Wehners Wisdom Winter 2012 Wehner's WisdomWinter 2012 Karen S. Wehner ♦ Wehner & Associates ♦ 4565 Wilson Street, Minnetonka, MN 55343 ♦ Phone: (952) 937-5072 Successful Client: Terry WarnerTerry and I met many years ago, but he just recently became a client. What is so inspirational about his story is the superb way he’s handled what has become a typical scenario in Corporate America - layoff. Terry worked for Cargill for over 25 years in their printing area. He was, like many baby boomers, comfortable, feeling as though he had a home until retirement. Being fiscally conservative, he paid a little extra on the house and participated in the 401K. The outstanding part of Terry’s plan is his natural way of spending less than he makes – and it paid off in spades.A few years ago, before the 2008 meltdown, Cargill outsourced the printing function of the company, and he got laid off – right about the time the earnings part of a career often takes off. He received a severance package, and without anyone else’s advice, was able to pay off most of the home he had purchased in the late 80’s – a smart move indeed! A short time later, he was able to completely pay off the home. Since then, he has had several jobs, most of them either temporary, or unfulfilling to say the least. He does a marvelous job of describing each adventure over the last few years! The ending of the story is nowhere near since he’s not 60, but the moves we make today do create a future. We’re still discussing options, but the point is he’s made great choices that for today can keep him in his world. He is able to say no to the jobs that eat away at his soul – he’s also free of the worry of losing the home he’s worked so hard for. What an honor it is to serve such a special person! Thanks for the opportunity Terry – I’m looking forward to being a part of the next chapter in your story! Happy Holidays!I hope each and every one of you has a terrific Year End, and that 2012 is full of each and every wish coming true!I want you each to know that I missed doing the big Holiday Gathering this year – but after much deliberation, I realized that it had simply outgrown my house! I was thrilled that more than 70 people attended in 2010! I looked around for a hall or room to rent, but there just wasn’t the right fit! However, I’ve not given up on parties! For those of you that remember the pig roast from last summer, and those of you that missed it, we’ll move the BIG event to the outdoors. It’ll be some time in the second half of June, and we’ll have entertainment, yard games, and best of all, tons of room for people to sit! Stay tuned for details to come in the spring newsletter. I’d like to say thanks to all of my clients and readers for your confidence and for being a part of the great things happening at Wehner & Associates. No matter what the market does, we’ll find the gift for each of us! I’m wishing each of you the best of 2012. Please come see me!The European Mess & the OpportunityIt seems as though something new and exciting is happening each and every day in Europe. First the leaders promise to work together and the market jumps by several hundred points – then something is said that is totally misunderstood and the market dives. Here are my thoughts –First of all, you are asking somebody to either pay money or lose money or somehow give up something they’ve worked for – never an easy, simple task.Second, you are trying to get 17 different cultures and 17 different governments to cooperate, and most of them don’t even speak the same language! It’s a huge task to bring that many differing cultures to an agreement. Third, some of the troubled countries have years of spending more than they make embedded into their way of life – it takes years to change. Fourth, many of the countries, particularly those with the biggest debt, have made promises to their citizens that now, unfortunately, they may be unable to keep. Making adjustments to account for this is difficult at best and probably won’t be done without conflict. However, let’s think about the huge opportunity this brings! People have a chance to create a much stronger union than they had before, and this will give them opportunities in business they never had before. Europe is the 3rd largest economy in the world, and Germany, in particular, is one of world’s largest manufacturing centers. With more unity and a stronger treaty, the resources that each country brings can be leveraged into something great to be shared with the world. Perhaps instead of 17 individual countries, they can create a union similar to the US and make the most of the gifts of each country. All of these countries have something to share to help make the world a better place, and it’s possible for all of us – even the frontier and developing countries – to prosper, and that’s an exciting possibility. A Consumer Tip for You!I don’t know about you, but coupons absolutely drive me crazy! I wish the stores would just lower their prices and be done with it! However, I’d like to share a simple idea that maybe will help you make the money go a little further! I know it’s helping me. First, check stores you shop in - if they offer a rewards program, take advantage, as long as you’re buying anyway. Often the coupons from the rewards come at a predetermined time, and you can plan your purchases to fit. Find a gas station near home, and use their discounts. I know my grocery store gives 5 cents a gallon coupons, so I do double duty! Lastly, as long as you pay it off, put your purchases on a credit card that gives cash back. All of these things can help stretch dollars further and make life a little better. Looking forward to seeing you in 2012!Let’s make it the best year ever.