By Nick Gertsema, CFP®, ChFC®, RICP®, AIF®, CEO & Wealth Advisor
It all started with record rainfall and water in our basement. When I noticed some sheetrock was wet a lot higher up than I expected, I went to the best source for help I could think of: Google. After a handful or articles and YouTube videos, I knew my next steps.
I learned “flood cutting” and where to look for moisture. I even called a basement mold abatement specialist, since Google said that would be cost-effective. After seeing what the estimate was and doubting a bit of what I saw, I went back to Google and learned that it would be easiest and most cost-efficient if I just pulled out all of the drywall.
I’m more Tim Taylor than Bob Vila.
After pulling out sheetrock, I started to get concerned about a wall that wasn’t next to the foundation. Before I knew it, that wall was gone. Unfortunately, so was about a fourth of the dropped ceiling and a light fixture. Then I realized that the flooring that was inside the room didn’t match anything on the outside.
Fast forward about a year, throw in a bunch of trips to the hardware store, multiple new tools that I wound up not needing, and demolition was complete. All-in, I had already spent as much money or more than it would have cost to have an expert come in and take care of it.
After watching countless instructional videos on YouTube, reading article after article, and talking to people I knew, I finally came to the realization that there was a more efficient way to go about this. It was time to bring in experts.
The repairs sped up with experts at the helm.
At this point, things started happening quickly. We brought in a general contractor, and it was almost like he was looking at a different basement. The way he looked at things was completely different than I had been approaching it. When I explained what I was trying to do, he was able to see why I was having trouble, fix the errors I made, and have better ideas about how to fix it.
Once the subcontractors showed up, I witnessed first-hand the value of experience and know-how. They came in and would do a job that would take me an entire weekend to do poorly and knocked it out in a few hours with a higher quality than I was able to do myself. Things that were roadblocks for me were minor inconveniences to them. Mistakes I was planning on making were seen well in advance and avoided.
As the project has continued, I realized that I had been throwing away money and that bringing in the professionals was something I should have considered a long time ago.
X marks the spot.
There’s an old story that’s (probably erroneously) attributed to Henry Ford and Nikola Tesla. Ford was having an issue at one of his factories and hired Tesla to come in and have a look. Tesla walked up to a wall of a boilerplate and make a big chalk “X”, indicating that’s where the problem was. Ford was excited and asked Tesla to bill him. When the bill showed up, it was for $10,000. Ford, infuriated, asked Tesla for an itemized bill or he wouldn’t pay it. Tesla responded with the itemized bill:
- $1 for chalk
- $9,999 for knowing where to make the “X”
Even though my basement project would have probably been much less expensive had I just called in a general contractor in the beginning, it’s not just about the money. I now know that everything in my basement is taken care of by a professional who has learned all the lessons I was attempting to learn the hard way. They have the experience and education in dealing with something that seems simple but was way more complicated than I realized. Having the confidence in knowing that someone who knew what they were doing took care of everything helps my family sleep well at night.
Rely on the knowledge of professionals.
Financial planning can be this way as well. It’s about working with someone who has seen what you may be going through and offers some advice. The advice may seem simple, but good, timely advice can make things tremendously easier and offer confidence that someone you can trust is taking care of things.
Everything starts with a financial plan. To have a professional look over, build, or update your financial plan, give us a call at (816) 259-5060 or request an appointment.