The life of Pi

There’s a lot of inspiration in a slice of pie. Much like retirement planning, it all starts with a seed. If you plant the seed early enough and water it just right, it grows into a tree with apples plump enough to sustain you when you need to harvest them. You have to time the apple harvest carefully to maximize the flavor of the apples and their ability to sustain their nutritional value. And then there’s the dough, a perfect blend of two very common ingredients – butter and flour. But, you need to cut that butter into the sifted flour exactly right for the flakiest dough, and only the best bakers can manage that. Most people need a little help. Just like life, you’ll want to add sugar and spice to your pie, and everyone’s preference is different. You have to figure out what proportions best suit you before you seal the crust. Sometimes you need to tweak the recipe to suit your own needs. We can help with that. We’ve been helping people bake their perfect slice of retirement pie for more than 40 years. Happy Pi Day from all of us at Winch Financial. We hope your pie is extra delicious today.

Shame on the Shysters

The Internet has become a playground for tech savvy hustlers who masquerade as legitimate media sources and provide too-good-to-be-true financial tips to private investors…for a price. Preying on an age-old combination of greed and fear, these so-called financial experts use phrases like “crash alert system” and “secret market calendar” to lure unsuspecting victims of potential fraud. Frankly, we’re appalled, particularly when these scam artists quote the Bible in an attempt to peddle their wares. Consider the offensive irony of someone who quotes Timothy in his promotional material, “The love of money is the root of all evil” and then charges $97 a month for financial newsletter he didn’t write and a thinly disguised advertisement he promotes as an educational video. We’re all for education. We maintain several subscriptions to financial newsletters and generally find them to be informative, useful resources. Nothing irritates us more, though, than the fakers; the shiny pop-up videos edited to look like legitimate media interviews; websites that mimic familiar news sources; scholastic white papers that quote not a single legitimate source. We urge caution across the board when accumulating necessary financial information. Don’t click on links that arrive unsolicited in your email in-box. Read the information in a website’s footer before subscribing to anything within the site. Check the source of information you suspect may be too good to be true. Lastly, look for an advisor with a fiduciary responsibility to his or her clients before you trust your hard-earned money to anyone.

Seven financial tips for celebrating Earth Day

With our obvious fondness for ginkgo trees here at Winch Financial, we are big fans of Earth Day. We support efforts to protect our planet and to encourage its people to achieve a healthy lifestyle. We want our clients to enjoy long lives, fulfilling retirements and good health. Toward those goals, we offer the following tips. Buy locally. We live in a four-season climate that recently suffered through one of the longest winters on record. Still, we like to buy locally produced food whenever possible.  The shorter the distance from food source to table, the fresher the taste and the higher the concentration of nutrients. We also like the idea of supporting our local merchants. Park the car. When possible, we like to walk or bike rather than drive. Our CEO Christina Winch starts each morning with a brisk walk around the free range farm she owns outside Appleton. Other employees walk or ride their bikes to work when possible. Not only does this save on fuel cost and emissions, it also allows you to feel a little sun on your face and breathe a little fresh air into your lungs during a busy work day. Plant a little something. The gardens our employees plant grow in a range from large fields to patio containers, but they all encourage a connection between the earth and the consumer. I have an indoor herb garden that makes my family room smell delicious year-round. You can feel an extra sense of pride when you eat something you’ve grown yourself.  It’s also increasingly important to understand your food source and the fertilizing process used to grow it. Educate yourself. We have a library of books on financial and physical health here in the office and we’re happy to share. A little research will help you decide which habits are healthy and which may be passing fads, Turn off the faucet. You’d be surprised how… | Read More »

Make health your priority when you create a financial plan

While my main role as my clients’ financial advisor is to focus on their economic health, I often counsel them on matters related to their physical, emotional and spiritual health as well. No matter how you define your retirement, you have to prepare for it by nurturing all four aspects of your life. The easiest aspect is the one that has inspired thousands of cottage industries in this country. But your physical health doesn’t require an acai berry shake, a thigh master or the latest how-to-lose-weight-and-eat-what-you-like book. It’s much simpler than that. Keep an eye on what you eat and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to the source of your food as well. Exercise even if, like me, you don’t think you enjoy it. Try to get enough fresh air every day and enough sound sleep every night. Don’t avoid your annual checkups. Just as important as your physical health are your emotional health and spiritual development. Take time to nurture your friendships. We’re all busy, but we can and should find time to chat with our friends, play a little Bunco or enjoy a special meal. Value the time you spend with your family members. Spend some moments in quiet reflection and appreciate your faith. Find ways to strengthen it, through prayer or study. Pay attention to your finances too. Choose wisely the means by which you’ll grow your investments. Don’t allow someone to sell you a product when they should be helping you formulate a plan. Understand that even with vigilant attention to your physical health, you could face unexpected threats to your financial health. Accidents, illnesses, financial setbacks to love ones, all pose threats to the retirement you envision. Review your plan quarterly and reevaluate your goals and your risk tolerance. Even if you don’t plan to live until you’re 156 like I do, you need to plan carefully and pay attention to… | Read More »

The Real Secret to a Happy Retirement

I just heard a story from a friend who is 67-years young. Patsy is beautiful, vibrant, hilarious and fun, fun, fun.  She told me that she recently asked her 86-year old mom when she might expect to find herself living her “Golden Years.” Her Mom laughed and said “Are you kidding?  I just asked my 93 year old cousin the same thing! You might as well stop wishing.” Based on that, Patsy then gave me this excellent advice. “You just have to go out and live,” she said. “Enjoy every minute of the good, the bad and the ugly … and do it NOW! Laugh as often as possible, sing or dance every day and tell every story bigger than it was.” I liked what Patsy had to say and think that it contains a very important nugget ~ the “Golden Years” are not necessarily what they used to seem to be. We are all living longer, healthier lives.  Most people of retirement age are not even remotely interested in quitting and sitting and watching life happen around them. They are up for being involved and interested.  It may be a slower life they are looking for, but hardly anyone is interested in just plopping down, doing nothing. I asked Patsy if she had retired.  She exclaimed “Heck, no!  I tried retirement and I bored myself silly.  Plus, my husband and I would get on each other’s nerves day and night!  I’ve GOT to get out of the house and be productive.”   She currently works part-time as a book keeper at a salon.  It’s what she had been doing for 25 years and she’s good at it — she just didn’t want to do it 8-10 hours a day.  She chose her hours, made a little extra money and helped a new business get off the ground. Believe it or not, that is a snap-shot of what many “retirees” are… | Read More »