May 18

Coffee with Mike – Developing a Financial Action Plan

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In order to know that you are doing the right things and have confidence in that, which is everything, you have to be clear on your values. Even if you don’t do what everyone else is doing or saying, the fact that you hear people talking or suggesting things makes you feel like you should be doing that, too. 

So, to give you an example, I had someone call me and they said, “I feel really guilty that I’m not saving money for my child’s 529 plan. But I’ve recently given up a job to homeschool my children, and at the same time my husband gave up his job to take on a federal position where he gets paid a lot less, and so we have a lot less in the house. My kids keep getting older, the money hasn’t gotten back to where we thought it would be, and I feel guilty that we have short-changed my children because I’m not putting money away into the 529 plan.” So we talked about that. I said, “Why do you feel like you have to put money into a 529 plan?” “Well, everyone tells me I do. I look, everywhere I go when we talk about children’s education, everyone’s telling me I have to save enough money for them to go to college, and I don’t feel like we’re really doing that.” So I said, “Why is it you gave up your positions? Why is it you felt it was important for you to not work anymore and not have that money that you could put into the 529 plan? What did you hope to accomplish by homeschooling your children?” 

In the end, what she said was that she felt her being available to her children during the day to homeschool them. It gave them a better opportunity to learn what she felt they needed to learn, to be more well-rounded person, to be able to experience things that they would not be able to experience in school with certain side trips and things that she would show them, and that in the end they would have a better education, and therefore, as we talked about it, they would have better scores on their ACTs and SATs. They would get better grades, and they would have better opportunities to get scholarships. 

When I asked her what did she gave up, in terms of money, she said it was well into the six figures. So she gave up a six-figure income to homeschool her child, and we’re talking about making a $12,000-$13,000 contributions to a 529 plan. So I just said to her, “Aren’t you already contributing that just by staying home? Aren’t you contributing, I mean, hundreds of thousands of dollars just to stay home? Isn’t that your 529 plan? Aren’t YOU the 529 plan? Isn’t that what you’re hoping on?” She said yes. And when we got done, we realized that her decision was to not worry about putting money into a financial investment and hope the investment of her time and effort homeschooling works out. 

"She realized that she was already doing what she thought she was failing to do."

Let’s let the process of being at home be the contribution that will turn them into the people that they want to become, and chase the dreams that this education is going to enable them to dream. And when she hung up the phone with me, I think she was very gratified to have our conversation. She was thankful to have the conversation because she realized that she was already doing what she thought she was failing to do. I think that’s awesome. I think that’s why I’m around: to help people see stuff like that. 

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