As I sit here at our home office desk, looking over a table full of stacks of invoices, I think to myself about the extremel level of organization it takes to keep yourself from drowning in a sea of administration. For example. we currently own two corporations (actually, just dissolved one so we down to one now thankfully), six properties, two vehicles, four mortgages and at least a dozen individual bank and investment accounts. I do all of our own corporate and individual taxes as well as tax returns for about eight other family members. This results in a great deal of time spent in opening mail, filing invoices, downloading banking and monitoring and reviewing investments. How much time? Probably about five to ten hours per week on average.
I think back to when Ana and I lived overseas and owned nothing besides one bank account and can't remember what life was like without all the administration - though I think it must have been pretty good! I've realized since then that the amount of administration in your life is directly proportional to the number of things you own. This accumulation of "things" for us has been very deliberate, though. Our overriding financial goal, as a family, is to direct our resources into owning things which generate income even while we are not there. We have been though a very steep learning curve since moving back to Canada and have learned an great deal about business, finance and taxes and it has been and continues to be a great ride.
Last night, I was here in the office, with bank and credit card statements spread over the floor (because the desk was full of receipts), attempting to sort and arrange them in chronological piles. Stella walked in and said, "Daddy, what are you doing?". I said, "Organizing our money". She said, "Why you organizing our money?". That's where I got stuck. One of the things I truly dislike having to do is balance my time between taking care of business and taking care of family. I would much rather be spending all my time with Ana and the kids instead of shuffling paper but at times like that I try to remember that we are doing this for a reason. We don't want to be like most people, who are utterly dependent on a paycheque from some employer who really doesn't give two hoots about them. We want to teach our kids the importance of being independent but to do that properly, we need to really learn it ourselves first. Independence means taking responsibility; for your finances, your job, your investments, your taxes and your business.
Though it's tough to devote this time to administration, I know that it is paying off now and will certainly pay off in the end.
(ps. after my discussion with Stella, I dropped what I was doing and went to play with her for a while...that was a lot more fun than piling invoices!)