Monday Morning Quarter Buck 11/12/2018: Financial Planning Habits by Kerrie Beene


“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” ―Sean Covey

This past Friday we released a podcast with Joe Messinger.  Joe works with other financial planners to “train” them on a college planning process.  Joe has worked with several of our planners on the “pre-approval” college planning process and the habits that planning for college require.  As financial planner Kerrie Beene states below, habits are a formula that require choice and not memory. We hope you enjoy last weeks Wine and Dime Podcast as well as Kerrie’s Blog.


By Kerrie Beene

I recently read a book by Charles Duhigg called, The Power of Habit, that I consider life-changing. The book is a must read. Duhigg explains that 40% of our actions performed each day are not decisions, but habits. A habit is a formula that automatically follows: when I see a cue, I will do a routine in order to get a reward. A case study explained in detail in the book, tells the story of a 71 year-old male who lost his medial temporal lobe, which causes short-term memory loss. Once home, he started going for a walk everyday with his wife, and as long as she was with him he was fine and no one was concerned. One day he disappeared and everyone was preparing for a man hunt. However, within about 20 minutes he returned home. That is when scientists discovered that habits are formed and operate entirely separately from the part of the brain responsible for memory. He had found his way home, even without his short term memory. He had created a habit that didn't need his memory. So, a habit is originated as a choice that you made once and then again and then again.

The book was helpful in identifying some of my habits, good and bad. Think of the habits you have and consider replacing one bad habit, slowly over time. My bad habit is not exercising consistently. I am all about it one day and then fall off the wagon easily. So, this is my one habit to focus on until I do not have to think about it anymore.

One good habit that I have created is creating and sticking to a budget. This is something that scares a lot of people because it is too hard or too restricting... or maybe for nerds. We recently went on vacation and let my habit of budgeting go for a few weeks, thinking I needed to give myself a break. Things didn't go as well as I thought. Before we left, I didn't update my spreadsheet where I keep my budget and do the check off of the monthly bills. Therefore, I completely forgot a bill. It happens. I let my habit go, and then I paid the consequences. Not that it was a life-changing mistake; but, it showed me that I have better control of things when I stick to my good habits! Another thing about the budget is it actually gives you some freedom to do the things you want when you put it in the budget, and you don't have to feel guilty about it. Going on vacation was something we had saved for, and we took cash and never used our debit cards..... a great feeling too because we came back with some of that cash!!

So, everyday is about choices. Just make those good choices a habit! If you have never done a budget and it seems intimidating or nerdy, I promise it is worth the effort to make the commitment and just do it. If you would like help figuring out the best way for you to budget (spreadsheets, pen and paper, fancy online software), I would be happy to help! I love that stuff, and I know---something is wrong with me!

Honoring the "Old Cook" - How Your Family Roots May Guide Your Money Philosophy


The Edmund Fitzgerald Special Edition
By Matt Fizell

“We’re holding our own”

Have you ever felt like no matter what you have done to prepare, you find yourself in unfamiliar territory and not a clue of how you are going to make your way through a situation…. Have you ever felt like the ship pictured above… in a stormy sea of life? Our financial lives are no different than a ship out on the lake. We can be the best, the fastest, have all the successes in the world, and have an unforeseen event change everything. 

For those of you who reside near the Great Lakes, you likely have seen this picture or have at least heard the story of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” which is arguably the most famous shipwreck in Great Lakes history.  The Fitzgerald was one of the greatest ships of its time, shattering records for the amount of cargo carried on the Great Lakes year after year, being one of the largest and fastest ships in operation, earning nicknames such as “The Big Fitz” and “The Pride of the American Side”.

But on November 10th, 1975 the Fitzgerald found itself in one of the worst storms of Great Lakes history, with wind gusting up to 86 mph, generating waves of 30 feet and larger which proved too great for even the mightiest of ships. The title of today’s blog post, “We’re holding our own”, was the last transmission to ever come from the ship’s captain, who knew there was no possibility of help due to the severity of the storm.

43 years ago today, 29 men suddenly disappeared and found their final resting place when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank into 530 feet of icy, Lake Superior water. One of those men, “the old cook” as referenced in Gordon Lightfoot’s tribute “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, wasmygrandfather Allen who left behind my grandmother and her five children. As you can probably imagine, when the first news reports hit the local television channel, my family found themselves lost in the stormy sea of life, with my uncle recalling his thoughts of “How do you lose a ship?” as the news came through that night, a question that for the Fitzgerald will likely never be answered with closure.

While this chapter of my families’ history is nothing short of tragic, I find it incredibly interesting to see how it has shaped the mindset my family carries surrounding the topic of money. I have heard a lot of the same thing from each of them, “you can plan the best you can now and for the future to an extent, but that doesn’t guarantee anything” and “it taught me to be hardworking, independent and not to rely on other people for money”. Living in the now is much more important to my family members versus looking towards the future and I am confident much of those habits stem from watching the unthinkable happen right before their eyes.  There is that old saying “you can’t take it with you when you’re gone”, and undoubtedly my grandfather’s passing engraved those feelings into my families’ views of personal finance.

While today will bring up a lot of emotion and reflection about the events of November 10th, 1975 for my family, I hope you can use this article to reflect on how your own life events have shaped your views of money and better understand how to use your money in a manner that is truly reflective to your values.  Unlike the Fitzgerald, there is no need to be in a “Holding our own” situation, and I am sure a member of our team would be happy to help you chart your course through stormy waters.

Last but not least, Rest in Peace Grandpa Allen. Even though I never had the chance to meet you, your picture is on my desk as a daily reminder you’ll always be watching over me wherever I go in life.

Articles and References:

If you are interested in the history of the Edmund Fitzgerald, I highly recommend reading the following articles. If dark beer is your thing, the “Edmund Fitzgerald Porter” by Great Lakes Brewing is a great choice… but I may be slightly biased.

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 10/08/2018: Chasing Returns vs. Changing Habits, by Matt Fizell

I’m simply in awe of how quickly this year is passing by.  I remember as a child that my great-grandmother (also an Amy) told me the years go much quicker the older you get.  I now understand what she was talking about!

 In this week's Monday Morning Quarter-Buck, our Financial Planner and Chief Operating Officer Matt Fizell writes about chasing returns versus chasing habits.  His article made me think about a quote that I recently read that said “a good diversified portfolio means you will always have to be apologizing for something.”  That quote is so true, this year US bonds are reacting the way they historically do when interest rates are on the rise (negative performance), when our economy slows, it will be the stocks that react negatively - so we will always be apologizing for something.  However, since we don’t have a crystal ball, diversity is our best defense.

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 10/01/2018: Episode 2 of 2 - Are You On The Dance Floor? By Kerrie Beene

As I mentioned yesterday, five of us spent last week in St. Louis at a conference.  One of the five happened to be Kerrie Beene. Kerrie joined the firm just a few weeks ago, but she fits in like she has always been a part of our team.  Kerrie and I were previously in a College Planning Group together, this is where a bunch of planners get together to talk about the challenges, policies, and solutions that surround college planning.  Kerrie feels that pain! As she mentioned in the podcast recording launched last week (see Episode 34), Kerrie feels the pain of those individuals planning for college, as she is one of those individuals!  We hope you enjoy listening to Kerrie’s journey and reading about her dance. Perhaps it will inspire you to change your dance steps too?

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 10/01/2018: Episode 1 of 2 - What will your finances look like during retirement? By Kim Anderson

“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” - Oliver Goldsmith

 This is edition one of two for the weekly Monday Morning Quarter-Buck.  Last week about half the team was away at a conference where we talked a lot about our vision, both personally and professionally.  So it was extremely fitting that Financial Planner and CPA Kim Anderson wrote about having a vision of retirement.  We so often think of it as a date, but in reality, it is a journey.  Kim’s closing comments are so true, we often forget to remind you that although the numbers are scary sometimes, we are here to help.  Stay tuned for an upcoming Podcast with Kim to get to know her a little better.

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 09/17/2018: Have Courage and Be Kind, by Kate Welker

In this edition of the Monday Morning Quarter-Buck, Planner Kate Welker explores courage.  It’s funny how life is so circular sometimes! One of my favorite quotes is “Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle in their journey," which is exactly what Kate’s “be kind” comment suggests.  I’ve noticed in my life that courage comes easier when you don’t go it alone, so perhaps that is one of the answers as well.

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 09/10/2018: "Free" Money by Becky Partridge

“Life is about events, supported by dollars and cents.” - Amy Irvine

Last week Brent and I spent the week traveling through Massachusetts visiting with clients as well as enjoying a little vacation time.  Normally when we travel, I work and he drives; but this “workcation” was different! We were traveling through areas that had no cell service, thus no internet and no work.  I was required to sit back and enjoy the view (or smell the roses) and it was delightful!

The weather was hot and sunny, which as many of you know is exactly what I enjoy.  We wandered back on Friday enjoying a different path than we had ventured on the way out there.  Although I always enjoy visiting Cape Cod, if you have never been to the hills of Massachusetts, I would highly recommend it!  

Monday Morning Quater-Buck 08/27/2018: Introduction to Kim Anderson

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance.  It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”  Tim Gallwey

I am honored by all the comments I received a few weeks ago regarding the Monday Morning Quarter-Buck and unexpected events in life.
In that article, I mentioned that I have been working with a couple of coaches myself this year, as well as interviewing a number of them on the podcast.  In Episode 26, we interviewed a career coach - Carla Sessions.   Carla is a “career changer” or what I like to call encore career, it’s worth a listen if you would like to enhance or change your career: Wine and Dime Episode 26 - Coaching with Carla Sessions
Why am I bringing this up now?  Well, we are very excited to announce the addition of three “career changers” to our team.

This week we’d like to introduce Kim Anderson to you.  Kim is a northern Minnesota native who has lived in the Fargo/Moorhead area since 1994.  Kim graduated from MSU-Moorhead with a degree in Construction Management and obtained her CPA designation in 2012.  Kim has been involved in both business accounting and personal finance for many years.  

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 08/20/2018: Teach Children About Money, by Kate Welker

"Though small was your allowance, you saved a little store: and those who save a little shall get a plenty more." William Thackeray

In our household we save our loose change for vacation. We have a special savings fund for the big expenses, like hotel and travel, but the change is for the extra fun money. My bank does not want the change rolled. That is nice when it comes to the time that requires, but I miss the satisfaction of sorting and counting out the piles.

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 8/13/2018: Investing for a Brighter Tomorrow, by Becky Partridge

Coming out of college, many recent graduates land their first “real job,” and with that job generally comes a nice paycheck.
It’s tempting to consistently go out and treat yourself because for the first time in your life you all of a sudden have “so much” money. Especially when you are used to living off a budget that consists of eating Ramen noodles. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t reward yourself for all of your hard work and dedication, but just be conscientious of how often and how much you are treating yourself to.