MY TWO CENTS:
After nearly 20 years in our first home, our family moved into a different home during the summer of 2020. This home is surrounded by trees and could be considered “in the woods.” The trees are beautiful to watch change colors through the seasons, and the opportunity to have wildlife walk right up to (and sometimes into) our backyard is pretty fun!
One of the BIG changes for us was the number of leaves that land in our yard in the fall. Now, we knew it was going to be different, but I sure had a rude awakening when it took me over 10 hours of leaf blowing to get the yard cleared before the snow fell last year.
This year, though, I knew I’d be prepared. We got a bag system for our mower, developed a plan for when to cut the grass short, and even talked through a strategy with a couple of more experienced friends and professional lawn-care folks of how to get those pesky leaves off the grass.
Last weekend, it looked like we had a good number of leaves down, so I put the plan into motion. The grass got cut just as planned. The leaves and clippings were moved around in-line with the strategy. And…it only took me about 2 hours. In full disclosure, I could see the extra leaves on the trees and knew there would be another round of work, but was feeling very confident that would just be a quick “touch-up” effort once the rest came down.
As I type this edition of MTC, I reminded of how inexperienced I am in this whole leaf management and yard maintenance thing. I look out my window to see a blanket (not just one of those thin little “warm up a touch” blankets, but a thick, heavy, “cozy in for a long winter’s night” kind of blanket) of leaves hiding all but the most determined blades of green grass. And, the rain is currently falling which will help those dirty buggers stick to the grass. Guess I’ll have to see about starting the plan over fresh this weekend…if we can get it to dry out.
You might very well be asking yourself why in the world Scott is sharing his leaf lessons as part of MTC. And, if you’ve been a reader for awhile, you probably already know I’m going to try and tie this into a principal worth consideration. So…here it is:
Sometimes our plans don’t work they way we had hoped.
Profound, I know. Isn’t it funny, though, how we can plan and prepare, pontificate and posture, peddle and pounce all to have our grand design not play out the way we had hoped?!?
Since part of the work we do for our clients is planning for how they can focus on their highest priorities and achieve their legacy purposes, I’m reminded about the value of contingencies, back-up strategies, and extra cushion. If we plan for a family’s lifestyle needs to require every dollar of income and substantial short-term growth in their portfolio without considering the things that could go wrong, we are preparing them for failure. It’s an imperative that we work through the “what if” scenarios of life to grow our confidence that those unforeseen storms won’t sink our ship.
Hopefully I’ll get a little lucky this year with my leaves. My contingency and extra cushion in completing my priority of a leaf-free yard before snow fall is the free weekends between now and knee-deep snow. If the weather cooperates, the plan will all work out…just a little later than hoped. If not, I may have to clear leaves and snow with a shovel!
Make it a great week!!
Scott Cousino, CFP®, CEPA®