Make your list and check it twice

With a record setting stock market, and the earliest Thanksgiving the calendar allows, most people have more time and money for their holiday shopping than ever. From Black Friday to Christmas Eve, shoppers will have 31 days to buy presents and holiday décor. That’s a fa-la-la-la-long time to resist temptation and over-spending. For inspiration, we say look to the big guy. Everyone knows Santa makes his list and checks it twice. We think you should too. Armed with a list, you’ll be less tempted to pick up frivolous items, or to hit Amazon’s one-click shopping button a few too many times. As the economy rolls along, and retirement accounts grow plump, it’s tempting to let yuletide generosity fill you up like grandma’s homemade egg nog. Black Friday! Small Business Saturday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday! You can hashtag yourself right into some serious debt. If you haven’t made a holiday list yet, start now. Really. Open a spreadsheet and get going. Or, grab a reliable pen and jot. First, take a realistic look at your budget and set an amount you can afford to spend on the holiday season. Next, list the people for whom you plan to buy gifts. Don’t forget to include hostess gifts and the like. If you think you need a new outfit for the office Christmas party, add that to the spreadsheet. Likewise, those icicle lights you’re adding to the front yard display this year. Set a budget for any holiday parties you plan to host this year, and think twice about all the extra restaurant meals you plan to grab while you run around town. We’re not asking you to Ebenezer your way through the season. We’re all for reciprocal joy. We’re just saying don’t get carried away. Make a plan, stick to it and know that February will feel a lot jollier if you ho-ho-hold back a little on your holiday spending.

A Merry Christmas task and sweet blessings on the season

What may seem like a tedious chore for most businesses, the annual process of updating our Christmas mailing list is actually a happy one for us here at Winch Financial. Subtle changes in addresses indicate major life changes in which we’re thrilled to play a role. A young man returns from active duty and purchases his first home. A woman marries and changes her name. A couple retires and purchases a residence in Florida. A student graduates from college and heads out into the world. Our Christmas card list grows each year as we add new clients and friends, and families expand. You can trace milestone events in the firm as well by the Christmas cards we send. Last year’s card commemorated Pastor Ron Vignec, brother of our CEO Christina Winch, and mentor to countless people in the Seattle area, who died on Nov. 10, 2013. This year, our card features a picture of a Ginkgo tree branch, lovely in the winter snow because we’re celebrating the four-star success of our mutual fund, named for this resilient and productive tree. December marks an especially hectic time in our industry, as we monitor a volatile market and prepare our clients and their accounts for the year’s end. Still, it’s nice to take a moment to reflect upon the year’s accomplishments, both for our clients and for our firm. Merry Christmas from Winch Financial. We’re here for you every season of your life, but we’re particularly proud to know you during this most special time of the year.

You need at least seven of these things in your life right now

My dishwasher just broke.  I am currently hand washing everything until I can get around to buying a new one.  I don’t mind doing dishes, so it’s not that hard for me to deal with, but the rest of the household does not like it.  I feel that it is a great way to zone out and think.  I seem to do my best thinking while my hands are busy with something that does not take a great deal of brain power.   This morning while washing the coffee cups, my mind drifted to the question of what do I really need to be happy. It’s funny.  I have been writing loads of Christmas cards and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hopes for joy and love and good health and such.  I do wish all of those for my family and friends, but what do we actually need?  If they are anything like me, what they really need are at least seven of the following: ~ A challenge that is neither life threatening nor dreadfully painful but that helps you grow ~ Some form of creative expression ~ Work that keeps your mind very active and gives you the feeling of accomplishment ~ Walking, running, swimming, biking, yoga-ing, fencing, anything that makes your body move ~ At least three people in your life that tell you how much they appreciate and love you, regularly ~ The ability to travel, whether it is to another country or to another place in your imagination ~ Some form of creative inspiration ~ A luxurious bed with comfy sheets and a cozy pillow(s) ~ Quiet time to sit down and sincerely give thanks for the beauty and bounty in your life ~ One song that simply makes you dance (hopefully at least once a week – maybe even by yourself) ~ Something or someone for whom you can volunteer… | Read More »