We all know the new year is a time for making resolutions that are often broken and forgotten within just a few weeks. But when a new year comes up for us, we try to look at it a bit differently. How? Think of our country, city or even a local business. Each entity has a defined year and its own “economy”. If you work for a company, you know the planning that occurs early in the fiscal year is important to meeting its fiscal goals. You know the country or local government has a defined time period in which budgets are set for the year. We see the family as another such entity and we look at the beginning of the year much in the same way as would a company or civil government. Yes, instead of trying to set a number of resolutions, we look at the family as its own economy – and what better time than the first of the year to take a break from our busy lives and sit down to practically discuss and come up with the goals as we prepare for 2012.
We are compiling a set of resources that we have found useful in doing just that – helping you develop your family economy this year. As every economy requires, you need to have incoming funds and outgoing funds (with the goal as the outgoing is less than the incoming ). You need to identify the priorities of where you will spend your money. But where we start here is helping you identify your goals for this year and initial, high level actions to meet those goals. And as we mention in the questionnaire, we encourage you to sit down as a family to complete this task. If you as a family can commit to establishing your economy you will be further along in the process of having a better financial future for not only your family now, but for future generations as well!
Snapshot of the Family Economy 2012 Questionnaire
Step 1: Identifying Your Family Economy Goals and Actions for 2012 (download the questionnaire here)
We encourage you to sit down with your family as you work through the following checklist. The goal of this is to help you start thinking outside of your daily, busy schedule and force you to work together on becoming intentional with your finances. We all know the adage: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And although it seems trite, we have found in our own experience just how true it is.
One of the most important lessons we learned in our own household is the idea of ensuring open communication and committing as a whole family to pursue this plan.
We recommend setting aside some time one evening as a family to enjoy together and as part of that take the time to work through this checklist. If that is too daunting, possibly try to work through it during a family meal. No matter how big or small, just try to do something. This is your checklist – do with it what you will! As one idea, prior to starting ask each family member the following questions:
- Is everyone in the family willing to participate?
- Are we ready to do an even better job this year (compared to previous years) with our budget?
Finally, keep this checklist as we want you to refer to it the full year. The making of the goals and decisions is the easy part – following through takes hard work, dedication and accountability. Are you ready to get started?
Also join us this year at the 2012 Family Economics Conference in March where we were invited to share practical ways to help develop a family economy. Plus make sure to check our promotion code to give you a discount on your registration (we want to help you save even on that) just for being a reader!
Stick with us as we will continue providing you our own personal resources for developing and maintaining a healthy family economy this year! This is just the beginning!