talk about money. So. So. And the result of that is that you're never taught. And if you're not taught about money and how to use money, naturally, you're going to be ignorant about it. And the thing about being adults is we all feel stupid when we're ignorant and we don't want to admit it. So, I mean, the nice thing would be if I could talk you into bringing your young kids in and I'd talk to them about money and then you could just kind of listen over their shoulder.

Thom: [00:06:03] All I'd like. Yeah, yeah. I've known that. I've known that all along. You know, I'm glad that you're telling them because they wouldn't listen to me.

Thom: [00:06:09] I think that's that would be the ideal. But of course, that's not going to.

Dave: [00:06:12] I think you're onto something.

Stacy: [00:06:14] Yes. Yeah, well, I'm one of the things that we often hear, especially with our recently graduated high school student and current high school student is, I don't, they don't teach us this stuff in school. They don't teach us the life lessons of money in school. You let you learn all this kind of stuff. But there's so many life skills that aren't taught in schools as a part of the education curriculum. And so it's up to, it's obviously up to parents and as it should be, as a part of that, you know, teaching structure. But at the same time, if the parents are uneducated, then you're just kind of passing it on.

Thom: [00:06:52] You just pass it on. Yeah. You know, no this is not taught in school, and I just use myself as an example. I've got a master's degree in finance. When I graduated, I had the background in the basics so that I could put together a capital budget for a corporation. I could evaluate it based on rate of return. I could evaluate it based on a break, even analysis. I knew about the capital markets, but not necessarily from the standpoint of an investor. I knew how to tap into those capital markets if I was a corporation trying to raise capital for my business. So I knew how to use stocks and how to use warrants and rights and that sort of thing. But what I didn't know when I got out of my master's degree program, was how to balance my checkbook.

Stacy: [00:07:42] Right? Right.

Thom: [00:07:44] I didn't know how to manage my own personal debt. I didn't know how to create an effective savings strategy. These basic things. I didn't know how to evaluate the risk to my financial well-being. So when it came to buying property and casualty insurance, I was renting at the time. So I needed renter's insurance. How much did I need? How much did the agent tell me I needed? Yeah, that was it. I was totally at the mercy of the people who were selling this to me. I had no way of really evaluating for myself. You know how much I needed. And so you know that's just not taught. Now, fortunately, I've learned that, you know, I'm a certified financial planner and that program does a great job of teaching you that type of thing. But unless you're going to go through and become a certified financial planner, where you're going to get this right.

Thom: [00:08:35] That's the question. And and it's really important, their money skills. So a colleague of mine who was a thought leader in our industry and who unfortunately passed away a couple years ago, but he was always fond of saying that money skills or 21st century survival skills. And I think that's absolutely true. If you think about it, in the past, people knew how to build their own houses. They knew how to find water underground and dig a well to access it. They knew how to bring a tree down and then figure out how to divide that tree up efficiently so that they would have lumber for building and wood to make furniture and wood for fuel as well. If we had to do that today, most of us would be in big trouble. We rely on money in order to do that. Now people have relied on money for their survival for a long, long time, but it's much more complicated than it was before. As I shared this with you before we came on the air, I'll share it again. When I bought my first house, for example, I had a couple of choices to make when it came to getting a mortgage. The first choice was do I get a 30 year mortgage from the bank or a 30 year mortgage from a savings and loan? And at the time, mortgages from banks was sort of a secondary thing. Savings and loan was the primary, that was their business providing mortgages. So the answer was you go to a savings and loan. So that brought my second choice in, which savings and loan do I go to? And that was it. Those.

Dave: [00:10:04] Well, that was your entire decision tree from your first house.

Thom: [00:10:08] For getting that first mortgage. Yeah, but I compare that today. I mean, just start with should I have a 30 year mortgage or a 15 year mortgage? Then should I have a fixed rate mortgage or a variable rate mortgage? If I have a variable rate mortgage, should it be tied to labor? Or should it be tied to the U.S. prime rate?

Dave: [00:10:27] I'm checked out.

Thom: [00:10:29] Yeah, I could I could go on.

Stacy: [00:10:31] Yeah, he has figuratively flown out of the studio, like this is where flight kicks in. Yeah. He's not gonna fight it, he's just gonna flight it. Yeah.

Dave: [00:10:39] Yeah. Exactly.

Thom: [00:10:40] And personal debt management is the same sort of thing. You know, I wasn't able to get a credit card until I was out of college and had a job, and then I had a 300 dollar credit limit. You can't get too much trouble with 300. Even in the 70's, you couldn't get in too much trouble with a 300 dollar credit limit. You know, today, if you can prove that you've taken a breath sometime in the last five minutes, you have the privilege of going several thousand dollars in your debt.

Stacy: [00:11:05] Right. And if you don't know how to manage your money, that can easily slip. And you're forever trying to dig yourself out of that. Yeah.

Thom: [00:11:13] Yeah. Exactly. So. So it's much more complicated. So we really need to learn these basic financial money skills. Which I actually sort of put into two major categories for essential skills that people have to have. So there's fundamental skills and basic skills, and fundamental skills, it's going to surprise a lot of people because it doesn't sound like it has a lot to do with money, but it really does for fundamental skills are organizational skills, decision making skills, and behavioral management skills.

Stacy: [00:11:50] See, this is interesting stuff because when you think about money, you don't think of those three things. Am I organized? What's my behavior that's associated with that? What was the third?

Thom: [00:12:00] How do I make decisions?

Stacy: [00:12:01] Yeah, decision making. Because if you're under duress, you're going to, especially when it comes to money, you're gonna be making some decisions that maybe aren't going to be beneficial for you in the long term.

Thom: [00:12:11] Exactly.

Stacy: [00:12:12] Thom. Are you sure you didn't go to school for psychology as well? But to that though, psychology plays a very big part in people's financial skills and management.

Thom: [00:12:24] It does.

Thom: [00:12:25] Yeah, it really does. Yeah. And you know, I mean, one of the things you want to discover too is how do you talk to yourself about money? So, you know, and that comes back to what did you learned as a kid. So was money in your household used to show love, for example, in which case you might have the script running into your head that if I want to attract somebody, I should spend money to get them. You know, was money used to control behavior as a punishment.

Stacy: [00:12:53] As a punishment, yeah.

Thom: [00:12:54] So I'm going to withdraw.

Stacy: [00:12:55] Right.

Thom: [00:12:55] And that's sort of in your head.

Stacy: [00:12:57] Sure.

Thom: [00:12:58] You know, was money considered dirty? Rich people are evil. And so, you know, if you happen to make a lot of money, you don't feel good about yourself. I must be a bad person because I'm getting paid a lot. You know, not all those are not constructive.

Stacy: [00:13:14] Right? Right.

Thom: [00:13:15] So you're going to have to be aware of that and bring that to the surface. And the nice thing about these types of money scripts is that if it's not serving you, you can change it.

Stacy: [00:13:24] Oh, I like that. That it's not, it's not set for life. You can change that. Yeah. But that's where it's working with the team at Allison Spielman Advisors, really comes into play because what, so Dave and I are we have an appointment scheduled with the team.

Thom: [00:13:41] Looking forward to that.

Stacy: [00:13:42] At Allison Spielman, because, you know, we think we're okay, but we want to be better. And when we think about it, and we're both bringing childhood experiences to the table. Right. And what but we're also in a position where we want to be able to teach our kids healthy money skills and to be able to say, hey, if we can get you 20 years ahead of us, you know, you're gonna be in such a better space than we are. So we're really looking forward to it. I think we're both a little like, oh, my gosh, look, it's gonna be great. It's gonna be great. But it really comes down to, you know, it takes a village, in the USA. It takes a village to raise kids. It takes a village to kind of get through life in general. And part of, you know, if money, if you don't feel good about where you are from a money perspective, whether it be emotional or the state of your finances, not, you know, you don't have to go at it alone. You don't have to stand on an island all by yourself. You can and should actually start having conversations with professionals and interviewing them. Right. Because you just don't want to throw a dart at the dart board, of you know, Google keyword searches to see, you know, who pops up first. But how, you know, surrounding yourself with the professionals that are in this day in, day out. Right, is, I think, the most efficient, as we talk about the efficient life, there's a sufficient way to go about that. But being educated yourself, so you're not just handing it over and say you take care of it either, right?

Thom: [00:15:18] No, you don't want to, you want to just hand it over. Yeah. You know, somebody asked me to do that, I kind of reel them and pull back. And, you know, that's that's not what this is about. This is about teaching you to do it the right way.

Stacy: [00:15:31] Right.

Thom: [00:15:33] Yeah. I hate, I don't want to use the word coach, but it often times sounds an awful lot like that. You know, I've I've shared this story before, of the time, and it was there actually the 1999 PGA tournament, that was played out at Sahalee. And on Monday, a friend of mine had tickets for the practice round, so we went out there and shortly after lunch, we were standing around the ninth green when Tiger Woods came up and threw 10 golf balls into the sand trap, hit five of them out. Beautiful shots and then turned around, and started talking to this guy who was watching him and observing him. It was obviously a coach and adviser, someone who could stand back and see things that Tiger couldn't see in himself and just sort of fine tuned a little bit of what he was doing. And then he went in and hit the next five shots, even better than the first five, which I didn't even think was possible.

Dave: [00:16:26] This is during Peak Tiger.

Thom: [00:16:28] Yeah. So this was. Yeah, this was in 1999 when, and that's what dawned on me that I'm standing here watching a man who at the time was the absolute best in the world at what he did. And he was dependent upon somebody who cared about his success, genuinely cared about his success, to watch him, to make observations, to make subtle little adjustments that made a world of difference in how he performed.

Dave: [00:16:53] Even for the best player,.

Thom: [00:16:55] Even for the best players. And and so that same concept takes place when you're thinking about managing your money, can you do it yourself? Sure, you can do it yourself. But there's things that you don't see that somebody from the outside can see.

Dave: [00:17:09] When you're in it, right in the middle of it.

Thom: [00:17:10] When you're right in the middle of it, and they can make adjustments. So, yes, you want to find an adviser, but you want to find one who is genuinely interested in your well-being.

Stacy: [00:17:21] Well, I love the analogy of being in a sand trap, too, right. Because well, he proactively threw the balls in there to be able to get them out, but he needed to know how to get out of it because there was gonna be a time in the future that the ball was going to go into the sand trap.

Dave: [00:17:35] At a time when it counted.

Stacy: [00:17:37] Right. Yeah. And it was important for him to be able to know the right swing, the right velocity, to be able to hit the ball, to get out of that position and to be able to have someone on the sidelines going, I have your best interest at you know, we're gonna do this together and we're going to get you out of the sand trap. I'm going to help you get there. That's awesome.

Thom: [00:17:57] And that's what our role is at Allison Spielman Advisors when working with our clients. We're not there to do it for you. We're there to watch you. To guide you. To give you some direction. To sit down and say, you know, this might work a little better if you made this change, if you got control of your cash flow management. And here's some tools to do it and we're gonna help you to use those tools and use them effectively. Part of that comes just from the fact that we've done it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. And so, you know, we've we kind of know how we know where the shortcuts are. We can, so we can save you. As you said with your kids, we get you 20 years ahead.

Stacy: [00:18:40] Yeah..... so the other thing, too, is we're talking about, I've always had the perception that you go and see a financial adviser or a financial planner once you've got the money and then you just gotta figure out what you want to do with it. But in actual fact, starting before then, is just as beneficial, if not more so, because if you're carrying debt, you can figure out a way not only to get out of that, but then to you be able to use debt to your advantage as well. You've talked about previously in previous conversations that we've had about managing debt to work for you, which is a really kind of hard concept to get a lot of, you know, a lot of people for them to get their head around because how do you leverage debt? Right. And so and we're not going to we'll probably have to come back and talk about like debt management, you know, in a separate show. But, you know, talking about how do you start those conversations? But when do you start those conversations as well? Do you start at once? You've got it. Do you can you only stop these conversations when you've got a few hundred thousand dollars cash in the bank? Or do you, can you start the conversation now when you feel like you might be in the hole? Right.

Thom: [00:19:51] I think you're better off starting right now. Yeah. You know, whether you're in the hole or whether you're just at zero.

Stacy: [00:19:55] Yeah, right.

Thom: [00:19:56] You know, anywhere because you know, you're going to form habits. And I go back to a golf analogy too. It's probably easier for somebody who's never picked up a golf club to learn the game with a professional standing at their side than it is with somebody who has been playing for a long time and has to undo or redo it.

Stacy: [00:20:17] Right.

Thom: [00:20:18] And it's the same thing with your finances that, you know, there's there's probably some undoing that has to be done.

Stacy: [00:20:23] Sure.

Thom: [00:20:24] And some habits. And that's that could be a little bit trickier. So it's good to start it sooner rather than later.

Stacy: [00:20:30] Well, and to that, though, you know, Dave and I now, I think we refer to it outside our fourth decade, of life. And so when is a good time to start to talk to a financial adviser or a planner?

Thom: [00:20:45] So, yeah, it's interesting that we have some kids of some of our clients, one gal in particular who we started talking to her as she was entering her last semester in college. And so now she's just got her first job out of college. And so that's when we start with them. Yeah. My niece actually just got her first real job. And that's the first thing I did. Okay, we're gonna sit down once a week and we're gonna talk about how are you going to manage this paycheck that you've got coming in, that you've you've never had a paycheck like this on a regular basis before. Because that's the time that you develop the habits. And it's a lot easier to do it at that point.

Stacy: [00:21:27] Right. So if you're in your fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh decade.

Dave: [00:21:30] Is it too late?

Stacy: [00:21:32] Yeah.

Thom: [00:21:33] Never lose hope.

Thom: [00:21:37] And there's no reason that, you know, it's not too late. Not by a long shot. It's not too late.

Stacy: [00:21:43] So, Allison Spielman Advisors, are more than happy to work with anyone regardless of what stage of life they're in.

Thom: [00:21:49] Exactly.

Stacy: [00:21:50] Yeah.

Thom: [00:21:50] Exactly, yeah. And the reason is that what we want to do is financial planning first and foremost. We do manage investment portfolios. It's kind of an oh by the way, we manage investment portfolios. I think we do it very well, but it's not the primary focus. And it shouldn't be your primary focus because the reality is that getting an extra 1 or 2 percent return on your investment portfolio is going to make a minimal difference in your financial well-being over your lifetime. Managing your cash flow correctly, understanding how if you make an adjustment, say, in your risk management, it filters all the way through on everything else that you do and how to manage that is going to make a difference. Developing proper savings programs and what I mean by that is having a short term savings program sort of a mid-term and a long term, because those are all managed differently and knowing how to do that. All of those things, knowing how to manage your debt, getting your estate plan set up properly, thinking about generosity planning, and how do you do that effectively? All of those things have a much, much bigger difference in your financial well-being. And the interesting thing about it is that when you look at all of the different things that you want to kind of look at and manage with your finances, you have absolutely 100 percent control over all of those with two exceptions. The one exception is taxes, okay. You don't control how much tax you're obligated to pay. You can manage it, but you can't control it. And the other one is your investment portfolio. You have no control whether markets go up or down. But you can manage it, and you can manage the amount of risk that you're going to take. So those two you can manage, everything else you have complete control over. So what we tell people is focus on what you can control, and let's manage what we can manage.

Stacy: [00:23:50] Well, and that's that kind of, just even taking a deeper breath, right. In hearing you say that is why worry about things that you can't control. Right. But get more educated about them so you can have them work for you, versus you having to work so hard to try and change something that you have zero chance of actually changing.

Thom: [00:24:08] Right.

Stacy: [00:24:08] So I love that. In the last few minutes, Thom, I'd love to talk about some of the offerings that your team provides. In addition to the direct consultation and working directly with your clients. But you've got some learning labs that you do in the area that we've actually had the privilege of attending and again, taking copious notes. I've done probably more handwriting in the last six months working with Thom, you know, that I've probably done in the last three years.

Stacy: [00:24:41] But there is an opportunity for people to be able to just get extra nuggets of information as they start shopping around for advisement, or planning resources and stuff like that. So where can folks find out more about those learning labs?

Thom: [00:24:58] Okay. Yeah, let me just mention that I am a teacher at heart. That's what I, and I love to educate people. And so our whole firm is based around that idea that we want to educate people. And so it starts with our learning labs, and you can go to our website. It's AlisonSpielman.com and Spielman, is s p i e l m a n. Alison Spielman.com. And there's a section in there called Continuous Learning, and there's where you can learn about our learning labs and upcoming ones and how to register for those.

Stacy: [00:25:32] Awesome.

Thom: [00:25:32] The other thing that we've started doing is a podcast now called the Financial Wheel. And the purpose of that podcast is to equip people to have the right types of conversations about money. So whether they're having that conversation with an advisor that they're working with, or with their spouse, or their parents, or a mentor, that they know the types of conversations they should be having to help them to manage their finances better. So we're doing that. So that's the Financial Wheel Podcast. You can learn about that. You can go to our website for that. It's FinancialWheel.net. So if you go to FinancialWheel.net, that will take you into a page where you can listen to the podcast, you can download resources that we mentioned in there. And then there's also a section in there called Test the Waters. And there you can go in and you can fill out just a couple of surveys that we start every one of our client relationships with. One is a transition survey so that you can makes you aware of the transitions that are going to take place in your life. Now, in the short term and in the long term, and those all have a financial impact. And then the others are financial satisfaction survey, which among other things asks you, how do you feel about how you emotionally respond to money.

Stacy: [00:26:52] Interesting?

Thom: [00:26:56] And then if you send those into us, we'll respond by giving you resources that also help you. Think about that.

Stacy: [00:27:01] That's awesome. Well, and we'll have links to the websites that Thom just mentioned at the Efficient Life Show. Thom, we love these conversations. I don't know that I would ever have said that in my life, like the things you think you'd never say out loud. But I love talking about finances, because you and your team make it easy, right? And it's comfortable and it's approachable. And that's, I think, the first barrier that people feel like they need to get that get over in order to be able to start this conversation. So thank you so much, Thom, for coming in today. We really appreciate it. We'd love to have you back. So we'll be tapping you for another another episode, if that's okay.

Thom: [00:27:35] Well, thank you for inviting me. And yes, I'd very much so. Enjoy coming.

Stacy: [00:27:38] Awesome. And I love the fact that Dave is still sitting here.

Dave: [00:27:40] All right.

Stacy: [00:27:41] So check out more about Tom and his team at Allison Spielman Advisors at the Efficient Life Show. And we will catch you next Tuesday at 4:00. All right. See you later. Have a great week.

Dave: [00:27:59] (Music)Thanks for listening to the Financial Wheel Podcast. If you like what you're hearing, I want to find out more. Go to FinancialWheel.net net for more resources, financial surveys and transcripts of this and other episodes.

Dave: [00:28:23] Make sure you subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast app. Be sure to rate review and share with a friend. It helps others discover the Financial Wheel Podcast.. And as always, keep your conversations constructive and supportive.


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Want to test the financial planning water? Click on the links below and spend no more than 5 minutes completing the two surveys. When you send them in, we'll respond with information and resources to help you think through the issues and transitions you've identified.

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    Dave Nelson and Stacy Harris are thinking it may be time to sit down with a financial advisor. They think the time is right but they're not sure. They don't know what to expect when they meet with the advisor and they are more than a little nervous about opening up their financial lives. Listen in as Thom addresses their questions and assures them that their pre-meeting jitters are much scarier than the actual meeting will be.
  • Gaining Control of Your Cash Flow
    A Key 21st Century Survival Skill - Cash Flow Management
    If you are like most people, you failed when you tried to track your expenses to gain control of your cash flow. Not surprising - it’s a pain to do and it really just tells you where your money went. What you need is a system that helps you plan where you are going to spend the money you have right now. My guest, Doug Peterson, will tell about just such a system and give you some great ideas to help you get started.
  • Never Pay for an Airline Ticket Again
    Effective Strategies to Maximize Your Airline Miles
    Would you like to fly to Europe or Asia on business class for free. It’s easier to do than you might think. In this episode, my guests, Michael Kauffman and Kyle Romesco-Kelly share some of the ways they have been flying both domestically and internationally for years without paying a penny for a ticket. You will learn some simple ways to quickly build up your travel points and ways to effectively use those points.
  • When it comes to life insurance products, what you don’t know can hurt you. So, don’t avoid this episode just because it is about insurance. My guest, Brad Allen, CFP, shares straight-forward information that will help you decided how much life insurance you should have and what type of life insurance policy will work best for you.
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      Financial Satisfaction Survey


      Directions: The statements below will help you to think about and assess how satisfied you are with many aspects of your financial life. Indicate your level of satisfaction for each statement with stars.
      (1 star = "Not Satisfied", 3 stars = "Moderately Satisfied", 5 stars = "Very Satisfied")

      I am satisfied with...

      1. ...with my ability to meet my financial obligations

      2. ...with the income my current job or career provides me.

      3. ...with my spending habits.

      4. ...with the level of debt I carry.

      5. ...with the “extras” that I am able to buy for myself and/or loved ones.

      6. ...with the level and quality of insurance protection I currently have.

      7. ...with the amount of money that I save and invest on a regular basis.

      8. ...with my current investment choices.

      9. ...that I am on track to build a sufficient retirement nest egg.

      10. ...with the level of employee benefits I receive.

      11. ...with my style of personal bookkeeping and financial record management.

      12. ...with my ability to provide financial help to family members.

      13. ...with my estate plan.

      14. ...with my level of charitable giving.

      15. ...with the level of financial education I have attained.

      16. ...with how I respond emotionally to my personal finance issues.

      17. ...with my ability to communicate about my financial matters.

      18. ...with the feelings I have about my money life.

      19. ...that financial issues do not cause stress or strain in the relationships that are important to me.

      20. ...with the working relationships I have with my financial service providers (i.e., insurance agent, banker, broker, financial planner, accountant).

      © 2002 - 2018 Money Quotient, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This document is available via licensing arrangements with Money Quotient and is protected by federal copyright law. No unauthorized copying, adaptation, distribution, or display is permitted - moneyquotient.org.

      Life Transition Survey


      Directions: In each section, select the transitions that you are currently experiencing and those you are likely to experience in the future. In addition, check transitions in the short to mid-term and long-term columns that you either hope to experience or anticipate with concern.

      Work Life Transitions

      1. Change in career path:

      2. New Job:

      3. Promotion

      4. Job loss

      5. Job restructure

      6. Education / retraining

      7. Sell or close business

      8. Transfer family business

      9. Gain a business partner:

      10. Lose a business partner:

      11. Downshift / simplify work life

      12. Sabbatical / leave of absence

      13. Start or purchase a business

      14. Retire:

      15. Phase into retirement

      16. Other

      Financial Life Transitions

      1. Purchase a home:

      2. Sell a home:

      3. Relocate:

      4. Purchase a vacation home / timeshare:

      5. Re-evaluate investment philosophy:

      6. Experience investment gain:

      7. Experience investment loss:

      8. Debt concerns:

      9. Consider investment opportunity:

      10. Receive inheritance or financial windfall:

      11. Sell assets:

      12. Other:

      Family Life Transitions

      1. Change in marital status (marriage):

      2. Change in marital status (divorce):

      3. Change in marital status (widowhood):

      4. Expecting or adopting a child:

      5. Hire child care:

      6. Child entering adolescence:

      7. Child with special needs:

      8. Child w/pre-college expenses:

      9. Child going to college:

      10. Child getting married:

      11. Empty nest:

      12. Family special event (Bat/Bar Mitzvah, anniversary party, trip):

      13. Helping and/or gifting grandchildren

      14. Concern about aging parent

      15. Concern about health of spouse/partner or child:

      Legacy Life Transitions

      1. Increase charitable giving:

      2. Give special financial gifts to children/grandchildren:

      3. Give parental pension (monthly stipend):

      © 2002 - 2018 Money Quotient, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This document is available via licensing arrangements with Money Quotient and is protected by federal copyright law. No unauthorized copying, adaptation, distribution, or display is permitted - moneyquotient.org.