In my work, I present to many groups and organizations.  I try hard to get the word out about the benefits of controlling the dissolution of  assets.  Though it's not always a lively topic, I do try to make it fun and informative, presenting various asset dissolution options and solutions.  It's not a "one size fits all" topic, and there are many options and solutions.  The trick is finding the one that works best for you and your specific situation.

When I present, I often start by asking the audience to answer 3 questions for themselves:

  1. What Do I Have?

The answers I get to "What Do I Have" vary.  Some people feel they have no assets, but they have "stuff".  They sometimes feel they are being suffocated by "stuff", and would really like to clean out their property.  They understand if they declutter, they will probably experience a decrease of stress in their lives. 

Some people have assets they've held on to for years and their lives aren't really affected by the "stuff" they have hanging around.  Many times, they're at a point where they don't even see it.  If their "stuff" disappeared overnight, they might not even notice it!    Even though it's fine "stuff", it's just blended into the background of their lives.  Frankly, they could care less about most of it!

Still others have an attic or barn full of their grandparents, parents and kids stuff.  Sometimes there's so much there, they may not even sure sure what they have anymore!  The one thing they do know is, it's overwhelming!  They know they should tackle it, but they know it will be a lot of hard work, and probably not a lot of fun!

2.  What Am I Saving it For?

The next question is, "What Am I Saving it For?".  Like the first question, there are usually just a handful of answers.  They include, "I'm saving it for my kids", "I'm saving it to go through as a "project", or "I'm saving it because I don't know what else to do with it"!

I can write all day about the "I'm saving it for my kids" answer!  I watched my parents save beautiful, large pieces of antique furniture because they thought one of the kids would want them.  Truth was, the kids all thought they were beautiful pieces, but no one could fit them into their trucks, never mind their homes!   You know where I'm going with this–Talk to your kids about what you want to give them.  If it's possible, give it to them now!  By confirming they want it, you can declutter your life and watch them start enjoying it now!

OK, so the second answer is just silly!  Do you really want to "go through it as a "project", or do you just think that sounds like the answer everyone wants to hear?  If you have an opportunity for a "project", I'll bet you'd choose just about anything other than sorting through old "stuff".  Learning to paint, ballroom dance, surf the web….Those sound like fun things to do with your time, not "cleaning out old stuff"!

Reality is, answer #3 is usually the real answer!  People's "stuff" is usually a mix of new stuff, vintage stuff and old stuff.  It varies from jewelry to linens, from books to ephemera, from toys to antiques.  It's really hard to know where to start, and where to find the right resources to help! 

3.  What Do I Want?

That's the question that's most fun to ask, and definitely most fun to answer!  I know one of my own answers is, "I Want to Tour Italy".  Thinking about "what you want" is a little like thinking about winning the lottery–The possibilities are endless!

Reality is, I get a wide variety of answers.  Some of them include a new car, new appliances and vacations.  Sometimes the answer is, "I want to help fund my grandchild's college education", or "I want to set up a savings account for my niece or nephew". 

Now, revisit question #1 and #2, and your answers.  There is a way to declutter, downsize, and sometimes realize a return on your assets.  When you can achieve a return on "stuff", maybe you can do something about getting a little closer to realizing your answer to #3, and get a little closer to "What you Want".

Reality is, you can either control the dissolution of your assets, or you can leave it to someone else to do when you're not able to!  Frankly, I'd rather be the one who decides what I want to sell, keep or give away!  If I can benefit from the sale of some assets, more power to me!  I don't know about you, but I can guarantee there's always something on my list I can do with the return!

Stay Well, Stay Warm, and Remember….

Sometimes….Less is More!