Don’t Underestimate the Value of Good Advice

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By Jaymon Meikle, Financial Advisor

My family and I recently moved to Tennessee, and I was able to cross off a financial milestone – we bought our first home. My wife and I had spent our soon-to-be 12 years married bouncing from apartment to apartment, rental home to rental home. We aspired to own a home, but the stars didn’t align for us until we moved to Tennessee.

The experience of being a homeowner has been interesting, to say the least, but one thing I was not expecting was to have a desire to do home improvements. I enjoy looking at concepts of what homes could look like with some TLC, but I never had much of a draw to do any projects. That all changed once we bought our house.

After some discussion, my wife and I decided that our first big “project” would be to fix up the deck and pergola in our backyard. Both had been neglected for quite some time and had little protection against the rain.

There was a brief talk about hiring someone to help us with the project, but we thought it would be rather easy and wouldn’t take more than a couple of weekends – three at most. Little did we know we would soon get a lesson in the importance of having some professional help with a project like this one.

Before pictures:

We started by stripping the wood of the old stain and removing some pieces across the top of our pergola that had started to rot. We began to realize how long our “quick” project was actually going to take.

As we removed more and more of the rotten wood from our pergola, I began to worry we would need to replace a large amount of it – or maybe even remove the pergola altogether. That’s when my neighbor, just like Mr. Wilson in “Home Improvement,” looked over our shared fence to ask what we were doing, since he heard all the noise. He offered to come over and help, and I’m very grateful that he did, because he was able to talk me through what to look for when it comes to the quality of the wood.

Turns out he often visits construction sites for work and appraises the amount of lumber needed for a particular job. He saved me from a lot of potential regret and concern about what to do and was able to use his experience and expertise to guide me through some crucial spots.

(Me and our great neighbor)

With time, we got the old stain and rotted wood removed and were ready to paint. We went to Home Depot, and the representative there helped us find the best primer and paint for the job, along with the stain and sealer for the deck. Again, we were optimistic about how long it would take to paint the pergola and support walls, thinking we could have it done in one weekend. But that one weekend turned into three weekends and many weekday nights.

By this time, we were anxious to be done with the whole project. Unfortunately, we still had the most important part left – treating the deck. I rented some equipment to sand down the deck and prep it for staining. Thankfully, it took only one day to get most of the process done.

The end results are nice and we’re pleased with how things look, but the whole project ended up costing us more than twice what we had estimated and took six weeks, compared to our original assumption of just a couple weekends.

The moral of my story, which you can probably guess, is that I should have engaged professionals who knew what they were doing before we started the project. Even though I wasn’t planning to hire someone, they could have guided me on what to expect and been realistic about the time and monetary costs. Thankfully, my situation did not affect my finances long-term or put us in any real danger, but that’s not always the case when it comes to do-it-yourself situations.

Having been in the financial services industry for almost 10 years now, I have had the pleasure of working with a large variety of people. Some of those people are what we call DIY (do-it-yourself) investors/planners. They’ve have taken the time to study and learn how finances work and how to handle their finances, and most of them have done a great job. Unfortunately, I have also worked with people who tried the DIY route and ended up making costly mistakes or made assumptions that turned out to be wrong and derailed their plans. The adage “You don’t know what you don’t know” is very true at times.

If you happen consider yourself a DIY investor/planner, I’m not telling you this to scare you – this is more of a plea to engage a professional who can help bring to light areas that may need to be addressed, or who can at least confirm you’re on the right track.

That is why at Meikle Financial Group, we offer complimentary second opinions on your financial situation. Our professional team will be able to confirm that you are doing well or can help reveal areas that need to be addressed. If you want to hire us to help implement our suggestions, that’s great! If not, that’s fine, too. At least you will have the comfort of knowing you’re on the right track.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from a second opinion on your specific situation, please don’t hesitate to call at 623-869-7222!

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