Do you procrastinate when it comes to dealing with your money? We’ve all been there!
In this podcast Laura and Kate explain step-by-step how to tackle financial tasks using a personal money day that will pay off big time for years!
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“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
How to Take a Personal Money Day to Accelerate Your Success
If you’re like most people, you have financial tasks on your “to do” list that keep rolling over from month to month or even year to year. Work and family responsibilities often get in the way of creating a plan or improving our finances, even when we have the best intentions.
But it’s crucial to do so. You can’t achieve your priorities if you don’t make time for them. Studies have shown that having a plan and feeling in control of your finances is actually more important to your financial well-being than how much money you earn.
The smart solution? Schedule a Personal Money Day, a full day that you block out to focus exclusively on your money.
Before you set it up, though, have a discussion with other stakeholders in your life, like your partner. This person might want to participate in the Personal Money Day with you, or help out by removing distractions, like taking care of young kids so you can focus.
Consider taking a day off from work if you can’t otherwise carve out a whole day. Sometimes choosing a weekday is best because business and financial institutions are open. Also, gather any documents or information you might need ahead of time.
Task #1: Set financial goals
Goals keep you on track because they give you something specific to work toward. Think about how you’d like your financial life to look in 5, 10, or 20 years. Write them down so you can revisit your progress each year and make necessary adjustments.
Here are a few suggestions for goals to set on your personal money day that could really improve your financial health:
- Establish or beef up an emergency fund
- Participate in a retirement plan at work or open up an individual retirement account on your own
- Increase yourretirement savings to 10% to 15% of your gross income
- Pay down debt by tackling the most expensive or highest-interest balance first and then working down to less expensive debt
Task #2: Create a spending plan
If you don’t already have a budget, aka “spending plan,” set one up on your Personal Money Day. A spending plan makes sure you account for your financial goals in addition to all your living expenses and that you never exceed your take-home pay.
You can use something low tech like a notebook or spreadsheet to add up your expenses in different categories. Or go high tech with software like Quicken or an app like Mint.com.
Task #3: Choose the best bank account
Evaluate your bank accounts to make sure they don’t cost you money. Ideally, choose an account that:
- doesn’t charge fees – these may be online institutions
- doesn’t require a minimum balance
- allows free direct deposits
- has online banking and free bill pay
- reimburses you some amount for automatic teller machine (ATM) fees
- has insurance up to certain limits, like the FDIC in the U.S. and similar in European Union countries (most insure up to €100,000 per account)
If you decide to change banks, use sites like Depositaccounts.com and Bankrate.com to shop for better options in the U.S. In Germany, use kontofinder.de or check24.de. In the UK, try moneysupermarket.com.
Task #4: Shop your insurance
Most of us don’t shop around for insurance coverage as often as we should. It’s easy to get free quotes for car, home, health, and life insurance at sites like insuranceQuotes (or check24.de in Germany, moneysupermarket.com in UK).
- Consider getting renters insurance. It’s inexpensive and protects your personal belongings and legal liability
- Term life insurance is also inexpensive and important if you have family who depend on your income
Task #5: Review your retirement savings
If you’re not already making regular, automated contributions to a retirement account, use your Money Day to get started. If your employer offers retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or 457, get enrolled now!
If you don’t have a job with a retirement account or you’re self-employed, you need a retirement account, too. In the U.S. there are some terrific accounts for small businesses and self-employed workers, like a SEP-IRA and a Solo 401k. You can open one of these or an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) at sites like Betterment, Motif, and Scottrade. Better yet, submit a request for retirement planning help at Wealthminder.
Also see: 10 IRA Facts Everyone Should Know
More Personal Money Day Tasks
If you have time left over on your Personal Money Day, consider additional ways to save more money:
- Shop for a better deal on your internet, cable, or cell phone plans
- Could you find a less expensive apartment?
- Selling unused items online
- Looking for a better-paying job, or starting a freelance side-hustle
Richer Life Lab practical
This week’s Richer Life Lab practical is to schedule a Personal Money Day—then send us a Lab Report about what you accomplished. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit richerlifelab.com and record a voice message.
We want to hear about what’s working for you! Let us know if you try out one of the strategies we suggested in the show or have other recommendations that we can share with listeners in a future show.
Send us a Lab Report to email@example.com or record a voice message on this page. You can delete and re-record your message if you need to.
A big thanks to our Richer Life Lab sponsors
SoFi – As the online marketplace leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi has helped over 90,000 borrowers refinance both federal and private student loans, cut their interest rates, and save over $18,000 on average! SoFi also offers personal loans of up to $100,000. Learn more at sofi.com/richer.
Wealthminder — 70% of Americans are not on-track to meet their long-term financial goals. Don’t be one of them. Wealthminder makes it easy to connect with qualified financial advisors to get the guidance you need. Submit a request to find the right planning professional online. It’s simple and free. Visit Wealthminder to get started.
Please stay in touch
We’d love to hear your feedback, questions and stories related to our podcast topics. We’d also welcome your ideas for new topics. Here’s how to reach us:
- Leave us a voice message on this page
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Follow us on Twitter at @LauraAdams and @KateCareer