Make Change(s)

By Mark Bertrang, The Creator of the Financialoscopy® on Thursday, September 8th 2022


I had some free time this past Sunday so I decided to take a long, leisurely drive through the countryside, which took me about 6 hours. I went from one small town to another in Minnesota and then down to Iowa and back up through Wisconsin, and I realized at 4 o’clock in the afternoon that I had never gotten around to having lunch. Instead of going to a regular franchise place where I knew what the menu was going to be, I looked around for something local and unique. On the main drag of Prairie du Chien, I found a little place called “Pete’s Hamburger Stand”. This little hut could barely hold the 3 people that were in there making the hamburgers and taking the orders inside. Their menu was very simple: hamburger, soda pop, chips. I decided to try 2 of their hamburgers. Now, Pete’s Hamburgers has been around since 1908, so obviously they have figured out a way to stay successful in what they do. So, I got my 2 hamburgers. They asked what I wanted on it. I asked what my choices were. They said: onions, ketchup, mustard, or ground mustard. Onions, yes please! Ground mustard, absolutely! And since I’m having something unhealthy, let’s go with a Diet Pepsi along with it. So, I had that as well.

Here's the interesting part of the story: I had not seen one of these in quite some time: when I got my change, I received a 50-cent piece. This got me thinking about a conversation I wanted to have first thing on Monday morning. Our staff really varies in ages: 20s, 30s, 40s, and …then there’s me in my early 60s. During our regular team meeting in the morning, I asked everyone if they could tell me who is on the 10-cent piece, a quarter, a 50-cent piece, a dollar coin, etc. I was surprised. The young folks, the people in their 20s and 30s, didn’t know 50% of the answers. Again, it got worse when I got to actual bills. Everybody knew what is on a 1-dollar and what is on a 100 (George Washington and Benjamin Franklin), but they got it wrong when I asked about a 5, 10, and 20, which everyone seems to carry, or a 50-dollar bill.

50% of our young team members did not know who was on their money. Why? Because they are dealing in the digital world. You and I, who might be a little older, are used to dealing in the world where we are used to dollars and change. I learned recently that the ATM machine was created in 1975, but it took an entire generation to catch up mentality-wise because the thought of putting money into a machine or taking money out of a machine was just foreign to us. Now, we wouldn’t be able to live without ATM machines, but now things are more digital. One of our staff members only handles money through their phone. Another uses debit cards for everything. I still write physical checks on occasion. Especially for business purposes because I like the way that checks document transactions.

Where am I going with this? It doesn’t make any difference whether you know who is on the 50-cent piece (It’s John Kennedy) or the 50-dollar bill. What is important is: do you have the discipline in place? Do you have the correct frame of mind to be able to plan for today, regarding your budget, and to plan for the future, whether that is planning for retirement or other things that you may want to accomplish? What we do here is often more behavioral. What is your behavior regarding your money? Are you making the right choices to maximize what it is you want to accomplish? It’s about life. It’s about behavior. It’s about dreams. It’s about not only putting together the rational, but also the systems and behavior in place to get you to where you want to go. Then, we think backwards about what tools we can use to make that happen for you.

So, it doesn’t make any difference if you know who’s on what coin or who is on what bill. If you have goals and aspirations and dreams for the future, we can be the group of people to help you get there.

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