Doing something for a month is hard, doing something for a week is difficult, but doing something for 24hrs…. well that’s not so bad, it’s achievable, it’s realistic.
When trying to do something difficult, something huge, something never done before, we’re often given the advice that you should “eat an elephant one bite at a time”.
To overcome a big challenge you need to break down your problem into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Budgeting isn’t different…
Sticking to a budget for a month can be hard, super hard. Sticking to a budget for a week is hard, but not impossible. Sticking to a budget for 24hrs…. that’s achievable.
It’s HARD to control your spending day-in-day-out for a month straight but with the daily budget you only have to control your spending for the next 24hrs. After 24hrs your budget resets and you have a new amount to spend for the next day.
That’s the beauty of a 24hr budget. Once the money is gone it doesn’t take a month to come back. With a daily budget you get to spend a new chunk of money tomorrow!
The 24hr budget is like an allowance except instead of $1/week you’re getting $20/$30/$40 per day! This is how you create a 24hr budget…
When it comes to financial planning we often focus on the numbers, net worth, debt, rate of return etc. But half of financial planning has nothing to do with the numbers. Half of financial planning is about behavior. It’s about managing our behavior, our expectations, our emotions etc.
When it comes to personal finance, and specifically investing, we are often our own worst enemy. We make financial decisions based purely on emotion, often costing us more money down the road.
One of the most common mistakes we make is checking our investment portfolio too often. Investment portfolios are not something that should be checked daily or weekly (unless you’re day trading, which is a whole other conversation)
Checking our investment portfolios has become even easier with online brokerage accounts and financial aggregator apps like Mint.
But… just because it’s possible doesn’t mean you should.
The problem with checking your portfolio too often is that we don’t feel gains the same way we feel losses, even if they’re worth the exact same amount.
The emotional impact of a $10,000 loss is more than the emotional benefit from a $10,000 gain. It’s completely illogical, but that’s how we feel. We experience the emotional impact of losses more than gains. We remember losses more vividly, and for a longer period of time than we do for gains.
This is a problem when it comes to investing. Even though a well-diversified portfolio should gain over the long-term, it will likely experience some big swings in the short and medium-term. By checking our portfolios too often we experienced all those gains and losses, and because we feel losses more than gains, the net effect is that we can feel a bit sad.
What we need to do is check our portfolio less often, especially for medium and large portfolios. Let me explain why…
Managing finances in a relationship is hard isn’t it? Financial issues are one of the most common factors leading to divorce. Two different people can have very unique views on money and partners in a relationship are no exception.
Everyone values money a little bit differently. We all spend money in different ways. You might prioritize good food while I might prioritize expensive clothes. Couples have different priorities when it comes to money and if those aren’t communicated then its easy for this to cause resentment, anger and frustration between partners.
My wife Sue and I have been managing our money together for 10+ years and I feel we’re pretty successful at it. We still have disagreements, and we each manage our money completely differently, but we have a good system in place to ensure we’re communicating regularly about our finances.
Recently Sue and I were on the Because Money podcast talking about how we manage money as a couple. Sue and I talked to Sandi Martin and John Robertson about a few of the things we do on a regular basis to make money less stressful for us as a couple. You can listen to the whole podcast, but I’ve summarized a few of the main things below.
Rebalancing is one of those simple things that investors should do at least once per year. Rebalancing your investment portfolio can have a really positive impact on your long-term returns. Not rebalancing your portfolio can lead to some nasty consequences that we definitely want to avoid.
Rebalancing regularly will keep your portfolio’s risk level on target. Rebalancing can also help you avoid a lot of behavioural biases that can impact investor returns. And good rebalancing rules will help you buy-low and sell-high (which is exactly what we want right?!)
For small, medium, or large portfolio’s rebalancing should happen at least once per year. We rebalance three times per year in January, May and September. We do this as part of our tri-annual financial check-in. It’s easy to do and very beneficial. Rebalancing your portfolio can help increase your long-term investment returns and at the same time decrease your risk.
We’ve had two major rebalances in the last 5 years. During the last large decrease in Canadian equities we had to sell bonds to buy Canadian stocks. And more recently, after a big increase in stock market values, we had to sell equities to buy more bonds. Now after the recent changes in the market we will probably need to rebalance our portfolio again.
Rebalancing is something we look forward to, we know that rebalancing is a good thing for the reasons listed below. When we rebalance it means our investment plan is working the way it should and it’s a good indication that we’re on track for our long-term plan.
I have a confession to make, I’m a financial hoarder, or close to it.
What is a financial hoarder? And why does it matter? A financial hoarder is someone who keeps extra bank accounts, investment accounts, budget categories, credit cards etc. The more financial “stuff” you have, the more you likely it is that you’re a financial hoarder.
Understanding this is important because it can affect how you manage your finances.
Just like how physical clutter in your home can affect your ability to move and think, your financial clutter can also have an impact on how you manage your finances. The more financial “stuff” you have the more mental energy you’re going to devote to it. This can lead to financial fatigue where you just give up entirely, and that’s not good.
The simpler your financial life, the easier it is to manage, and the more likely it is that you’ll have success with your finances.
When I do the quiz below I’m close to being a financial hoarder. Let’s do a quick tally…
Sometimes you have to take a risk. Not all risks are created equal though. Some risks have rewards that greatly outweigh the potential downsides. These risks can pay off big-time down the road, but its important to pick the right ones.
When it comes to personal finance there are lots of risks (and lots of rewards!). Taking a few strategic risks can do wonders for your long-term personal finances. But it’s important to understand the trade-offs.
Almost nothing in the world of personal finance is risk free (except maybe a guaranteed deposit with an insured bank) but there are four financial risks that can be worth taking.
If you understand the potential downsides, these financial risks can have a huge positive impact on your finances.
Disclaimer: Always understand your own risk tolerance before taking on any financial risk. Your health and happiness is worth more than a bit of financial gain. Understand the pro’s and con’s before taking on any risk.