Every year, we spend money on stuff. Some stuff is necessary, like food and Disney +, while other stuff is not so much. This year, I again will look back at some of the best things that I spent money on in 2019.
Home Computer System - I have the great fortune to work in a field that does not require me to be chained to a desk in an office from 9-5. I have found that I am WAY more productive at home without the regular distractions of the office (phone ringing, the "pop-in" visit, the ability to watch YouTube without guilt). In February I bought a new computer complete with giant dual monitors. This allows me to work early in the morning, late at night and on weekends. In fact, it is 6:17 am on a Monday as I write this.
A Second Minivan - You read that right, I am the proud owner of 2 minivans. With all 4 kids playing hockey this year, we found, very early on, that I could only get 2 bags into my Civic. It became one more thing (the van) to coordinate in our lives. We decided to upgrade the car to an SUV but for less money, we could get another van. After a few hours of debating whether we wanted to be the losers with 2 vans.....we're losers with 2 vans.
Professional Therapy for my Children - There is always something that kids do that you think to yourself "What are you doing? I was never like that?" That may be true, but our generation was never exposed to the amount of information and technology that our kids are. I was sick during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics opening ceremony and missed the guy on the jetpack. It bothered me for years. I finally watched it one day in 2000-something on YouTube. That is something my kids will never experience; missing something on TV and having to wait 2 decades to see it. I've never been a parent to teenagers before so we thought we could use some help. It has been such an amazing experience, both for us and the kids. They have a chance to talk about what is bothering them in an environment that doesn't judge and isn't their parents. It has helped them so much that I'm thinking of starting to see someone this year. Again, most Group Benefits plans cover most of the cost of these sessions. If they don't call us at 519-675-1177 and we'll fix that.
Major Renovation - It has been 12 years in the making, but I finally pulled the trigger on a new kitchen...kinda. It all started with a new stove. That made the rest look dated so we embarked on a quick refresh; new paint on the walls, (sticker) tiled back-splash and repainting the cupboards. Once that was done, I installed pot lights (in a 60-year-old house that's harder than it sounds). Say, that counter-top looks horrible now, let's replace that too. After it was all finished, the rest of the main floor looked old too. So we (in no particular order): removed the stucco ceiling, re-drywalled and mudded the living room, dining room, and hallway ceilings, added 14 potlights, repainted ALL the walls on the main floor and installed smart switches. By the way, did I mention I did all this myself? (except mudding the ceiling, you can't pay me enough to do that. Stay tuned, there is a whole thing coming around that experience). The finished product is beautiful. It brought the house into the new decade and makes it feel new again. No need to move now!
How about you? Think back over the last 12 months and let me know what some of the best things you bought were.
Kenneth Coombs CFP CHS RRC
Ken has 14 years experience in the financial services industry, is a Registered Retirement Consultant and a Certified Financial Planner. Ken has written financial planning columns and has been a guest on financial radio and podcast programs.