Changing the Work Schedule

Many business owners and managerial types use Fridays as an administrative catch-up day. I’d been using that approach for many years, but found that as a result, I usually had an overflow of paying work that would have to be addressed during the weekend. While I was getting my office tasks back on Fridays, desperate clients who called at week’s end still needed to be assisted. As a result, I would work all or part of most weekends, feel behind on my household obligations, and Mondays would seem that much worse.

So… trying something different was called for.

For the past two weeks, I’ve worked like a maniac on Fridays, with a work-free weekend as my goal. Then, when Monday rolled around, I began the day tackling my own administrative tasks left over from the previous week. I’ve picked up a little around the house, took time for the extra cup of coffee over the paper, and it seems like I’ve begun the new week with a relaxed and fresh outlook. (My two college sons were home visiting this weekend, so part of my joyous approach to this Monday may be due to having had some quality time with my grownup offspring.) We’ll keep at this routine for awhile and report back on how it’s working out.

Loose Ends’ Anniversary!

Loose Ends was launched on this day in 1996. Today is actually the anniversary of the day the first client called. I have learned so much during those eight years! Most of it from my husband and numerous colleagues who’ve shared generously with me. Would I do it again – definitely.

Time to review insurance coverage. The annual letter telling me that arrived yesterday. Now, I understand the wisdom of reviewing my coverage and limits, but do I really understand what it all means?? Sigh. Trying, but what a sticky wicket insurance is. A glance at the calendar also cues me that it’s probably time to dust off and review my business and marketing plans, also.

Speaking of marketing plans, friend, client and colleague, Michele Pariza Wacek , will be launching her new book, Creative Marketing Solutions to Jumpstart Your Business shortly. A workbook-style approach, it can be just the boost your company needs. I was privileged to be an advance-reviewer. You can read more about it and purchase via her site: www.michelepw.com.

Another long-time client and friend, Dr. Kenna Stephenson, has just finished her first book. Awakening Athena will be available at Amazon.com as soon as it is printed and shipped, likely around mid-October. This is a comprehensive look at women’s health, from youth to old age, and it goes way beyond any other works in its class by suggesting some amazing prescriptions for wellness, from cinematherapy to yoga to handwork. If you’re a woman, or if you know a woman of any age, you have got to get a copy of this book as soon as it comes off the presses!

Teach Your Children Well

Here’s a piece contributed by Will Hepburn, Hepburn Capital, originally published here in 2004.

We all have aspirations for our children to be successful at what ever they choose do. Many parents even have good ideas of how to help their children become successful. But unless children are prepared to deal with the fruits of successful labors, the happiness that we assume will come with vocational success may be elusive. Money can bring lots of worries if we are not careful.

So, how can you prepare children to handle money? Simple. Give them some and let them make mistakes. By starting young the mistakes will normally be small, inexpensive ones.

Most kids get allowances, but by getting creative with the process, we have an opportunity to teach them a little about how the world works.

Try having your child split their allowance into 4 equal piles, with _ going into a jar or piggy bank for long term savings, _ into a jar earmarked for gifts and taxes (mostly gifts at this age – church, charity, friends at Christmas, etc.), and _ for spending money. At our house we use wide mouth glass jars so our son can see his money and get his hands on it easily.

In the process the child learns that they don’t get to spend everything that comes in (remember the shock of seeing taxes taken out of your first paycheck?), and that supporting those people and institutions that support us is both important and costs money. They get to experience the good feeling of giving their own money to a charity or buying a gift for a child on an Angel Tree. They also learn how to shop for gifts for friends with their own money. With luck they will realize that their friends really don’t need $25 Star Wars light sabers after all.

Long term savings means that the child will be able to buy his own car when he grows up. This is a good, tangible, long-term goal. As the savings jar fills up, trips are made to the bank to deposit the savings in his bank account. Although I hate the tiny returns on savings accounts, I think the process of going to the bank is important. When the bank account fills up, money can be transferred to a growth investment of some sort.

The child’s spending money is just that, his to spend. In our family, Mom and Dad still pay for a lot, but we rarely say no to his requests. When we don’t support the idea of buying a particular item, we just say, “you can buy it if you want to, you have your own money”. Like magic, 9 times out of 10, the item goes back on the shelf. And miraculously we have a discriminating shopper rather than one that wants everything in sight.

Whenever our son needs money away from home, Mom or Dad become the bank and will loan it to him until he gets home and “restores his credit”. The rule is that he doesn’t get a new loan until he pays off the last one. Only a few declined loans and this lesson gets remembered!

Simple accounting sheets help keep track of what is in each jar. The child gets practical lessons on math, accounting, and not moving money from one jar to another.

With this system, concepts of credit and consumer decision making come to life. Give it a try!

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Will Hepburn is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Hepburn Capital Management, LLC, in Prescott, Arizona. He specializes in developing, implementing and teaching innovative investment strategies that Adapt to Changing Markets®. He may be reached by emailing admin@HepburnCapital.com, or by calling (928) 778-4000, by writing to 2069 Willow Creek Road in Prescott, AZ 86301, or by visiting our web site at https://hepburncapital.com/.

©2004. Permission to copy granted when the above attribution is included. Reprinted here with permission of author.

Work or Vacation – where am I?

Am I on vacation or am I at work? Today we have so many amazing options. First thing in the morning I hike with my dog (usually by walking down to the end of my street and on up into the rocky foothills to the south of us) for an hour or so. Then, it’s back into the office with coffee and yogurt to check email and prioritize the day’s tasks, both professional and personal.

This is where the lines begin to blur a little… there is laundry waiting and that beautiful (?!) feather duster from Flylady.com close at hand… apple trees and tomato plants just outside the window. Two cats and a dog asleep on the floor under my drafting table. Ah! There is the task list for the day, and it is all (mostly) work, other than a haircut for son #3 at 3:00.

What is the point of all of this? Gratitude for living in a place where you can largely choose how you want to work and where. Gratitude at being surrounded by a loving family and supportive spouse who understand that there are many ways to contribute to the family financial and psychological coffers, and that one of these is by being a working-at-home mom. Gratitude for my wonderful clients who take what I have to offer seriously and return month after month with challenging, interesting projects.

Presently, though, the most compelling activity is the waiting game we’re all playing; awaiting the birth of our first grandchild, Tessa.

Baby Steps

We use the term all the time to explain how one gets from point A to point B when undertaking something difficult. We have to practice the skill over and over throughout life, whether in business or our personal lives. Sometimes we get frustrated with a project or a client, but we know we have the tools we need to be able to solve the problem and move forward.

Granddaughter Tessa took her first solo steps yesterday, just three weeks shy of her 1st birthday. Watching her cognitive and physical progress has reminded me daily that we have to just keep trying and we’ll get there. Whether it’s a tough business decision or working through that project from hell, you can and will figure out the baby steps to take to get from here to there.

More on Testimonials

More on testimonials… does a picture really tell a thousand words? If so, the one at right tundrashould indicate how happy I am with my new Toyota Tundra (barely pictured). Salesperson Holly Matthews (pictured with me) and her supervisor Guy Graham went to great lengths to keep me as a satisfied Toyota customer recently when the vehicle I had previously purchased didn’t live up to expectations.

The main factor that brought me back was Holly and Guy’s professionalism and extraordinary customer service skills. When something doesn’t go right, make sure those in charge hear from you, but when something goes great, tell the world, too! I have written to every Toyota corporate address I can find to rave about Holly and Guy… you can find them here in Prescott at Tim’s Toyota, 928.445.7350.