Bathroom Reno Snags Give a Fresh Perspective on Financial Planning

As you might expect from a financial planner, masterminding has always been a virtue of mine.  As a teenager, I remember planning summer vacations.  I planned my wedding in great detail, and it was magical.  I have created more retirement plans than I can count.  I have even grown my business through planning. If you'd asked me a year ago, I would have said planning was always my key to success!  But then, something happened last year, and I felt I met my match!

reno gives financial planning perspective

No, I'm not talking about how the coronavirus affected the entire world. I'm talking about a simple master bathroom renovation and how it upended my home!  Sounds crazy, right?  I thought it would be easy with proper preparation.  After all, I've binge-watched HGTV for years, and they manage to completely demolish and reconstruct an entire house in every half-hour episode.  So, for years, I've been watching and planning.  But not taking action.

There's always been a side of me that's been fearful and procrastinated on such a project.  Since I'm not a professional contractor, I assumed there were things I would need to know.  I studied.  I read more.  I contemplated.  I talked to others who've been through the process.  And yet, I failed even to begin the project.  No actual plans were put in place! 

In fact, the more I learned and processed information, the more overwhelming it seemed! At least now I understood why some people would put off putting together a financial plan.  It can be challenging to overcome some obstacles on your own.  I knew I needed professional help.

It's an understatement to say doing the actual construction ourselves would be beyond our capabilities.  You might have read a previous article about my husband's (lack of) handyman skills.  Another show I've seen many times is Renovation Realities, where amateurs hilariously face renovation nightmares.  Not for me!  Always get a professional!

So, I made arrangements to hire the best professional contractor I knew, Dennis Hodell of Solid Rock Construction.  Previously, he had done a fantastic job with our office's complete renovation and I had complete confidence in his abilities!  But, I still needed a plan.  So, I brought together an experienced team that included an interior designer, Creative Kitchens and Bath for cabinet designs, and a local tile and flooring company.  I felt I had a solid collection of professionals to get the job done.

So, after putting off this much-needed project for over a year, we finally began late last year.  Everything was well planned out in advance.  My thought was, it should be completed within two weeks max, right? Not so much.  My house is still in an upheaval, weeks later!  This is despite my fantastic contractors and their best efforts to accommodate me. I've realized that many of the plans that looked good on paper just don't translate well into reality.

Similarly, it's fair to say not all financial plans develop exactly as intended when initiated.  We never know what life has in store.  Yet, it's important to have a road map.  Just sometimes, you find it's not working out like planned.  You need to adjust along the way.  Financial plans are meant to be fluid.  Likewise, I've learned to be very fluid with this reno project.

One particularly frustrating issue that I faced was when we put the new bathtub in place, we realized it was too small.  Like WAY too small!  No grown adult could conceivably fit comfortably, and it looked ridiculous as well.  Of course, I would have realized this if I'd been able to purchase the tub locally, but unfortunately, after visiting every store within miles, I had to resort to ordering online to get what I thought I needed.

So, you would think that finding a replacement would be very easy, right?  Just order a larger tub.  No, not so easy, as it turns out there were many parameters already set, from the space available to the plumbing fixtures and even limitations of what would fit through our door!  I was practically at the point where I needed to compare dimensions, shapes, and configurations on a spreadsheet!  After hours of scouring the web, comparing, measuring, and eliminating possibilities based upon the necessary criteria, I was frustrated beyond belief.  Why isn't there a software program that can sort and filter all bathtubs to make this decision easier?

I will never take for granted the sophisticated financial software tools I use to create plans and manage wealth.  At my fingertips, I've got an amazing array of data and reports readily available to aid in the decision-making process.   The planning process's pillar is providing detailed reporting and projects that can expertly guide my clients towards their goals.  I didn't quite grasp how essential these tools were until I stepped out of my field of expertise. I've gained some perspective on how much easier I'm able to make it for my financial planning clients.  When an adjustment is needed, the heavy lifting is done for them.

Another surprising thing about this project is the coordination required.  Again, my contractors were fantastic with oversight.  Still, there were often times I needed to be involved in the coordination and decisions between parties.  There were cabinet makers, plumbers, flooring companies, electrical considerations, fixtures and more.  There were ordering logistics, delivery, scheduling and more.  All aspects of the plan had to integrate seamlessly or it would end up like the Frankenstein's monster of bathrooms.    It wasn't always possible to bring all parties together and ultimately the final decisions were mine.  I had to pull an array of information from varying sources and collaborate between parties to get enough info even to make a decision.

One thing this process affirmed was the value McBeath Financial Group provides as a one stop shop for wealth management.  Our services not only include the planning but also we coordinate, implement and manage all facets of investing, tax strategy, retirement income, estate planning and much more!  With one point of contact, my clients have access to one professional that can coordinate and harmonize the various details for money management.

As we near the end of the project and I'm seeing the bathroom of my dreams materialize, I'm reflecting upon the journey. I've mentioned the stress and challenges along the way, and I know most of this could have been avoided.  Like I've said, I hired the best professionals. It's often my own undoing that I'm extremely detail-oriented and a perfectionist.  I probably micromanaged small decisions along the way.   Our hired professionals were experienced and quite capable of easing my burden.  Yet, they were patient, kind, and pleasant in letting me be involved in a project to complete it to perfection.

Similarly, I'm always grateful for my own clients. I'm blessed with relationships where they respect my professional opinion. It's a rewarding process when we collaborate to design and manage a financial plan that meets the vision for their life. It's such a rewarding process to see the realization of their dreams.  And if one of those dreams happens to be soaking in a tub that fits, don't ask me! I'm out of the renovation business, but I do have a referral to a fantastic contractor!

Bloomington Normal Retirement Planner Krista McBeathKrista McBeath is an Investment Advisor, Chartered Financial Consultant, a Licensed Insurance Advisor, a Fiduciary, and an experienced tax advisor who specializes in financial planning, investments, and insurance.

She utilizes advanced tools for in-depth calculations that analyze tax and retirement scenarios to help their clients avoid a future tax time-bomb.  Whether this means enjoying more of your hard-earned money in retirement or passing along assets to loved ones, with less tax burden, planning makes the difference.

click to schedule an appointment with financial planner Krista McBeath of Normal IL