Act 341

Learn from your own mistakes

I’ve written about learning from the mistakes of others but haven’t reallly addressed learning from my own mistakes.

I made a minor one today. Tried to make a curry soup with some roasted peppers. The peppers were burnt, the soup was terrible unless you like soup that tastes likes smalls shreds of burnt rubber that is. Yuck. It’s down the drain for that effort.

I’ve learned from other mistakes too. I should not have trusted that my credit union’s advice was best for me. It wasn’t. I should not have thought that I needed mortgage insurance when I also had life insurance. I didn’t. I should not have assumed my credit report was accurate. It wasn’t.

I should not have assumed that building a successful-ish business over 15 years meant I would be bankable when I needed a business loan. It isn’t.

And I’m still learning. That’s the joy I’ve found in this blog. I can learn. I can improve. I can make it better. It’s working. Slowly. But it’s working.

So make mistakes. It’s okay as long as you learn from them. It really is.

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Act 242

Invite your neighbours over.

So much of our hard earned money is spent protecting ourselves from what can go wrong. Car alarms, home alarms, home insurance, health insurance, life insurance and my least favourite of all, mortgage insurance.

Imagine if only a fraction of that outlay was spent on making things better – on turning strangers into friends – for example.

Yesterday we celebrated our 14th annual corn roast with family, friends and neighbours – for way less than an annual insurance premium and for much more meaning. We got corn from a local farm, made up a few hamburger patties and buns, put out a few chips and some goodies and the fun was afoot. We caught up on news and views, had some laughs and marveled and how quickly the kids are growing on this eve of another school year. Being connected to your community is key to a sense of real safety – as opposed to the false sense of security of an alarm system or an insurance policy. Because we’re connected, we watch out for each other. You can’t pay for that kind of safety – and it’s way more fun than writing a cheque.

And, there’s leftover corn to boot – so today’s act will involve corn bread of some kind 🙂 – stay tuned. and if you’re nearby, stop in for a piece.

Happy Labour Day!

Act 57

Make sure the eggs in your basket come from different chicken farmers

Defying my debt is about admitting to mistakes. And I’ve made my fair share.

One of which, I think, was the supposed convenience of keeping most of my financial “stuff” at a single institution. I do most of my banking at a credit union. It’s convenient. I like the idea of being a member owner.

I have my mortgage, my personal accounts, my business accounts, my old (sniff) RRSPs, my life insurance, my mortgage insurance and even my car insurance in the same place. I could be wrong, but I think that cost me.

What I should have done was get a mortgage broker and an insurance broker. I should have placed my teenie tiny “wealth” portfolio somewhere else too.

It’s more complicated and it takes more time but I think I would have been better served by seeking out specialists in each area rather than relying on the admittedly kind and helpful generalists at the credit union. I know, for example, that my life insurance meeting led to a discussion about my home’s value and the “opportunity” to refinance to buy some RRSPs. I also know that my request for a line of credit led to a conversation about cashing in those RRSPs to “simplify” things. Had I been dealing with specialists, I think I would have got well, I won’t say better, that might be rude, but more specialized advice.

And money is a very specialized business. My specialty it would appear, is spending it. I admit that too. But things are changing one day at a time. Saturday I will meet with the credit union again to see about options available to me. And I’ll have my LVC (Lifetime Value as a Customer) tucked firmly in my wallet (see Act 47).