January 31, 2010

Money, money, money.

We need it. It's hard to get. Some have more than others. Some don't have any. Money. "Love of money is the root of all evil." The Bible. Jackie Mason - "I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something." Edith Wharton - "The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it." Rita Rudner - "Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be." Woody Allen - "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons."

I'm at the age when I'm thinking about retirement. How good it could be, how much I'd like not to work, what wonderful things I could do with my time.....And then I wake up and think about the reality of how much money I might have, how much money I would need, and how the two don't jive. I think about how I should have saved more all these years, how I shouldn't have bought this or that, how I should have invested better, how I should have sought a more lucrative career. Shouda, woulda, coulda.

So it was good timing to have a financial planner as our Wow speaker this month. Meet Elad Goren, partner in Financial Pointe, a 34-year-old man who was well dressed, well spoken, and very down-to-earth, the advisor to one of our Wowettes who is retiring with a nice solid nest-egg. He taught us about what financial planners actually do, which is a lot more than investing your money, and talked about how boring his plans for our money will be. Find a way to make our money grow and leave it there. How easy is that? It was surprising how little we all know about investments and how little money some of us have. It's never too late to start making money for our retirement, he assured us. That's good news.

I like Elad. He was a good teacher, explaining concepts so we all understood them easily. Like how people pull their money out of their plans when the value goes down and then put the money back in when the value goes up. His example was like going to Nordstrom's for a 50% off sale and saying we would wait until the prices went up again before we buy. It's amazing that, with something as vital as our money we are not so smart.

Just like any other of life's problems, it's best not to just sit and worry, but to take action. Best not to fret about the future, but do constructive things to make it better and still enjoy the moment. So my advice is to call Elad at 818-338-3570 or 888-339-3570 and talk about your money and your future. He promises to take any calls and answer any questions. Nice guy, seemed honest and smart. And he just might make your future greener!

January 27, 2010

Marriage as a purchase.

Geez, I haven't posted in forever! Really, not much to say, just living a quiet life, single, listening to married girlfriends reminding me how being married isn't necessarily a great thing, going out with single girlfriends and having the best time, and fielding phone calls from other single women friends who are meeting not-so-fab men. Ah, last week I did two loads of laundry and left the clean clothes on my kitchen bar counter for five days and no one complained. No one noticed. I can do 1000 piece puzzles on my kitchen table, wear baggy sweats, and not get dressed on the weekend and no one notices. Is that bad? Naw, kinda cool, I think.

So I'm home from work on a Wednesday, having survived another day working for doctors. Excellent docs, but picky and unreasonable and demanding. Another day, another dollar. And I remain grateful to have a job in these tough economic times.

So I have that new doctor, finally calming down after three years working with us, maybe finally realizing that our combined 50 years experience might just mean that we know more about running a medical office than a new doctor with zero, none, not-one-minute, of training in billing, coding, scheduling, authorizations, collections, and the other zillion things required for us to have such a successful office. We're actually starting to enjoy him, now that he realizes that we might be an asset to him.

Our new doc is pushing to switch to an EMR system, the new electronic medical records package we can use for all the office functions and allow us to see our records online, rather than in paper charts. I find it exciting and daunting all at once, having heard many horror stories about how it can take six to nine months or more to get past the chaos of learning and using this kind of system. Remember, I'm the one who went to college in my 40s and had the best time, so clearly I like a challenge.

So I've been talking to a guy at one of the systems we're considering for the office, a smart and rather no-nonsense guy who tells it like it is, but clearly thinks his system is one of the best. After days and days of me calling him with my "Question of the Day," he finally said that buying such a system is like deciding who to marry, that we should make a very careful decision since getting out of it can be a nightmare. I don't know, I looked at 60 houses before buying mine and researched many long hours before buying my Suburu, but made some pretty emotional and impetuous decisions about husbands. I still have my house and my Suburu, but I'm definitely single.

Being human beings, maybe most or even all of our decisions are emotional. I buy a dress because it makes me feel pretty or sexy. I like to eat comfort food, see funny movies so I can laugh and romantic movies so I can feel happy, and I like to be with my friends because I feel loved and wanted. We buy things or pick out mates based on what we hope to feel, wishing that the object will bring us satisfaction or our mate will hold our hand in hard times. Just as whatever system our office buys will have its good and bad points, the mates we choose will have qualities we like and some we wish he didn't have. We make our decisions based on the information we have at the time and the hopes we wish it will fulfill and sometimes we get more information and regret our decisions. But sometimes not making decisions is worse, requiring us to use old outdated software or not dating and missing out on the possibility of a new romance. So I say to my docs, pick one and let's get started! And to myself, maybe it's time for me to give a new guy a chance. Maybe.