As life generally goes, there are always things that happen that you were unable to foresee or plan for.  Conversely, there are plenty of events and moments in life that we look forward to in the future and take great pride in planning.  One of the more important aspects of planning for a major life event is to get guidance from those who know the most about what you will be taking on.  Sometimes finding the best professionals for the job is tricky, but we have taken the guesswork out of the process by providing information from experts who can be of assistance to you in your upcoming endeavors.

Investment Planning

Buying a home is not only one of the largest monetary and long-term investments that a person is likely to make in their lifetime, it is also a sizeable commitment of time and resources in order to find the right fit for your needs, desires and lifestyle.  There are many considerations that go into the process of buying a home, and the more you know the more likely you are to have a successful experience and purchase a home you are completely satisfied with and can take pride in.

chad herbolsheimer oakwood homes omaha nebraskaChad Herbolsheimer, Regional Vice President for Oakwood Homes, advises, “Finding the home that is right for you and your family can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. As you begin the search to find your new home, make a list of the things that are important to you to have in your new home as a guide. Building a home allows the homebuyer to design it to be uniquely theirs and ensures that they get everything they are looking for.”

Oakwood Homes has been helping homeowners build the home of their dreams for over 20 years. They have recently entered the Omaha market, bringing a fresh new look.  With homes that feature four sided architecture, ceiling detail, clerestory windows and kitchens perfect for entertaining, Oakwood Homes works to appeal to what buyers are looking for in their new home at a price that will fit any buyers’ budget. Oakwood Homes is currently building in several areas within the Omaha Metro and in Gretna.

Building/buying a new home has impacts on many aspects of your life from the school district your new home will be located in, amenities near your new home, to the livability of your new home. One aspect that is often initially overlooked in the home search is the energy efficiency of the home. This has a large impact on the level of comfort in your home and your monthly utility bills.  The construction of each home is held to the highest standard with Oakwood leading the way in building technology that will save the homeowner money and improve comfort.  Herbolsheimer stresses that it is wise to invest in a builder who is using top-of-the-line techniques and products because it will help lower ownership costs.  As part of the Oakwood Energy Smart program, they are able to provide homeowners with savings and comfort by constructing all homes with 2×6 exterior walls, a 95% efficient furnace, and Energy Star North rated windows to achieve an even temperature throughout the house while using less energy. To ensure the home meets or exceeds national code, Oakwood Homes has a third party test the home before buyers move in and they offer a guarantee on energy bills.

Beyond building homes that help buyers feel good about the quality, their design features are stunning and are sure to impress all home visitors. Buyers have the opportunity to visit Oakwood’s New Home Center where they can personalize their home so it fits their families’ needs and personality. The New Home Center displays all the interior finish selections for the homeowner, providing an experience that is easy and truly enjoyable.  Herbolsheimer adds that regardless of whether the buyer’s working budget is $150,000 or a million dollars, it’s important to work with someone you can trust.  As a home buyer, making sure the builder understands what is important to you, your lifestyle, and your budget allows for the builder to help with tough decisions on what to include in your dream home.  Oakwood Homes provides luxury at every level, no matter the budget, as they believe building a new home is meant to be a unique and memorable experience.

Wedding Planning

angie kistaitis mid america center omaha nebraskaFor all of the couples out there planning a wedding, choosing the Mid-America Center to host your reception will ensure that you only have good memories to enjoy.  Angie Kistaitis of the Mid-America Center says, “At the Mid-America Center, the personalized service you receive is unparalleled.  Couples will work with an event coordinator who ensures all the details of their wedding day go off flawlessly.  We try to make this aspect of your wedding the one you don’t have to stress about.  We handle all of your catering needs from creative menus to extensive beverage packages as well special touches, such as ice sculptures, to make your wedding stand out.  The best part is we’ve already included what we believe is important to couples with regards to their reception venue.  Tables, chairs, linens, china, glass and silver as well as the set up and take down, plus much more.  When planning a wedding, we advise couples to figure out what things are most important to them and concentrate on those.  Just because they don’t see something on the menu doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  It’s your day, it’s all about the bride and groom. It’s about celebrating your marriage – and it’s about what’s most important to you!  Also, never hesitate to ask questions—you will never know if you don’t ask.  Be prepared with any and all questions you may have because no request or question is a silly one.  Most importantly, when starting the planning of your wedding day, we will need to know what date you are considering and an estimate of how many guests you will have celebrating with you.  That will allow us to check date and space availability.  We look forward to catering to every one of our brides and grooms on and around their special day. Thank you for considering the Mid-America Center!”

tina nocita gentlemens choice tuxedos omaha nebraskaEspecially for the gentlemen out there, Gentleman’s Choice Tuxedos is the perfect resource for finding your wedding attire.  Gentleman’s Choice rents tuxedos for special occasions and weddings; however, they are seeing more wedding parties request suits for the groomsmen. For this reason, they now offer retail suits for purchase.  Tina Nocita of Gentlemen’s Choice Tuxedos explains, “Groomsmen can keep their suits just as the bridesmaids keep their dresses.  These suits are relatively inexpensive, as we try to keep the price of purchasing our suits close to the price of renting a tuxedo.  So not only do we provide the opportunity to purchase a quality suit at a great price for the ceremony, but for approximately the same price as rental you now own a suit for any other formal occasion that arises!  Bride and grooms can browse through our swatch book which has samples of 8 different qualities of wool, 15 different colors, and suits are also available in stripes and your choice of 2 or 3 pieces in a modern or classic fit.”

Retirement Planning

gerry phelan midwest woodworkers omaha nebraskaWhen planning for retirement, you should also make plans for how you will keep yourself busy with all the free time you will have that you may not know exactly what to do with.  Gerry Phelan of Midwest Woodworkers provides the following advice:

“Have you been carefully thinking about your retirement plan?  No, I don’t mean your investments – I’m talking about what you want to do when you retire.  It’s good to retire to something rather than just retire from work.  What do you want more time for?  Family?  Travel?  Volunteer work?  Or perhaps something creative?  We all have an inner urge to be creative. Sometimes it gets sublimated to the demands of everyday living, but it’s always there.  You need a way to let those creative urges out.  If a hobby or skill engages and satisfies, you should make time for it.  Woodworking is a great outlet. You get to be creative, work with your hands and make useful things–and it’s not as difficult or mysterious as you might think.  Plus, you end up with projects you can give away or use and display for years to come.  It is hard to beat the satisfaction that comes from making something with your own hands.

Furthermore, is your whole identity wrapped up in your work?  Work can be really hard to let go of without outside interests.  And what happens at the end of your career?  After all, retirement shouldn’t feel like just a consolation prize for making it to 65.   You need to have outside interests that satisfy you.

What do you need to get started?  As Steven Covey would say; “Begin with the end in mind.” Think about the things you want to do.  Working backwards from the project, you can determine the skills, tools and supplies you’ll need.

How will you acquire the skills you need?  If you’ve never done it before, try taking some classes – it will show you the basic skills you need and give you a chance to experience woodworking before you make an investment in tools.  If you have past woodworking experience you can build on that knowledge with research.  Pick up some books on the subject and scour the internet – there are many helpful articles and videos available.  Even better, check out the local woodworking clubs where you can find like-minded woodworkers you can learn from.

Of course, woodworking requires an investment in tools.   Fortunately there are many options when it comes to equipment to help in making getting started affordable.  If you’re not sure where to start, do some research and get advice from fellow woodworkers.  You can find them through your friends, local woodworking clubs or woodworking stores. I encourage everyone to give woodworking a try–you may surprise yourself with what you are able to create. It’s never too early or too late to think about your retirement plan.”

Planning for the Future

shane myers farm bureau financial omaha nebraskaWhen looking ahead to plan for the future, Shane Myers of Farm Bureau Financial Services explains, “Our goal with every one of our clients is for them to be prepared for different stages in their lives.  Depending on that client’s particular stage of life we can make those plans based on their needs.  We help our clients most by educating them on why it is so important to take the time to sit down and review their potential needs.  Some of those needs may be planning for your upcoming retirement and how your income will look at that stage of life, or even planning on how we can pass your assets on to your family while minimizing potential taxes.  More young people are planning for their retirement earlier in life, which is an incredible time for that.  When you are young, you have time on your side to grow those assets!  Today people are also utilizing many of the products that we offer to maximize their tax strategies.  In the past, people purchased life insurance in case they died too early in life.  We are now using life insurance for many different situations from building wealth to protecting wealth, retirement planning and even being your own bank with the cash values in some life policies.  What should your plan for this year be?  Plan to meet with an advisor at least twice this year and ‘start to’ or ‘continue to’ work on your goals!  Any plan is better than no plan at all!”

He adds, “A wise successful man once asked me when I was younger when I thought that I would start a family.  I responded that I wanted to make sure that I had a stable job, a house purchased, and money saved so that I was prepared for it.  I distinctly remember his response to my statement—‘If you wait until you think that you’re ready to have a family, the years will slip by and you will wake up one day wondering where the time has gone.’  Take the time to sit down today and work on your life plan.  We sometimes get caught up in all the things around us and forget to take care of ourselves and put off those things for another time.  Work on ‘getting out of your tree’ and take the initiative to plan for the future!”

devan martin nebraska change works omaha nebraskaDevan Martin of Nebraska Change Works also offers the following advice on planning for the future and creating your own desired outcomes:

“Imagine sitting in your living room and looking out your front window.  Out this window is a beautiful view of trees, grass and even flowers (I know it is a stretch right now but go with me on this one).  You are enjoying this scene and the sounds that go with this reverie.  You might be sipping on coffee or tea or whatever your favorite beverage is that allows you to fully enjoy this moment!  However, what is out of your awareness is what’s happening out the back door. It’s a mess.  Weeds, broken fences, bugs eating all the grass, you get the picture.  The area in the back holds things out of our day to day awareness that take time energy and FOCUS so we can create the change that will make our lives become the loving, flowing, prosperous reality that we would all like to have.  By ignoring any aspect of our lives we are not planning for a well thought out future.  I call them ‘blind-spots.’  Where is your life missing something?  What area could use some focus and some action steps?  Most importantly, if there is something we want in the future, a desired outcome, how do we go about creating this future?

There are several steps involved in creating desired outcomes:

1. CLARITY: KNOW what you want.  One of the most important aspects of getting what you want is to be very clear about what it is that you want.

2. EGOLOGY: Does this dream or plan take into account other aspects of your life?  If you have a spouse are they fully committed to this plan?  What is the impact on children (if you have them)?  If there is no spouse or children and you want them, what will this plan do to that part of your life? Are you willing to make the sacrifices to accomplish this dream or goal with your time, money and energy?  Taking all aspects of your life into consideration (at this moment in time), let’s you see if this is a change you are really ready to make and make a powerful commitment too.

3. DESIGNING:  What actions will it take to fulfill this plan?  Sometimes there are phases in taking action.  Sometimes there are even surprising actions I ask people to take that allow them to have a new experience of themselves.  This can open doorways of possibility for things they did not know were possible.

Having support makes it easier to take that first step into unknown territory no matter if that territory is business, relationship or self-development.  I offer a clearer more accurate reflection so you can move forward with your plan feeling more confident in yourself and your ability to create a future from choice not a future that happens to you.”

amanda hebner focus c3 omaha nebraskaAmanda Hebner of Focus C3 (Counseling, Coaching and Consulting) adds, “My approach varies depending on whether clients come to me for counseling or coaching.  The coaching process has a lot to do with not just planning for your future but taking control of your future.  When someone engages in coaching, the take an active approach to creating the future that they desire and not just the one that ‘happens.’  With counseling, we work to empower the client to do the things that are best for them and to acknowledge that these changes are happening so that they can be in control of themselves and their emotions that may be affected by these changes.   Both a counselor and a coach can help clients build self-esteem, recognize triggers that may affect how they deal with a situation, and take control of their lives.  Creating plans, knowing what resources they have or which ones they need to find, as well as recognizing what they want can help a client gain control and deal with the changes in a healthy manner.  Many times we look to friends and family to help us through changes in our lives and they can be good support systems, but they may not always understand how a change will affect us or they may deal with their own issues in regards to the change.  When you seek out a coach or counselor to help you through these changes, you can get help from someone that is not emotionally attached to you or your outcome and can give you unbiased help to allow you the space to explore and deal with all the things go along with changes. One of the techniques that I encourage clients to use the most is to address the changes early and not pretend that they are not happening.  Many of the changes are things that we know are coming, so considering that early and creating a plan for when that time comes can help make that transition easier.  Also acknowledging feelings or emotions that you may have around those changes can help you be in control instead of letting anxiety or depression sneak up on you, which may make it harder to cope with the change”

julie strzyz omaha nebraska envision successAside from using a professional coach, Julie Strzyz of Envision Success Inc. explains a three step method that she has found helpful for people to employ when planning for future life changes:

1. Carve out some time (even a little) to sit uninterrupted, and focus on what the desired outcome looks like.

2. Revisit this positive image of the future frequently, building motivation/inspiration/sense of purpose.

3. Identify actions to move closer to that desired outcome, and complete them.

She advises, “At Envision Success Inc, we work with our clients on a multitude of planned changes, including but not limited to: career shifts, retirement, relocation, business start-ups and exits, weight loss, marriage/divorce, etc.  As a unified team, we work together with our clients to set goals appropriate for them and holding them accountable for their actions.  Depending on a client’s desire or planned change, a general strategy might look like this:

1. Determine the desired change and develop an intended direction.

2. Assess your values and look at what actions are or are not in line with them.

3. Create opportunities consistent with your values and the desired change and take steps toward it.

4. Evaluate your steps, learn from taking them, eliminate road blocks, and then TAKE MORE STEPS.

Having a professional coach allows a client to have a partner in whom he or she can trust.  The client will always reach for more because they have a support system.  Clients take more action, better action, and smarter action when working with a coach because a coach helps them work on goals that they really want, instead of what they think they should want.  After just 1-3 sessions, clients see the value of sharing ideas with someone who is subjective enough to want the world for them, yet objective enough not to be biased or self-serving.  It is important to remember that small, incremental progress becomes momentum and then ‘big’ success over time!”

Life, by nature, is incredibly unpredictable; but luckily some of the major, and best, things in life are those that can be planned for in advance.  Furthermore, you never have to go it alone as there are many local businesses and professionals that would be more than happy to help you navigate through each milestone so that you can fully enjoy what the future holds.