How much time do you spend per month monitoring your personal/family finances?
In life, we prioritize the things we enjoy doing. Spending time with family and friends, date nights, community service – these are all things that bring us joy.
Then there are the things that would give us peace of mind if we could just tear ourselves away from Netflix to accomplish them. File household financial management in this category.
According to a study by The Ascent, 48 percent of Americans want to get their ducks in a row financially, but 97 percent don’t put in the time to make this happen.
Only 3 percent of Americans spend time on household financial management on an average day. Americans also spend less than two minutes a day managing their household finances, while spending 85 hours per month in front of the television.
In short, we tend to think of managing our finances like we think about broccoli. It’s good for us, but ice cream tastes better.
Make a date with yourself
Much like the way that you used to smuggle vegetables into your children’s spaghetti sauce, you can get into the habit of a regular review. Make a weekly date with yourself – or a monthly one at a minimum – to spend with your finances. Then treat yourself to something, like a walk with a friend or a date with The Crown.
Just how much time should you be spending?
It really depends. Do you do manage your family’s finances on your own, or do you outsource it? Do you have complex investment assets or rental properties, or just a 401K and an IRA? Do you do your taxes yourself or do you have a CPA?
Monitoring your finances really depends on your skills, desires, and needs. Some people still use pen and paper, some take advantage of the free tools offered by their bank, and some pay for budgeting software to help them stay on top of things.
If you are getting help from your partner, or if you work in the financial realm, things might be easier for you. Regardless, the first step is just making time to stop and assess what you have and what you’re spending.
Annual financial check-up
We go to the doctor every year for a check-up or at least we take our kids to one. In the same way, your spending plan needs an annual State of the Union.
A budget and spending plan is critical in your 20s and 30s because you are likely going through more major changes in that period of life than any other – and most of them for the first time. But by your mid-30s into your 40s, you may be buying your second house, and odds are you’ve had more than one job. Maybe you’ve received a sizable bonus by now or stock options. Plus, you’re using a CPA.
The numbers are bigger and you’re more experienced, which probably means you need more resources to manage things. But on the plus side, you have a financial cushion now and ramen noodle dinners are a thing of the distant past.
Older you, higher order
Once you have a pretty good idea of your cash flow as well as the wisdom that comes with age in terms of making and adhering to a budget, you can focus on other things like investment assets and life insurance and estate planning. These are things we should be thinking about way before they become necessary.
That’s a specialty of Oaks Wealth Management. Our clients have done a thing or two and know a thing or two and they have some systems in place to make their lives run smoother.
We are one more way for people to outsource stress and anxiety so that they can spend more of their time with their children and career and follow their passions, whatever that may be. We can do it in an integrated way with their existing partners, like estate planners, accountants, and CPAs.
When Statista Research asked Americans how they defined “financial peace of mind,” 57 percent of respondents said it was the ability to live comfortably within their means.
Knowing that all of your financial aspects have been integrated into one consolidated force for a streamlined annual review makes everything else in your life easier too.