The Connection between Home Renovations and Financial Planning

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

About two months ago, my wife and I decided that it was time to take the plunge and finish our basement.  As I’m sure many of you can relate to, our 18 month old son’s toys have quickly taken over our living room. What was once a peaceful area for us to relax and watch some TV, has literally turned into a mini-jungle gym! We wanted more room for his play area as well as give us some extra space for entertaining friends and family. Home renovations are a pain. We’ve all been there. They’re expensive, stressful, and can often time end up being a money pit. After much thought and months of saving, however, we decided it was the right time to move forward with our project.

I think it’s important to note that I am NOT a do-it-yourself kind of guy. The extent of my handyman skills are changing lightbulbs and hanging a picture. I think acknowledging this as a weakness is extremely important. Since I know home improvements are not my forte, we’ve elected to delegate this work and hire a professional to make sure our project was done properly and to our liking. Even if I had the expertise to do some of the work on my own, I know I wouldn’t want my spare time to be consumed working on the basement. I’d much rather spend that time with my family and friends. 

We spent several weeks interviewing different contractors to determine who we felt would be the best fit for our project. Many things were taken into account throughout this process. Referrals from friends and family, quality of work, level of comfort and cost, just to name a few. We probably met with five contractors who all wanted the job, and who were all fairly close in price. Jack, the contractor we ended up hiring, was not the cheapest, but he wasn’t the most expensive. We decided to move forward with him because we gained a level of trust with him and knew he did quality work for mutual friends and family members. Jack won me over when I called him about five times within two days, asking him what probably seemed like simple, and more than likely, dumb questions. To Jack’s credit, however, he never lost his patience with me or made me feel silly for asking them. He was willing to make sure my mind was at ease, knowing this was not something I was an expert in. Although the process has been stressful at times, Jack has kept us in the loop the entire time, been extremely honest and overall, has done a phenomenal job building out our basement to how we had envisioned. 

As our basement is in the final stages of completion, I couldn’t help but take a step back and realize how many similarities existed with our home renovation and how we work together with clients at The Center. Over our 30+ year history, in my opinion and experiences, the clients that have the most potential success are those who realize that investing and financial planning is not an area of expertise or something they want to spend free time on. They value delegating, have the desire to hire a professional they trust and know we will be with them throughout each step of life to help them achieve their personal and financial goals. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was to always identify and accept the things you are not an expert in, and hire a professional to do the work right for you. I firmly believe those who find the most success in life are masters at this. By doing so, it allows us to focus more energy on the areas we are truly passionate about. Time is hard to come by, why not try to spend more of it on the things that create more meaning and happiness for us and our family? So give us a call when you’re ready to delegate, we’re always here to help and answer your questions!

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.

Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler, CFP®, and not necessarily those of Raymond James.