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Peanut Butter Jar

How Peanut Butter Tells My Personal Fiscalosophy Story

Photo of author, Teresa Michaels, CFP®.
Teresa Michaels, CFP®
Regional Manager and Financial Strategist

One of my favorite aspects of my role as a financial advisor at McKinley Carter Wealth Services is that I have the opportunity to hear so many fascinating client stories. From newlyweds getting started to business owners selling their life’s passion and turning the page to another chapter in life. I hear it all and really enjoy learning about the motivations and dreams of my clients through all stages of their personal and professional lives.

The collection of stories and experiences throughout each of our lives make up who we are today as well as help shape our decisions for the future. Very often, we don’t realize just how much a certain experience or encounter may have impacted us, until someone points to it or draws it out of us. As adults, the way we view the world and make decisions for ourselves and family members may originate from how we were raised, work or educational experiences, or social interactions with friends and neighbors.

Our experiences with finances are no different. Sometimes we are very cavalier about those unique lessons learned we have gained over the years in regards to money. Believe it or not, our past experiences with money, or the lack thereof, have likely shaped our beliefs and how we choose to handle our own money today and in the future.

I, myself, grew up in a family with 11 siblings along with two loving parents that ran a pretty tight ship, as you can imagine. You can also probably guess that it was expensive to feed so many hungry mouths at the table. Amongst the family favorites was peanut butter! We didn’t discriminate what kind of peanut butter, we just liked peanut butter. In order to maximize the number of sandwiches that we gathered from the jar, we would scrape the peanut butter jar clean with the spatula to ensure we squeezed every penny of value out of the purchase. Although I don’t have nearly the number of mouths to feed today, I continue to scrape the sides of my peanut butter jar with a spatula. My husband may call me cheap; but I choose to call myself thrifty.

As your financial advisor, I not only want to know about your goals and aspirations for the future, but I also want to have a better understanding about how you got to where you are today. Not many of us can go through life unscathed from our financial missteps. Long before we even received our first paycheck, financial missteps or wrong decisions (in hindsight) provide us with much-needed lessons learned – those nuggets of parental wisdom we will likely pass down to our children and grandchildren.

Several years ago, Mitch Anthony, a well-regarded financial author and speaker, introduced the world to the concept of Fiscalosophy. Fiscalosophy is defined as “incorporating our past relationship with money (good, bad or indifferent) into our conversation for creating a plan to achieve our goals.” Fiscalosophy involves understanding one’s personal comfort level, as well as a range of details from his/her perspective in the following areas:

  • Debt
  • Savings
  • Spending
  • Insurance
  • Investment in the stock market
  • Needs for children
  • Desire to give to others
  • Feelings about retirement

By understanding these informational details and experiences, an advisor can better understand your financial preferences as they assist you in planning for your best financial future. At McKinley Carter, we have adopted fiscalosophy into our client care service standards. Be certain to share your complete story with your advisor so that they may better understand your experiences and how they may have shaped your ideologies about the future. Do you scrape peanut butter jars too?

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