Times they are a changin

img-content-uploads-mct-height[1]Time’s have sure changed. When I was a kid, boredom was a short-lived condition. No sooner did the words come out of my mouth, “Mom, I’m bor…” Bam! I was cleaning something. After a few bouts with my bathroom, boredom wasn’t much of an issue. I got creative. Today, it seems our solution for boredom is the smartphone or the video game controller. Hmm. Nothing bad can happen there – just non social-skilled zombies with carpel tunnel. Get off your phone. Go outside. Pick up a ball and play with it. And that goes for all you kids out there, too.

So in an effort to be part of the solution, I’ve put a list together of a few practical alternatives to boredom:

1) Check your retirement accounts to make sure the primary beneficiary listed is actually the person you want it to be. You’d be surprised how many times life changes, significantly for some, but their primary beneficiary paperwork does not. Pop Quiz: Who’s currently listed as your beneficiary and will receive what could be your single largest asset after you die? Don’t know? Go find out. Go ahead. It’s that important. I’ll wait…

2) Check your life insurance policies while you’re at it. Same story here. If the name on record is not the name it should be, you need to make it right. As in right now. The pain of you dying is likely hard enough, so let’s not introduce a mess for those you’ve left behind. As I’ve said before, you can’t change it when you’re dead. With life insurance policies and retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s, the beneficiary designation is the last will and testament for the account - regardless of what your will says. Yes, I’ll wait…

3) Put your phone down. Give it a rest. Go outside and shudder at the sight and warmth of that great fireball in the sky! And while you’re out there, go for a walk, hold hands with your spouse and reintroduce yourself to your kids.

4) Find a place in your community where your family can serve together. As the holidays approach, opportunities will abound to help those who might well do anything to have a little boredom in their lives. Create a legacy of service for your family and fill your hearts with the joy of serving others. Studies have shown that you learn more when you listen, and you have more when you give. In a moment of transparency, I could do both. Could you?

5) Play the animal game. Every now and again, the six of us will sit in the den and take turns imitating an animal. (I can’t help but smile as I type these words.) It’s the real deal – guaranteed to make you laugh. Helpful advice: You’d better be able to guess what animal your ultra-competitive 7-year old is or there’ll be trouble. Also popular is the Family Dance Off. Since I’m the DJ for this event, I’m mercifully exempt from the dancing. I play a song from iTunes and the person who’s “up” has to dance to it. Sometimes they get to choose their own song, sometimes they don’t. But they have to dance…or it’s off to the bathroom you go with bucket and soap in hand. Some call that "forced participation". I call it - forced participation. And it’s money in the bank. Fun guaranteed.

6) Check your 401(k) / IRA allocations. Are you taking the appropriate amount of risk to support your family’s financial plan? Honestly, this isn’t typically a cure for boredom; it’s more of a source, really. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing to do on occasion. You don’t have to actually change your allocation – just know how you’re invested and why you’re invested that way. If you don’t know the answers to those types of questions, call me. That’s what we do.

As I said from the start, times have changed.

And they’re going to change again. Sunday morning, in fact.

This is the weekend most of the country sets our clocks back an hour. And for some, that means it will start getting dark…oh… just after lunch or so? But fear not, for boredom has his talons in you no longer! Instead, you now have the power to release the hidden animal within or to dance your way into the hearts of your family. Fire up the iTunes, Charles Henry, and put on your dancin’ shoes! Daddy’s coming home!

It may not be pretty but it beats anything you can do on a phone – other than talk to someone, but who does that anymore….uh…. boring.

Beautiful Irony

il_214x170.448731552_trhbSo where, exactly, did this month go? Lately, it’s been football this night, soccer that night, swimming and guitar the other night…and even a few bouts with cotillion (which is rumored to have something to do with manners and chivalry. Given the son of mine that’s taking part in it, I’d say we paid too much.) The eldest was involved in a double-overtime football game with the cross-town rival. Beautiful weather, packed stadium. Police presence in full force. The winning team assured of home field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs. It’s the scenario you dream about as a player and as a dad. Sadly, Nick came up a point short. The youngest, Charles Henry, was tabbed to be the keeper in the overtime penalty kick phase in round one of the city’s Under 7 soccer playoffs. He, also, fared not so well. Nick is 17, Charles Henry is 7. Different ages, different maturity levels, and different life experiences. Same result. Heartache. But short lived. Nick just needed a reassuring hand on the back and space to digest the loss. Charles Henry, a few bear hugs and some candy. Boom. All good. I know life will become more complicated for these boys as they venture into manhood and the stakes for parental provision will surely be much higher.

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On the other side of compassion

imagesNXWJWXYHThis time of year, Friday night means substandard concession stand cheeseburgers and high school football. And I love it. Last Friday, the family road-tripped north to watch my oldest play. He had 80 yards on 9 carries with 2 touchdowns. (Auburn's looking at him at QB and RB. They're not, really, but maybe they should.) I digress. So, on the way home, and just as the kids were settling in for a quiet ride, my youngest offered, “Christmas is just like Saturday, but way different.” They all jumped back into conversation at that point, and I never learned the context of his declaration. Therefore, I’ll make it up.

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When the ball bounces funny

football_on_grassSo football’s back, and all’s well. Every Saturday morning, it’s chocolate chip muffins, coffee, and College Game Day. It’s beautiful. And a close second in entertainment value for the boys is watching their mom digest the game. “Why do they just run into a pile and then stop?” “Where’s the ball?” “Why did he just kick the ball to the other team?" And my favorite, "Who won?” The boys and I do have fun at her expense, I must admit. But despite all the questions she has, she’s a gamer.

She’s decided that she doesn’t have to understand the game in its entirety to appreciate its value to the family. She knows she can ask us a question if she needs help with anything and understands that losses come with the territory.

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CapSouth Monthly Newsletter - August

Bldg and Sign PS

This week I'm featuring the Monthly Newsletter from CapSouth's President, Donald Bolden. He's not likely to ramble on about his kids breaking windshields or his failed attempts at a rope swing, but what you can count on are financial insights from an experienced business owner and all-around good guy. Back with you next week...

In the headlines for August:

More market volatility on the horizon?
Will the FED raise interest rates this year?
First Greece, then China. What’s next?

The question you’re left with:

What should we do?

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