Our weekends are filled with leisure and required activities – from cleaning house, mowing lawns, running kids to ball games and more. If you can take a few minutes out once in a while on the weekend to perform just four financial activities, your financial world could change. Here are my suggestions on what those four activities should be!
Reflect on your financial life.
Wake up refreshed this Sunday morning and reflect on your financial life as you sip those first cups of coffee. Is your life what you want it to be? How is your money helping or hindering you? Are financial your goals aligned with your spouses? How have you divided up financial chores and is that working well? Are you making progress towards the life and finances you want? Why or why not?
Sometimes it helps to take time out and just stare out the window while you consider these and other financial thoughts. In our everyday hectic lives with all of their demands, reflection often takes a back seat. When you reflect on your life and your finances, you may find that there are changes you want to make. Reflection and dreaming of those possible changes is the first step to making them.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Walt Disney
Talk finances with your family for 15 minutes.
Married with children? Now is the time to make sure you are in alignment as a family. Are your goals meshed with theirs? Do the kids know what the goals are? Take time out to chat about the family’s financial mission – share the ‘why’ of your particular rat race. Show and tell the kids how the family earns and spends and saves and invests. Talk about why you took a particular action and let your family members share their actions and reasons and goals as well.
Start with the simple, unemotional money topics and grow your conversations over time. Learn how other family members look at money and finances. Teach your money values to your children with short, repeated discussions.
Communicating about money continues to be one of the hardest conversations to have. The topic is scary to discuss and fraught with emotional overtones. By starting with short conversations you and your family will grow accustomed to having those financial discussions – leading the way for you all to be headed in the same direction and on board with decisions needed to get to the end goal.
As the family grows used to these short financial discussions, you could move them along into longer ones, eventually turning them into a family meeting.
Update your networth statement.
Knowing where you stand is vital to making progress towards your goal. “If it isn’t measured, it isn’t managed” is a quote we often used while managing projects. Knowing your net worth is how you can measure overall financial health and progress towards goals.
If it is less than you expected, you can then start digging into why. If it more, you can do a happy dance and celebrate!
Show your kids how to figure out what their net worth is as well (assuming they are old enough – say about 8 or 9 or more). It is one piece of a financial education that you should be providing.
Check your investment allocations.
Assuming you have investments, take a few minutes to check in on whether your actual investments meet your target allocation model. You do have one, right? A target allocation model shows the percentage of your investments that you feel should be in each of several categories, such as stocks, bonds, cash, real estate and etc. Your target allocation reflects your life stage, your goals and your risk tolerance if done correctly.
Many financial advisors claim that your asset allocation is far more important that the actual specific investments you hold in determining if your net worth increases and if your investments meet your growth and income goals. But… keeping your actual investments in line with your planned percentages has to happen to make that true.
What do you think of these weekend financial activities? Are they achievable? What place do finances hold in your weekend activities?
My wife and I regularly talk about our financial situation (one of the pitfalls to being married to a PF blogger i guess). I think it has probably helped us to remain financially stable as we scrutinize most purchases more heavily when there is 2 of us making the decisions.
Good for you! Do you have any secrets to share on how to have those talks?
That’s awesome, Glen. Money is often the reason why married couples fight and I think it’s really important that they regularly talk about it to make sure they are on the same page.
I usually pay bills on the weekends. We usually discuss our financial situation around the first of each month when we create our budget.
Financial routines, such as paying bills on a certain day of the week, help us stay in control of our money lives!
Tying budget creation to financial conversations sounds like a natural fit, as long as you occasionally include long term goals and concerns.
I update my net worth once a month or so, it helps me keep in track and define new goals. Based on that, a deeper reflection generally emerges on the direction to take next.
That is usually my schedule as well – once a month. I print it out from Quicken and keep a copy so I can go back in time to see where we have been!
Good points! It’s very important to discuss financial matters with the members of the family especially with our spouse. I always make it a point to spend some time thinking of financial matters before I discuss them with my family.
That is such a novel concept….thinking before talking…. (ha ha ha). Seriously, talking through finances is so important.
Mr. LH and I talk about finances about every other week since we’re paying down some debt and once a month we tally up our progress. We also take the weekends to relax and just hang out.
That is a good point, keeping track of something financial helps you have a starting point for discussions..
My hubby and I reflect on our financial situation most days as we’re currently really focused on paying off debts. I check our bank statements every two days to make sure everything looks ok. We don’t have any investments yet because of our debt situation but I certainly hope that we will be discussing that in the next few years!
Just make sure to keep the conversation going after you reach that debt free state, because that is when the fun REALLY starts!
It’s amazing how a 15 minute financial discussion with your significant other will go towards ensuring you’re on the same page, and keep your finances running smoothly – great post!
Thanks! I agree.
These are great tips, Marie. Talking with your partner about your financial situation regularly is a must as money plays a very vital role in any relationship and it can either mend or break love ties.
That is why every I think everyone should go to pre-marital classes that include financial counseling!