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New Year’s Thoughts from an Old School Coach

New Year’s Thoughts – From an Old School Coach

The call was from a former player. I’d coached him years ago. Basketball.

Coach, how do I start to save some money and invest and…I wish I had listened to you years ago.

“Well, you didn’t listen but it’s never too late to start,” was my reply. I meant investing, not necessarily listening to me.

He was 35 years old – about the age I was when I started the concept of Exclusive Buyer Agency – where my company would work for the interests of the homebuyer – not home seller.

His question involved money and home ownership, a common question we get from Millennials, Gen X’ers and older Gen Z’s. He was married, a renter with a decent-paying job, and one small child. His question: How do I save for the future?

People don’t think long term. Look around and you will see people are not saving or have not saved enough for retirement. The Washington Post and CNBC say over 60% of people working today are not prepared for retirement with some polls placing the figure as high as 70%.

I’m a Boomer (“Ok, Boomer”) and lived during some pretty good times so had the benefit of luck, but it wasn’t all luck. A plan and some hard work can make a difference.

Yvon Chouinard, on climbing El Cap said, “Don’t solve complex problems with more complexity.” The former player asked. The ex-coach responded without complexity, responding with New Year’s thoughts from an old-school coach.

In today’s dollars you will need between $1.0 and $1.5 million saved to retire reasonably well. (Based on location, in this case, Wisconsin.) How do you accomplish that goal?

1. Buy a home. No, you can’t have mom and dad’s home today – you are not entitled – that takes time. Buy a starter home that works for you, even one that needs some paint-up fix-up. Rates are low and rents are high. If you are a regular reader of my blog/newsletter you know that I consider home ownership a forced savings account.

Financial professionals tell me it is better, theoretically, to rent. I agree but only if you save money and invest on a monthly basis. See paragraph 6 above and then set forth a plan to buy a home. You can’t retire in “theory.” Retirement requires reality.

2. Save money and invest in index funds with a mix of equities and bonds – foreign and domestic. The mix should be based on age, the younger you are the more aggressive the mix. Don’t think that X dollars are too few to save. Start the habit and the dollars will grow.

3. If you have a company-match option for a retirement account, max it out.

4. Don’t buy things you don’t need and learn to discern a want from a need.

5. Buy term life insurance, an umbrella policy and, depending upon your job, disability insurance.

6. Understand who works for whom when you buy a home or invest. There’s a reason it’s called sales. If you buy a home and don’t use an Exclusive Buyer Agent (Homebuyer Associates) who has your agency and fiduciary (look it up) interest in mind, you are at risk. I don’t care how much the real estate company spends on advertising or how nice they are. The same is true of investment options.

Maybe your News Year’s resolution involves getting healthier. Think of buying a home and investing as a path to financial health.

Now consider the difference between a dietician and a butcher.

A dietician has your best health interests at heart while the butcher just wants to sell you some meat. Real estate (and investment options) is full of butchers. You want a dietician when you buy a home and invest…if you want financial health.

Over the years Homebuyer Associates has become a real estate resource to past clients as well as new clients with questions ranging from “Should I buy a home?” to “What do you think of a vacation home?” to “Should we rehab our kitchen?” to “How do we sell and buy a home and not put ourselves at risk?

If you have questions or want to discuss housing options, please contact Seamus, Mike or me. I wish you the best in life 2020.

P.S. If you are a Boomer who is set financially and with housing, you may want to share this blog post with someone you love (or kind of like).


Thanks for reading,
Michael D. Holloway

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Homebuyer Associates
1835 N. Riverwalk Way
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414-254-4129