“Experience is a funny thing. You don’t always have it when you need it.” – Patrick Chan, Olympic Figure Skater
This is the time of year when I look outside and my blood pressure goes up. My backyard has plants, trees, bushes, grass and lots and lots of dandelions all starting to grow. Luckily, this weekend we had snow and I did not have to spend time in my yard deciding what to plant, what to cut and what to pull. Don’t get me wrong – I like the greenery and watching my yard come alive in spring. What gives me a headache is that my yard needs work to look its best and I know it needs someone with a good eye to tell me what to plant where and how to make it truly beautiful.
I’ve been in my house for four years and have the same issue every spring. What do I work on next? Each year, I have done some improvements like removing dead or dying shrubs, moving sprinkler heads, filling planters and putting zucchini seeds in the ground with my children. Some of the yard looks good but a lot could look great with the right plantings in the right places. I am not a landscape architect. What I need is someone with knowledge of plants and a good eye to give me a design plan for the entire yard. What I need is someone else’s experience to guide me to making good decisions.
This year, we have hosted regular workshops on the Blueprints financial planning process for families with special needs members. The reviews we have gotten remind me that so many families need help to have a vision in place and a plan in place to achieve that vision. They need support to create stability in their financial lives and build a high quality of life for their loved one with special needs. Like my backyard, there is a collection of pieces that do not always fit together.
The more I work with families, the more I believe the best outcomes start with a strong plan. The Building Blocks of the Blueprints process start with taking time to dream about what you want for yourself and for each member of your family. The second Building Block, Starting To Design, is where you take all the hopes, dreams and ambitions and put them down in a coherent way to begin tackling the most urgent and important goals.
The dreaming part is easy. We do it every day as we drive around, wait in lines at the store or in quiet moments at home. Unfortunately, many people stop at the next step – putting those dreams into action. At this stage, families should meet with a financial planner, life coach or their advisory team. People I speak with tell me they have lots of financial products but all these products do not seem to work together. They have life insurance through their employer, a retirement plan, equity in the home and a will from 10 years ago. They do not know if these pieces will work together to provide a comfortable retirement, protect Medicaid benefits, put other children through school or leave a legacy in their communities.
My client base is incredible. They are people with all kinds of skills and backgrounds. They are professors, teachers, business owners, engineers, lawyers, doctors, truck drivers and come from just about every profession. They have skills and experience in their specialty that few can match and I rely on their experience and knowledge when I need some help.
This weekend is supposed to be nice – high 60s and slightly overcast. There’s no excuse for me and I will be out there pulling weeds, cutting grass and trimming bushes. I expect to go to the local garden center with a map of my back yard to get some good advice on how to improve it and to make it an even better place for my family to play and enjoy.
Do not go another spring without getting your financial planning together. Schedule some time to meet with the experts in law, financial planning and tax to begin building the life you want for yourself and your family. Call me today to get started.
Rob Wrubel CFP®, AIF®, is a Senior Vice President – Investments with Cascade Investment Group, member FINRA & SIPC. Rob is also a father of a daughter with Down syndrome. Cascade Investment Group is not a tax or legal advisor. You should always consult with your tax advisor or attorney before taking any actions that may have tax consequences.719-632-0818