I was thinking about the subject of required, regular maintenance recently as I arrived to the office one morning and looked at the bleached-out parking lot and the few expanding cracks. My wife Betty and I have owned our commercial building for almost twenty years. I remember as Betty worked as the general building contractor, walls were being moved, heating and cooling systems were installed and the whole north-side of the building was a construction mess and what was to become our parking lot was simply a big mud bog. I was so relieved when spring came and the dirt and gravel was replaced with a thick layer of rock, then blacktop and finished off with bright yellow striping. It looked so new and as if it would last forever. Well, that sounds good; but that’s not how parking lots work.
In reality, a parking lot is good for about five years, before you need to contract a sealing company to clean out cracks and fill them with expandable tar, lay not one, but two coatings over the original asphalt and measure and re-stripe the parking spots once again.
Even though it’s been five years since we’ve had our parking lot resurfaced, I didn’t get a card in the mail for a black-topper, nor did I get a phone call. Instead, I simply kept my eye on it as time went by. If you want something to last, whether it be a car, a furnace or a parking lot; you have to remember the regular, required maintenance. The same goes with your financial life.
I’ve seen it myself. 401(k)s that are never updated. Mutual funds which are never adjusted. IRAs which are never revised or life insurance and wills which are never reviewed. Sometimes, I feel like some clients might simply think of me as the little orange light on their financial engine of life.
Your financial future is more important than a parking lot; treat it, as such. Make certain you always take care of it’s required, regular maintenance. If you do, it’ll last. If you don’t, it could simply crumble away, making its replacement a much, much bigger expense.