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Why you need a money date and how to organize it

February… aaaah, the season of love. Immediately we’re thinking of romance. But whether or not you are in a relationship, we invite you to consider a different type of date this month… 

A money date!

Yep! You heard us right.

Money dates really are a thing. And we LOVE them (and we hope you will, too!)

What is a money date?

Simply put, a money date is an intentional, scheduled time to spend understanding and planning your finances. 

This can be done by yourself or with your partner!

If the thought of spending time looking at your finances and planning smartly makes you cringe, then even better – that means you really need this! And don’t worry, it can be fun too!

Money, just like anything else in life, doesn’t happen by mistake. It takes time and energy to earn it, understand it, organize it, plan it, invest it, and most importantly, to be intentional about it so it can serve your wildest dreams! 

But without scheduling time to really look at your finances, you won’t achieve the results you want! Money will continue to manage you, rather than you managing it. You can have power over money by knowing where it’s going, and with that information, making choices that align with what’s most important to you.

How to organize a money date?

Before we dive into numbers, excel sheets, etc., let’s set the mood!

Just like any date, it’s not just about what you will do or what you will talk about – it’s also about when, how, and where you’re going to do it!

  1. Schedule it ahead of time – that’s the best way to actually make it happen. Block a few hours in your calendar and do not plan anything else. Put your phone on do-not-disturb and make sure the time you pick will put you in the right conditions for it. Don’t plan it at the end of a long workday if you know this is not a time for you to do anything productive or creative.

  2. Treat yourself – whether it’s takeout or your favorite beverage, let’s make this date a real date and enjoy yourself! You can also plan to reward yourself afterwards to give yourself a little extra motivation! 

  3. Set the mood – light a candle, wear something empowering, clear the table to make space or even go to your favorite coffee shop.

PRO TIP

  • Decide on a tool that works for you (and your partner if you do it together)

You will need a place where you put everything related to your finances together. Choose one that is easy for you to use! Check out YNAB, Mint, or even an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your account balances, spending, and income.

Your Money Date

Now that the practical details are taken care of… what will you do during this money date?

  • Monthly

Review your monthly financial status:

  • What happened in the last month? Any big news? Any unexpected expenses? 
  • What do you expect next month? Are there any big upcoming decisions that will change your financial situation going forward? For example, do you plan to buy a new car with a new loan? Or do you have a big insurance payment or medical bill coming up?
  • Based on what happened last month and planned upcoming expenses, do you have any goals you want to reach within the next 30 days or any bad habits you want to reign in?
  • Were your one-click Amazon purchases a little out of control last month, and maybe you want to create some mini-obstacles for yourself to curb your online impulse buying? 
  • Do you want to earmark accounts for specific savings goals?

Knowing where your money goes helps you decide if you want to continue as-is or make changes. It brings awareness to it, not necessarily to force you into a restrictive budget, but more as a gentle reminder to check in with yourself to see if your spending aligns with what you think is most important

PRO TIP: Schedule your money date at least once a month! The more often you have healthy conversations about money, the less scary it becomes! 

  • Quarterly

Set some goals for the next quarter: 

Identifying your longer-term goals is really beneficial because it allows you more time to make things happen and see the impact of the incremental changes.

Once you have these bigger goals named, you can then break them down into smaller monthly goals. For example,

  • Are you planning to do some home remodeling? If so, should you apply for a HELOC as a financing option? 
  • Or do you have elective surgery coming up? If so, should you set aside some money for that? 
  • Or do you need to increase or decrease your automatic savings based on the balance in your savings account? 

PRO TIP: Remember, money and life are intimately intertwined. Most things we want out of life have financial implications. So we like setting our goals in life-terms, for example, “July 2022 Vacation” and then we track our progress towards that goal in dollar-terms, “Savings Goal for July 2022 Vacation: $10,000”. Each quarter, we gauge where we are relative to the savings goal and figure out what we need to do in the next quarter to move the needle further.

  • Annual

Update your Net Worth Statement:

Your net worth is a way to track your overall financial health.

Once a year, take the time to collect all your account statements, including all your debts. Track them in one place. To calculate your Net Worth, add up all of your assets (savings, 401k balance, property value) and then subtract your liabilities (outstanding credit card bills, student loan balances, mortgage balance, etc). Once you have your net worth calculated: 

  • Compare it year over year – did it go up or down since last year? 
  • Can you figure out what made the biggest impact on your household since last year? Was it paying down debt? Or did you increase your contribution rate from 15% to 20% in your 401k? Or did you bump up the rent on one of your rental properties?

How much of the year-over-year change was because of the market environment, and how much was due to something you actually did? It’s a good way to feel both empowered, and recognize how the compounding effect of external factors over time either works for you or against you.

To help you know your Net Worth, download our worksheet now! 

Conversation Starters

These money dates aren’t too exciting to you? Not sure what to talk about?

Here are some ideas:

  • Check out MoneyHabitude to better understand your attitude about and habits around money
  • Take an online quiz to see your money personality – get to know yourself better when it comes to money, compare it to your partner – are you the same? What complementing aspects are there to your different styles? What might be some challenges? Dive into your Money Scripts 
    • Design your life: I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is, how would you live your life? What would you do with the money? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back your dreams. Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.

       

    • You have less time: Now imagine that you visit your doctor, who tells you that you have only 5-10 years to live. You won’t ever feel sick, but you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life and how will you do it?
       
    • Today is the day: This time, your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do I wish I had finished or had been? What do I wish I had done? 

Ready to make your first Money Date happen? Schedule the day and time in your calendar right now! 

Keep in mind that the first time will most likely feel awkward or even uncomfortable. If you’ve never spent time looking at your money, you might even want to run to your bed and bury your head in the covers. It’s ok, you’re not the only one! Notice what is happening in your mind and in your body, and most importantly, no matter how you feel, show up. Spend time looking at your current finances and spend intentional time understanding them. We promise you it will get more comfortable the more you do it.

If your dream is to be able to take a sabbatical and travel the world for a year, then it is even more important for you to know where your money is going! These money dates are the first step you’ll need to take to make your dream come true!  

If you need support in this journey, we are here to believe in your dreams, understand your current situation, and help you make it happen! Get in touch with us. We’d love to help! 

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