Did you ever look at a dollar bill and wonder where it’s been?
Quite literally, on wheresgeorge.com or trackdollar.com you can track where your money, the paper money you once held in your hand, has been. Apparently, our money sees more sights than we ever will.
But figuratively speaking, your money travels a long way through life with you, and boasts an impressive resume of work experience. Your money–your sometimes loyal, sometimes insubordinate employee–requires you, its employer, to provide unwavering leadership to do its jobs well. Knowing money starts with an understanding of basic economics, the world you and your employee live in. You have a long journey ahead together, which requires that you not only know the world in which you operate, but also have an ability to answer the questions, “What is money? and “What is money…to me?”
The list below represents our collective imaginings of where money can take you.
1. EARN MONEY
This is where you work. Daytime 9 to 5 grinds, and maybe a side hustle or two. What has your education prepared you to do? Does it matter?
2. SPEND MONEY
You may be a spendthrift or a thrift shopper who would rather die than pay retail! Either way, do you track your purchases and outlays, from sweat socks to penny stocks, from buying new shoes to paying club dues, from night at the bar to buying a car. We really need to stop reading Dr. Seuss.
3. SAVE MONEY
I saw graffiti once that said, “Jesus Saves…Moses Invests.”
Well, we all gravitate to role models, and that summed it up pretty well for me, albeit irreverently.
4. MAKE MONEY
You earn money from your job. You make money in the markets.
Passive Make. Active Keep. This is the starting point for developing a strong sense of confidence that you, not Wall Street, are in control of what you keep. Making money has been elevated to some mystical undertaking, with a confusing language all its own, but investing remains a largely misunderstood endeavor, replete with its own built-in myths…”beat the market”…”time the market”… “I got a hot tip.”
Yeah, how’s that working out?
We are market pacifists. Passive investing, passive income.
With decades of experience behind us, we have witnessed so many investors work very hard, only to lose their money.
That’s not the hill we are willing to die on.
5. OWE MONEY
There is no such thing as “good debt.” There is smart debt and stupid debt.
For example, leveraging your real estate with other people’s money is smart debt, but charging your daily caramel macchiato on a credit card ? Stupid.
True, there are credit cards that offer rewards and points and cash and other free stuff, BUT if you don’t have the discipline to pay off the balance EVERY month, you will be drowning in debt, with the faintest memory of those macchiatos.
6. FUN MONEY
You don’t want to end up like Jack, so enjoy some of your money, after you pay yourself second. (Uncle Sam is always first.) Travel, Toys and Diversions all deserve at least a piece of your buck.
7. KEEP MONEY
Your money has enemies. And you may be its worst. Our series on Fixing the Investor is dedicated to fixing bad habits, unconscious biases and bad behaviors that prevent you from knowing your money and making money in the markets.
8. LIVING MONEY
The day. THAT day. It’s that day that something that used to be called “retirement” begins. Downsizing, not running out of money, social security, when to bleed the IRA, and cookie jar issues are just a few of the new daily routine as you transition to your new phase of life. It can be a time of intense change and ever evolving needs-based maneuvers. In fact, retirement planning is actually a series of decisions spread over sixty odd years, and we can help you structure a Retirement you can count on.
9. GIVING MONEY
“You can’t take it with you.”
Actually you can, but its pretty stupid to bury money with dead people. They won’t need it. As far as we know.
So, as we get older and realize the reality of it, we devise ways to give it to our families, friends and favorite causes, and ultimately leave it behind when we go for our final deep dive.
Your wishes will become hollow and distant memories unless you have a coordinated, well-planned estate that may include wills, trusts and life insurance.
Whew! That was some journey.
So, every time you take that dirty little piece of paper from your pocket or purse, think about where its been, and then remember to come back here to start making plans for you and your money.