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A Fish Story Not Quite

Real Estate Broker/Owner with HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 311291

Ray Henson and I are hosting the August Challenge. Since this is supposed to be a fish tale, I am not a fisherman or woman. I thought this would have to do. Can you relate?

Many years ago, I cared for my mom with Alzheimer's while running a real estate business as a solo agent. One day my delightful husband inquired about my checking account. Lee was a Wharton School Graduate, and his checkbook was always balanced.


"Your checkbook is a mess," he said. "You have no idea how much money you have." My answer, of course, was, "Sure I do. It's within a couple of thousand dollars." You can imagine the exasperated look on his face. He said, "If you reconcile your account, I will take it over." 

The next day, I took my checkbook to the bank and instructed, "Please close this account and open a new one."          


Upon returning home, I placed the new reconciled checkbook on my husband's desk without a word.

There was that exasperated look, but I also think a wee bit proud...as if I put one over on him. I did what he asked. The checkbook was balanced and reconciled. I just did it differently than he would. It made sense to me. I could have spent hours, days, or weeks adding, subtracting, entering, and deleting. But in the end, I felt the bank would be right, so why should I do it? My time was much more valuable.

This story is one of my favorite ways of explaining time management and how I can work without an assistant. It's always interesting to see the reactions. Some people laugh and applaud, while others say, "Oh, my, you could have cost yourself hundreds of dollars!" 

Thinking of buying or selling a home

Call Margaret Rome




Posted by

Margaret Rome
HomeRome Realty

Baltimore, Maryland

Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Sundays 12 noon.

Author: Real Estate The Rome Way

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(410) 530-2400


George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Margaret good thinking, you are a smart cookie.  I bet he did thought twice before making another offer like that again.  ☺️

Aug 25, 2022 02:46 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

George Souto I do know that he kind of beamed when I shared this story with others.

Aug 28, 2022 07:21 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

That was funny!  As a former banker, I can understand how simple and absolute your reaction was to his exasperation!  Most people manage their accounts in this manner - whatever the bank says is right!  LOL - good one Margaret!

Aug 25, 2022 02:46 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Jan, As a former banker, I bet you have many checkbook stories.


Aug 28, 2022 07:22 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I’m down for a good story and this one seems to keep my interest quite a bit! :

Aug 25, 2022 03:15 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Always good to see you Laura!

Aug 28, 2022 07:22 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Margaret,

Loved this story and you did get one over on Lee. I have a friend who puts her checkbook in a drawer and tries to reconcile it every 2 months. She ends up spending all day on it! LOL!

Aug 25, 2022 04:38 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Dorie, Way too much time!

Aug 28, 2022 07:23 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Margaret- I'm in your camp. When I stepped into adulthood or at least dipped my toe in it, I tried balancing it. Drove me nuts even though I always wrote down any checks I'd written. I love how you balanced your checkbook. 

Aug 25, 2022 06:55 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Kathy, I loved how I balanced it also! 🙃

Aug 28, 2022 07:24 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

My answer, of course, was, "Sure I do. It's within a couple of thousand dollars."   I absolutely love that response!

Aug 25, 2022 07:19 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Not sure he was pleased with that answer, but it was a good one. 🙃

Aug 28, 2022 07:25 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Margaret, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Aug 25, 2022 07:20 PM
Aura Alex
Seattle, WA
Retired Real Estate Pro

It's nice to have someone to help with the finance records. It's so tedious but so important!!

I haven't written checks in a decade. I use Quickbook Desktop Pro, which is connected to my business and personal banks. It's not uncommon for me to run two-three different companies at one time. My banks pay bills when I input requests. 

I use PayPal debit and credit cards for personal expenses, and Paypal keeps and updates my balances. 

Aug 25, 2022 07:59 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

For sure, Aura, you have you banking both business and personal under control.

Aug 28, 2022 07:27 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Margaret,

Trusting the bank is good, but verifying is better. I still manually enter my expenses because I find hundreds to over a thousand dollars of mistakes every year. For some reason, these mistakes are as good as never in my favor and if they are only a couple of pennies worth. I find it valuable to know that a discrepancy resulted from a car repair being charged twice in consecutive months or some mystery PayPal charge I do not recognize. I can still decide, if the amount is worth fighting for or not.

Aug 25, 2022 09:18 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Dorte, Most mistakes are not in your favor. 🙃

Aug 28, 2022 07:28 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

It’s your business and you run it the way you see fit. I’ve always applauded your different drummer approach Margaret 🙂

Aug 25, 2022 10:20 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Paul, Thanks for the applause. 🙃

Aug 28, 2022 07:29 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Talk about Time Management! Excellent way to resolve the problem in the fastest most efficient way. Well Done!

Aug 26, 2022 01:07 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Thanks, Debra. I was the fastest and easiest way to do this task.

Aug 28, 2022 07:29 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

What a great story! That was an excellent way to address Lee's request!

Aug 26, 2022 04:47 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Kat, Careful what you ask for, because you might get it.

Aug 28, 2022 07:30 PM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912
Trans State Commercial Realty Inc. - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 another avenue to travel down to obtain the same results!  I love that you outsource whatever you wish not to do allowing you to focus on more important tasks in your life😎

Aug 26, 2022 06:05 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Eileen, There is probably  quite a bit more that I could outsource.

Aug 28, 2022 07:31 PM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Equity Advisors

I only write 2 checks a year so this is not really an issue for me. My wife and your husband are 2 peas in a pod, she can tell you to the penny what is in the bank and always balances every time.

Aug 28, 2022 06:35 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Matt, My husband did have a total handle on the balance.

Aug 28, 2022 07:32 PM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I love how you think outside the box!  My checkbook is always just a little bit off, but Mary Margaret would never take over my checkbook even if I handed it to her with a blank slate.  Thank you for your creative entry into this month's challenge and thank you for your help and guidance!

Aug 28, 2022 08:12 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Ray Henson, You have your Mary Margaret, and I had my Lee.

Aug 28, 2022 07:33 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I finally found a kindred soul who balances her checkbook like I do. :) I quit balancing mine a few years ago. I will glance at a statement and look online occasionally. As long as the income exceeds the outgo, I'm good with that. ;)

Aug 29, 2022 06:33 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I like that, it always infuriates me when I am out just a small amount and cannot find the error. But as you say, time is more important.

Aug 30, 2022 10:42 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That's a great story, Margaret, and it doesn't surprise me in the least - it sounds just like you!! And it was the perfect solution that Lee had to appreciate!


Aug 30, 2022 05:18 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400

Jeff, For sure, Lee appreciated it afterwards!

Sep 18, 2022 06:07 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

When it comes to reconciling our check books, my wife and I are a perfect match. I am the engineer so numbers are always special and she's an ex-banker so it has to be to the penny.

Jul 07, 2023 04:57 AM