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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Financial Planning Perspective

Our perspective changes from one day to another and from one point in our lives to another. Here are two examples:

We have two dogs on the ranch. Both are great dogs, mostly because they are friends who ALWAYS listen. For this particular ranch, two dog friends are plenty.

And we have several barn cats that move in and out as the mood strikes them. They underwent a spurt of kittening early this spring. This past weekend, I discovered that one mother barn cat had weaned and left her kittens to their own devices, which weren’t quite adequate to the task. She had the kittens in an old truck with the front window knocked out, which allowed her entrance and exit, but kept the kittens confined until they were agile enough to scale the steering column. Once out, they were not able to get back inside. It was at this point that she abandoned them. The truck isn’t actually at the barn but next to the chicken house, so she’s not really a barn cat, more of a chicken cat, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring.

The kittens were hovering in the chicken pen when I first saw them outside the truck. I got a jacket to protect my arms and leather gloves for my hands, having handled hissing, spitting, clawing barn cat kittens before. Apparently, chicken house kittens are a different matter entirely. Not a hiss or scratch between them. It’s possible that their good behavior was due more to hunger than disposition. I caught the first one, put it in a portable chicken wire pen to hold it temporarily and went for milk. The second kitten came to the milk pan and I soon had two in my gloveless hands. They spent their first night in captivity in a 24 can beer carton (empty) with two rags for a bed. I thought it was lovely, and I’m sure they did too - much better than hovering on the axle of a dilapidated truck.

Their roof was sagging a bit after a rainy night, so my perspective of their home changed. These little fellows, or gals, as the case may be, deserved better. So I spent an entire afternoon building a cat house worthy of them. As it turned out, it’s a good thing I made it large enough for some growth because the kids found three more, slightly younger kittens in the barn.

My perspective had been that we did not need another set of cats at the barn. However, we now have two sets of kittens, I built a house for them and I’m buying cat food! I do intend to give away as many as we can, up to four. I fear for having to eat my words of “I will not have a cat near the house!” so perhaps the first one I give away should be that particularly adorable one that likes to cuddle at my neck. Gotta go - I think I hear it crying. And maybe we should think about getting a puppy now so they can grow up together…

A more serious example of perspective (with broad generalities) is that when we’re in our 20’s and hear terms like financial planning, life insurance, annuities and retirement, our minds go blank and we tune out on the conversation until it comes back to our immediate concerns, usually ourselves. In our 30’s those conversations allow us to excuse ourselves to go check on our children. In our 40’s, we pay slight attention, thinking there may be something we can share with our parents. In our 50’s our response is “I should have started thinking about that a long time ago. It’s a little late now.” In our 60’s, we are the ones starting the conversation. 

The perspective at Gardner & Billing CPAs is that it is NEVER too late, and NEVER too early, to start financial planning for your future. If you haven’t started yet, whatever your age or situation, come visit with Dave or Melissa. They’ll help explain financial planning options, possibly refer you to a financial adviser and be honored that you placed your trust with our firm. 

And if you contact us right away, I know where you can get a kitten.