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Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

Planning for a home renovation is not something you do overnight. I wish I had followed that advice this past summer when I decided to renovate my basement after 10 years of putting it off. I knew what I wanted to accomplish – new carpeting, ceiling tiles, staircase, up-to-date bar area, and fresh paint. Unfortunately, I attacked this project without a real game plan, budget, or time frame in mind – bad move.

You Get What You Pay For

The first person that came to mind to hire was a close buddy of mine. He was a “handy man” who had helped me in the past with very general home improvements. We worked out a deal in which I wasn’t paying him much, given our friendship and favors I had done for him in the past. Two months later, he had mounted my TV, but had left wires hanging. Further, almost every other task he was hired to complete was left unfinished. Well, sometimes you get what you pay for.

Half way through the summer, I found myself sitting in a dark, unfinished basement, with no contractor to help me, and feeling I had made little progress considering how much time had gone by. So, I decided to look for another contractor, and I hired the first company I could find online. A few thousand dollars later (spent on the new contractor), my basement had new light fixtures and ceiling tiles from the 20th century, but I couldn’t enjoy it because the staircase wasn’t up to code and dangerous to use.

As the end of summer approached, my basement still wasn’t finished, and I had already spent nearly all my “budget” earmarked for this project. I realized that from the get go, I hadn’t put any time into planning and only focused on getting the job done. So, after taking some time to dig around, I finally hired a company who seemed experienced and reputable. I met with the contractor and we discussed the outcome I wanted, the specific features I desired, and together created a long-term construction plan that was practical and feasible. We then prioritized which work needed to get done immediately, and agreed on what could be delayed, such as the full bar to host my friends to watch major sporting events.

A to Z

As I sit in my nearly-finished basement now, I realize how important it is to consider seeking professional expertise for any long-term project one has.  Whether you are hiring a contractor or a financial planner, it’s important to take the time to find someone who has your best interest in mind, who will help identify and clarify your goals, and establish a personalized game plan that is realistic. It is important to strategize and prioritize how to get from A to Z, and taking those necessary steps can allow you to spend more time enjoying life’s pleasures, and less time sitting in your un-finished basement.

Jason Cole

Jason Cole is a financial advisor and partner at Abacus Wealth Partners.

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