What You'll Create Tonight: A go-forward plan laying out roles for each of you regarding your financial life.
What You'll Need: This book, a notepad and pen for note taking, possibly a computer.
Welcome to the first date night! I am excited you are taking on this project and are interested in improving your financial savviness.
Look into each other's eyes. Commit to this project for your mutual benefit. Take a few deep breaths. Let's begin!
Get comfortable together on the sofa, or talk while preparing a delicious meal for two. This is your opportunity to have a deep, meaningful discussion about your financial lives.
Which of you does what? Who pays the bills? Is one of you the main point of contact with your accountant, your stock broker, your attorney, your financial advisor? Is the current way of doing things the best use of your respective skill sets and interests?
Who takes the lead in making financial decisions for the two of you? Why? Is that the best method? What if the other wants to be more involved? How would that play out in terms of communications, research, and general learning? How would you develop strategies so the two of you can serve as Co-CFOs?
Who are the outside advisors your family uses as its financial support team? Share this information with one another, and discuss each advisor's role in the financial team. Develop a quick list of these advisors, along with their contact information.
Does the other partner want to be more involved with these outside advisors? If so, how can you change the process so you both have an opportunity to communicate and work with your financial team?
If you decide one of you will continue to take the lead on communications, this does not exonerate the other from responsibility and knowledge. Both of you need to dive in and share financial responsibilities.
As painful as it may be for many people, learning financial terminology, becoming savvy in the use of financial tools appropriate for your situation, and keeping up to date on those tools and strategies will not only empower you to become comfortable with financial matters, but allow you to confidently embrace this aspect of your life. A few ideas to get you started are listed below.
-- As discussed in the Introduction, select two books or articles on financial topics. (Several very good books are listed in the Bibliography at the end of this book.) Each of you reads one of the books, and shares the highlights with the other. This gives you the advantage of gaining information from two books while reading only one.
-- If either of you is in a book group, add a financial strategies book to your reading selections (refer to the Bibliograpy at the back of this book). Invite the partners of your book group to participate so all of you can discuss the topics.
-- Is one of you an intrepid researcher on the Internet? Does one of you love to read or watch business television shows? Do you enjoy talking with friends about the latest in finances? If so, share this knowledge with your partner.
-- Refer to the Glossary at the end of this book for basic financial terminology and definitions.
-- Enjoy game nights with family or friends. The classic Monopoly TM, Payday TM and The Game of Life TM are still great tools to teach and review personal financial topics. www.moneycrashers.com provides a list of five recommended board games about money.
-- Research the Internet for more ideas for the entire family to become involved in learning about personal finance. The Bibliography at the end of this book also lists some websites for your consideration. Teaching others is a great way to learn more about various topics.
-- InvestorWords.com is a website with a "financial word of the day" you can receive via email -- it's free!
Results. By the end of this evening, the two of you should have:
-- Laid out a plan of action, refine what you are currently doing, or commit to the status quo in terms of what each of you has responsibility for in your financial lives.
-- Identified the names and contact information for each of your financial team advisors - insurance agent, accountant, estate planning attorney, financial advisor, investment advisor, etc. Keep a copy of this list; you will add it to the Contacts tab in your organization file (discussed in Chapter 6).
-- Selected at least one book or article for each of you to read.
Congratulations on your first night of work!
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The First Date Night: Your Go-Forward Financial Strategy Plan
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Nine Nights: Your New Little Black Book for Personal Financial Empowerment