OnPlane Financial Advisors
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Blog | Fee Only Certified Financial Planner Washington DC

I like to write about what happens in our lives and how it can relate to our financial lives. Not always but most of the time. So keep checking in. I'm glad to have you reading along.

Persistence Pays Off

If you don't know about the Nintendo Switch - well I didn't know much about it, either. All I know is it was one of the hottest items for the holidays. As the kids ramped up for Christmas, all we heard about was the Nintendo Switch. And they put on the full court press. Like Nolan Richardson Arkansas basketball circa 1990’s full court press. Honestly, it was exhausting. Every list for Santa included it. And they must have made like 15 lists each.

Jill and I talked about it and ultimately the kids did not get a Nintendo Switch from Santa.

Before you go yelling “Bah Humbug!” and calling us Scrooges, hear me out.

Just last year, Santa "brought" the kids an Xbox. And a few years prior to that Santa "brought" the kids a WiiU. So this year, another gaming system? Too soon, kids. Too. SOON!

*NOTE: don't shed any tears for them. They still made out like bandits.

Christmas came and went, however the switch for the Nintendo Switch did not switch off (say that 5 times!). They persisted. Only this time, they got creative. The four younger kids collected their banks and figured out how much money they had between them. Then they figured out how much the Nintendo Switch cost. And finally, they determined how much more money they needed to come up with to make their Nintendo Switch dream a reality.

Arts & Crafts cabinet: before…and after!

Arts & Crafts cabinet: before…and after!

And let me tell you. They were on it. Organizing the arts and crafts cabinet earned Thomas & AnnaMay $10 each. Other various chores around the house also earns them money. And our new favorite: making their own lunches for school in the morning earns them $1 for each lunch.

SIDEBAR: all credit to Jill for that last one. And let me tell you, it's awesome. Like really awesome. All we have to do is make sure there's a fruit and/or vegetable in the lunch & after school show an empty lunch box. Then they get their $1. I'm pretty sure they're just throwing the fruit or veggie in the trash at school. But hey, we already know they're resourceful!

Speaking of resourceful, I've never seen siblings bond together so tightly. To them, it wasn’t about "my money," or "your money." It was "our money." They were a team in this thing.

So what can we, the adults, learn from this? I've come up with 5 key points:

Setting financial goals

Setting goals is vital to your financial success. It helps you identify what's important to you and it builds self-efficacy. They also give you purpose for your money. As I like to say, where does your money go, and why?

Write down your financial goals for the near term and longer term. Put them in a place where you can see them on a daily basis.

Commitment

It's nice to have goals. But how do you commit to them? For us, we can make verbal commitments. Those rarely work. We have to take action, commit to make those dollars go where they're supposed to. How? Automate it. You want to build an emergency fund? Cool.

Automate your savings. Get the money out of your connected checking/savings account where it can/ will get consumed by lifestyle.

Communication

They talked about it constantly so the goal is top of mind. And they vocalized the goal to each other. We heard them reminding each other about it. "Hey, do you want to ask Mom/Dad if we can do something around the house? Maybe we can earn some money for the Switch!" They became each other's cheerleaders.

When we have a financial goal in mind, verbalizing it to your spouse or even a co-worker can help you stay accountable.

Savings Habits

Our kids saved, saved, saved…and then spent it. That's okay. It's still teaching them to save money and not rush out impulsively, buy [insert shiny new object here], then figure out how to (re)pay for it later. It's not any different than saving for a down payment on a house, or socking away extra cash for an emergency fund. Or even sending money to a retirement account.

Establishing & maintaining saving habits enhances our ability to live life on our terms, not someone else’s.

Value of Money

I like this one the best. This was something I struggled with coming out of college. I didn't truly understand the value of money and hard work. I don't want my kids to have the same experience, but it's a fine line. For our kids, their goal - getting a Nintendo Switch - was all they knew. We hope this and others to come in the future will continue to teach them (and you!) valuable financial habits.

Understanding the value of money allows us to more clearly define where our money goes, and why.

  • What role does money play in your life?

  • What do you want to use it for?

  • And are you executing on it?

Shoot me a note and let me know. I'd like to hear about it!