Personal Finance column: My personal journey of financial creativity |

Personal Finance column: My personal journey of financial creativity

Danielle Howard

Last September, we welcomed our first grandchild, Zaylee Jean, into the world. She is, of course, perfect in every way. I now understand the excitement from others — “This is why we had kids!”

Good news: Our daughter and blooming family live in Oahu, Hawaii, a beautiful place to visit. Bad news: Our daughter and blooming family live in Oahu, Hawaii, an expensive place to get to and spend time at.

Technology has made the distance a bit more bearable. We Face Time, or Zoom, often. Photos appear on our digital frame, and text messages connect us quickly. However, at 7 months old, there is nothing like the feel of tiny hands wrapped around your finger, or the thrill of actually hitting their moving mouth with a spoon full of food.

We want to be an active part of their lives, and we need to figure out how to make it financially feasible to get over to the island several times a year. It isn’t about working longer, going through our savings, or taking on debt. In order to optimize the monetary elements we have, we need to be resourceful and creative.

I truly believe that if you are clear about what is foundationally important to you, build on your character assets, and utilize your financial assets wisely, you can create the life you want.

Our Personal Journey of Financial Creativity

When we arrived in Oahu last September, shortly after Zaylee’s birth, we had a bit of time on our hands as the new parents nested. We got online and checked out a variety of tours. We signed up for an Air B&B Experience. We listened to an intimate, cultural, professional family concert. We toured their farm and had a lovely afternoon at a very reasonable price. The world of technology opened the door to a new friendship. I found out that Keti had gone to school in Colorado and wanted to get back to the state for her kids to experience winter. We had both written books and had passions for organic farming and empowering women. Loving to share our home and valley, I invited them to come visit. This opened the door to a home exchange.

Seven months later (April), I am writing this post from the back porch of their home, listening to the non-stop roosters crowing. The cats are sunbathing close by, and palms are blowing in the breeze. My husband is tending the goats, sheep and geese, and we are a quick 10-minute drive to our daughter’s home.

Taking A Risk

We are both taking a calculated risk opening our homes and lives to strangers. On our visit, we are taking care of their animals and driving their vehicle. Thanks to technology, we are in close touch. We have been doing this type of exchange since our kids where young, and I get that it isn’t for everyone. There is an inherent level of trust and vulnerability that I feel unveils a richer, more fulfilling life experience.

The sharing economy has opened up the portal not only to minimizing expenses but opportunities for earning money. It is a new commodity that uses character assets as the currency. If you are an Uber driver, or client, you get “rated.” Same with renting a room/home on Air B&B or the other sites. Your character assets count — a lot. Clean, respectful, timely, friendly? Do you go out of the way to make your guests comfortable? Are you a pleasant, considerate guest that gets invited back?

Get Intentional and Resourceful

What is your good news in retirement? How do you want to optimize every financial aspect of your life to support you in unfolding your life potential? Yes, there are numbers that need to be crunched and strategies to take advantage of. Minimizing taxes based on current tax environment, managing distribution streams from retirement plans, pensions, Social Security in order to create sustainable cash flows are just a few of the moving parts. Now, we have more good news in how the “gig” economy can add a financially creative element to your “rewirement” season. I encourage you to explore what it has to offer from an income perspective or in how you manage expenses. Find the right expertise to walk alongside you to get financially creative and resourceful so you can focus on your good news.

Danielle Howard is a CFP® and CKA®. Wealth By Design LLC, an independent advisor is located at 23300 Two Rivers Rd in Basalt. Visit her at 970-927-3909 Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.

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