The Balancing Act: Do You Have Time for Financial Planning?

Another piece of our complicated lives is…."the money honey." Do you have time to pay attention to it? Well, if you don't now it will cost you time and money and potentially limit your options later. So here is a short-cut process that you can complete in six lunch hours or three nights of two hours after the kids are in bed. These six hours could be invaluable in your future.

What is your financial picture: where did the money go?      2 Hours
You might be on top of the P&L of your company's division, but do you know where your money goes? Collect all your credit card bills and check books for the year. Make as many as 10 to 20 categories (groceries, entertainment, clothes, rent/mortgage, car, vacation, miscellaneous…) and code your items on the checkbook and credit card bills. Then see if you can delegate the addition (15 year old daughter, husband, accountant, college kid looking for some pick up money, babysitter). Your income should be clear from your year-end tax statement and so now you know what comes in and where it goes.

Can I do better?      1 Hour
Are you paying too high an interest rate on your mortgage or your car? Are you saving too much or too little for the kids' education? Check out our financial calculators for instant worksheets to calculate these.

Investments: What should I be doing given my age and income?      1-2 Hours
If you have over $50,000 to invest, you would do well to have the advice of an investment broker. For a broker, ask around among friends and colleagues for a recommendation (never start with someone cold) and how long they have been working with them (over 3 years minimum). If you know you have issues about money (e.g. you are overwhelmed with where to start or struggle with how to take risk or taking too much risk or have too much debt), check out professional coaches who have experience with financial planning. Go to and look through coach referrals. A coach can guide you through that initial difficult approach to looking at your money.

How do I give back?      1 Hour
Some people are fortunate enough to want to give back, but haven't figured out how. Take an hour to think about your goals: what causes or organizations are you passionate about? Do you want to play a role in an organization or give money alone? Do you have stocks or other assets that you could donate for tax benefits? Do you want to set up a fund that will provide ongoing interest to support a cause or many causes? Once you have an idea about what you want to do, you can approach some of the institutions that interest you. Most non-profits over $10million have very knowledgeable people to help you think about the possibilities.

Also see:
Financial calculators
Open an online checking account
Recommended financial books
Estate planning checklist

Sandi is a professional coach helping people to achieve their best in life. You can email her at or visit her Web site at