As I write this column, all of our family has joined us out of town for the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays. Four kids, two husbands, one fiancé, four dogs (plus our two dogs), two cats and maybe a partridge in a pear tree. No grandkids yet, and no pressure. We were married ten years before our oldest, Missy, blessed us. Everyone is working remotely (including Phyllis and me) and silence is in short supply!
I am so thankful to have this rare time together, no matter how many things are on all of our collective work lists. Phyllis and I take deep breaths and enjoy having everyone together. Phyllis is the master organizer and Christmas is her favorite time of the year. We both just keep working as we can while juggling the family!
Our Christmas gifting has shifted this year to totally Secret Santa for all of us. In prior years, it was just the kids, but now it just makes sense. One special gift limited to a budgeted amount shifts the focus from the gift to the person. Everyone has to really think and research, if you will, what best suits the recipient of their special gift. I can’t wait for Christmas Day.
We give regularly to our church and other favorite charities. This time of year we review our tax status and consider some special charitable gifts. I have said this in a previous column, you will never miss the money you give to those in real need! I encourage you to do the same.
We have tried to instill a planning mentality within our family. Phyllis and I were fortunate to have had parents that provided for us. In reality, our parents really sacrificed and planned for us so we received the education we needed without the burden of debt. They also instilled in us a strong work ethic during our formative years, expecting us to work for our spending money, which we both did.
We endeavored to do the same for our children. We started saving on a regular monthly basis as soon as we could after they were born. This paid off as we had what we needed for them to attend college with a little “get to work” money after graduation. Missy graduated from high school in 2008, a bleak year for the markets, but it worked out. One of our daughters went out of state for college, which threw us for a loop, but it also worked out.
Over our careers starting in 1979 and 1980, there have been a number of bleak times in the markets, but when you keep a long term perspective and stay consistent in your savings and investments, things seem to work out. Just for grins, Google what inflation and mortgage rates were in 1980.
Have a financial plan. If you don’t have a plan, make a plan! Make sure you have a good CPA that understands your needs. In addition, make sure you have a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional that places your best interest ahead of their own.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday and a great 2023!
Published in the Victoria Advocate
Lane Keller CPA/CFP® is a managing member of Keller & Associates CPAs, PLLC and KMH Wealth Management, LLC.