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  • Writer's pictureOwen

Book a date night with your finances.

It is around this time of year people begin booking their summer holiday.  Rest and refreshment is important, so people block their schedule.  They prioritize it. 

Those who have successful marriages do the same by making sure they have a date night weekly. 

Home finances including your plan, budget and even routine work are probably just as important, but do you treat it with the same respect? 

Do you plan a time to work on your financial plan?  You probably don’t, but you should.

Doesn’t it make sense to treat your money, the fruits of your efforts of 2500+ hours a year, with incredible respect?  The effects are amazing, but few actually do the bare minimum.

In our experience perhaps only 5-10% of people are truly organized.

Here is what we see the organized do:

  • They have a one page plan listing their goals for short term (1-2 years), medium (2-5) and long term (5 years+).  This includes a basic action plan.

  • They have a spreadsheet that lists current investments and accounts which they update quarterly to track performance.

  • They block time in their schedule to do financial paperwork as required.

  • Have a basic budget they review every 6 months or so.

  • They have all their key financial documents in a specific organized file such as passwords, policy documents, wills, statements.

None of that sounds hard, does it? Yet so few do, perhaps because they see it as a chore.

We are all busy – it’s a question of priorities.

Practically every client or prospect I’ve ever met who isn’t organized has said they are too busy to get organized.  These include people who should know better including investment bankers, partners in Big 4 consultancy firms all the way to entrepreneurs, engineers and teachers.  The most organized however are also these same types of people.  What they do different is they simply block their schedule.  They treat it like any other work activity: plan it, schedule it, get it done.

Get organized and you'll get wealthy.

Practically every single one of my clients who has shown signs of being organized as mentioned above is also in the top 5% of our wealthiest clients.  It’s not a coincidence. 

You don’t accidentally accumulate wealth and retain it.  You spend time and work at it. 

A small amount regularly still adds up to less than 25% of the time you are likely to spend eating out with friends during a given month.  Almost every client I have with more than $2 million in net assets could tick off 3 of the 5 (or more) from the list above.  Can you?

Pay yourself first.

People often say I don’t have money so I don’t need to be organized or have a plan, but in our opinion that’s all the more reason to get organized.  Clearly there is a problem! 

Pay yourself first. What this means, is decide that you will set aside $500 or $1,000 from each paycheck immediately into an investment account.

Then you will automatically live off the rest of the money. This approach is recommended by Warren Buffett of all people. Don't save what is left, because you'll never end up saving anything.

Do start with a budget to figure out what that figure might be. Then increase that amount by a portion of every pay rise. It is remarkable how often a pay rise is completely used on increased spending. .

Book a date night with your finances.

So, when you are discussing your summer holidays with your significant other over the next few weeks, also book a time during your holiday to talk family finances.  It might just be an two hours during an afternoon, but see how many of the big 5 you can tick off including a regular schedule of maintenance say one Sunday night a month. 

An on-going date night with your finances if you will.  It won’t be much time really, but it will ultimately be very rewarding.

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