Taxes, Distraction & Game…Stop! – Finger Financial Five #16

Jeremy Finger
Jeremy Finger
Taxes, Distraction & Game...Stop! - Finger Financial Five #16
Table of Contents

“The direction of energy is more important than its intensity.” – Naval Ravikant

When it comes to making good decisions with money, where you focus your attention, makes a difference. You could be wasting your time.  You could be achieving goals and freedoms, in a time frame you never thought possible.  Here are three stories and three lessons, that I hope you find helpful.

I know this person.  She is frugal in so many ways and spends so lavishly in others.  She will wait to buy gas to save a few pennies per gallon but will spend $300 on a pair of sneakers.  How many times would she need to buy cheaper gas to make up for those sneakers??  This is like exercising for 30 minutes to burn off 300 calories but eating a cheeseburger combo with 2,000 calories.

A friend of mine is a fantastic magician.  He can do some amazing card tricks.  The gist of magic is they have you focus on one hand, while placing the card under your seat, with the other. You were just focusing on the wrong thing.  Crap on TV does that.  Lose weight with 8 minutes a day.  Hey what is the deal with GameStop?   The markets did this because of this today.  You need to do this today, and tomorrow it is something else entirely.  Whatever you do, just keep watching!!!!! Like the WOPR computer said in the 1983 movie War Games, “Sometimes the winning move, is not to play.” In other words, do not get involved in the drama.

In the book, Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande talked about the contaminated water problem in Africa.  The people would bathe, cook, and drink the water and would get sick.  Many academics said that the infrastructure was so bad, it will take billions of dollars to fix.  They did not have billions of dollars. One doctor opted for a simpler approach.  He decided to teach the people to use soap before eating and preparing food.   The results were outstanding.  Water borne illnesses dropped by over 70%.  They ate and drank the same contaminated water, but just simply washing hands, had a tremendous impact.

What are the lessons here?

  1. Spend your pennies where you wish. Spend your dollars on what MATTERS most.  A new fad will come, and her shoes will be left wanting.  Memories and experiences with loved ones last.  I went on a fishing trip to Alaska with my dad in 1986.  I remember it well, but I have no idea what kind of sneakers I was wearing.
  2.  Focus your attention on things that really impact your life. Most things people discuss, especially on tv, are meaningless.  Its like buying lotto tickets and calling it investing or buying gas for 3 cents less and calling it saving.
  3. The simplest answer is often the correct one.  People often discount the simple.  They almost want it to be harder than this.  Their financial problems are tied to their behavior.

Each of the stories, they could get way more by doing less.

Less watching the tube and worrying about what will happen tomorrow, because “they” will always say there is something worry about.

Simplicity is beautiful.  Let go of what you can’t control and focus on what makes the biggest impact.

What to focus on?????

What we can control.

  1. Living within your means. For those not retired, living BELOW your means, so you can save.
  2. Tax planning.  At current tax rates, a good strategy could save your tens of thousands, if not, hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your lifetime.  Use the lower taxable times of your life to plan for the higher taxable times of your life.  Same is true if you are in high bracket now.
  3. Making maximum use of Social Security.  Talked to someone last week. They wanted to take SS early but were still working. I analyzed their situation and discussed delaying their benefit. This not only help them save on taxes, but also, increase their retirement benefit.

Each of us have our own ship, as we travel though life.  Every one of us has anchors that hold us back.  Sometimes it is spending, sometimes it is saving, others it can be a lack of planning.

Often our anchors are invisible, lying just below the water’s surface.  It usually takes another person’s point of view, to see the unseen.

Plan for the “taxable” waters ahead, while enjoying our view.  Always enjoy the view.  This is where life happens.

What if things change??  When the wind blows in a different direction, we adjust our sails….

Let me know if you have any questions.  Happy to help.

The lighter side, The Myrtle Beach Marathon has been postponed.  Probably a good thing.  I have had to slow down my training this week, because of a bad hamstring.  Oh, we are updating our Riverbend website soon.  It will have an enhanced user experience.

Hope all is well with you and your family,

Jeremy Finger, CFP®, CIMA®, CRPC®, CPFA
Founder & CEO
Wealth Management Advisor

Finger Financial Five – 5 points in 5 minutes or less – is to provide you with a weekly shot of useful financial information.  My intention is to share principles, so that you will have more clarity and peace, that help you make better financial decisions.

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Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor; DBA Riverbend Wealth Management.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Riverbend Wealth Management. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stratos Wealth Partners and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.


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