This past Saturday was my annual Financial Fitness Day.
I started doing this a few years ago on a recommendation from a family friend who said that he had been doing this for the last 30 years. The concept makes perfect sense to me: a day set aside for nothing but taking care of updating, rebalancing, changing, analyzing all of your financial data and positions.
The finances of one family can become very complicated very quickly. When you factor in insurance, mortgage (or rent) payments, retirement, savings, utility bills, college savings, and taxes, it quickly becomes apparent that you could use a virtual assistant to help you keep track of your finances.
Rather than hiring someone else to handle my finances for my family, I take one day out of the year where I completely devote myself to optimizing our finances. My wife is happy to let me go for one day to focus 100% on getting our finances in order for the next year. Here are a few things that I was able to accomplish in the most recent addition of my finncial fitness day.
Researching Our Insurance Premiums
We pay a lot of money in insurance every year. We pay insurance on our cars, on our home (we used to even pay insurance on our mortgage, but thankfully that is done), on ourselves, on our life, on our business liability and equipment, and even a special jewelry policy for my wife’s engagement ring.
My task with all of the various insurance policies that we have is to research quotes and compare coverages for every policy. This ensures that we are getting the most coverage for the best price. In some areas, we are willing to pay less of a premium for less coverage 9pr a higher deductible) and in other instances, we need to pay a higher premium and have a lower deductible.
The main change that I made this year is to research how our health insurance will change when we bring our adopted child home. I had to contact my insurance provider to ensure I understood the process for adding a child to our policy, and to ensure that I completed the forms within their deadlines to ensure our baby’s medical bills were covered in the hospital.
That was the only major change in insurance that I made this year.
Rebalancing Our Portfolio
This task this year was fun. In the past, this has not been so fun. Reason being? It’s no fun to rebalance a portfolio when that portfolio lost money. This year however, we managed a 9$ increase over the previous year. Our retirement portfolio is roughly 70% in a 2055 target date index fund, and 30% in a small cap business fund. The small cap fund had growth of about 18% this past year, so I took a portion of those funds and moved them over to the target date fund to get back down to our 70% – 30% split.
Rebalancing does not have to be difficult. We have used index funds for years now, and I have enjoyed their ease of use, and their low cost. I highly recommend them.
Updating my Credit Card on Auto-Billpay
My credit card expired in February, and I had to go through and update every auto-billpay account that I use to ensure that all of the payments went through. All but 2 of our monthly bills route through our credit card so this makes it very easy to pay bills every month, but quite a headache to update the credit card on every account. This took me about 3 hours, since I had to remember the login and password for every single bill (and most of them had expired!!).
Projected Taxes for 2012
The last major task that I accomplished in my family financial fitness day was to project our taxes for 2012. We just received our taxes back from our CPA for 2011, and I needed to evaluate what changes we could make this year to lower the amount of taxes we paid. This was the first year we had a business (my wife’s photography business) so our taxes were a bit more complicated than usual.
I also worked on updating our profit and loss statement for our business and our expense report for our business tax purposes. Making this a priority now will help us be much more organized come tax time again next year.
Do you have a family financial fitness day?
What tasks do you accomplish on a day like this ?
What a forward-thinking concept, especially estimating your 2012 taxes. Does it get overwhelming doing it all at once? I do all of those things once a year (well, I do my taxes at hte end of the year), but never all at once.
it can get a little overwhelming, but I would rather do it all in one day and knock it out. I know myself, and know that if I did not set aside one day for theses tasks, they would likely never get done.