January is the time of New Year’s Resolutions, and of course as we know, most of those will be broken. Whether it’s weight loss, getting out of debt, starting a savings plan or creating a budget to try to shop less, the majority of resolutions are made to be broken. We’re talking this month about investing, whether in yourself, your family, your home or your future, as these are things many people think about this time of year. Today, let’s talk about investing in your family through your financial resources, your time and your family traditions.
When thinking about your financial resources, you may know that we encourage you to write down the top five places you want your money to go, and then check in with your spouse about their top 5 list. Typically, we see couples agree on two or three items, and have what we’ll call “discussions” about the other two or three! Either way, I encourage you to review how you want to allocate those resources. Also, as you’re thinking about how to invest financially in your family, be sure to review your life insurance coverage and email me with any questions or updates we need to know about.
I’ve learned the hard way that the biggest and most valuable resource I have to invest in my family is my time. Take 30 minutes to stop and think about how you want to allocate your 365 days this year, and who you might want or need to spend a little more time with. I like to make a list of personal goals as well as professional goals to work toward each year. Psychology shows us that we’re innately driven to complete simpler tasks first, and leave the harder tasks until later. At 46, I may have finally learned that lesson – don’t laugh, I know I’m not the only one! I challenge you to consider flipping that this year and tackling the harder stuff first. Now, I’m not telling you to quit your job to spend all of your time with your family. As my dad taught me, it’s about quality, not necessarily quantity.
Speaking of my dad, as a kid, we didn’t always spend a ton of time together, but I always knew when he left and when he got home every day, and that routine was comforting. This was before cell phones of course, so it was also comforting for my mom. Seriously though, do spend a few minutes this week thinking about how you want to invest your time in the new year.
But back to my goals. One thing I’m always wrestling with when I set my personal goals is what do I want to do versus what do I need to do with my loved ones. I’m sure many of you can relate, and we all know that making these decisions wisely can make a huge impact on how 2022 goes.
Now, as you consider your resources and your time, make sure to consider how you want to honor any family traditions you were raised with. Who do you want to experience these traditions with you? For most of us, the holidays bring with them memories both good and bad, but they also give us the opportunity to decide how to share family traditions and ensure they’re carried on. For some, the goal may be creating your own new family traditions your children and grandchildren can carry on.
Now, let me leave you with a story. My sister was gracious enough to organize all of our family recipes into one cookbook, and this year, I decided that I would make my grandmother’s fudge. I tackled this project with a few pointers from my wife, followed by me informing her that I knew better. You can probably imagine the look she gave me. Anyway, it tasted unlike anything my grandmother ever made – one of my kids almost chipped a tooth! But I did successfully remind them of their great-grandmother who could make anything taste good, even if the fudge tasted awful when their dad tried. Of course, now one of my new goals for 2022 is to successfully make my grandmother’s fudge.
Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.
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