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The Behavior Gap

This term, behavior gap, was originally coined by Carl Richards, and it refers to this idea that there is a difference between a wise financial decision versus what we may ultimately do based on our emotional decision making.

3 Key Metrics for Business Owners

I love talking with entrepreneurs, because I can actually feel the excitement that comes with starting your own business. As someone who is familiar with that route though, I know there are countless factors to consider as you make decisions. Here are three things we’ve been doing from the beginning to ensure a healthy business:

Communication – Family Budgeting

Years ago, when we were first married, Jackie and I sat down together to talk about whose bank we would merge our accounts under. Like any educated, responsible adults about to embark on their first serious decision together, we used a coin flip. I lost, and nearly a decade later, we are still using my wife’s bank.

Digital Envelope System – Family Budgeting

Let’s talk about the digital envelope system. It’s 2020, so the old-school envelope-full-of-money system doesn’t really make sense anymore. That system can be put in place digitally though, as Jackie and I have done.

Losing a Loved One

Losing a loved one is an incredibly emotional time, and is often made more difficult by time-sensitive tasks like funeral arrangements or turning off streams of income like Social Security or pensions. Then you may learn you have inherited assets that come with additional taxes for you.

Retirement Fears

What is your greatest fear of retirement? It may not surprise you to learn 51% of investors polled on this question said their greatest fear was outliving their money. As life expectancy increases, health care costs rise, and our concerns about the availability of Social Security grows, it’s easy to understand that kind of fear.

Selecting a Bank – Family Budgeting

When Jackie and I sat down to talk about joining our bank accounts, we flipped a coin to decide whose bank we would stick with. I lost, so we merged all of our money into Jackie’s bank. Of course, in hindsight I can see how silly this is.

Spend Up Spend Down – Family Budgeting

Who doesn’t love credit cards? They give you the opportunity to carry a balance while also rewarding you for your spending, providing cash back and points. Credit cards are meant to encourage you to extend yourself though. Carrying a balance from month to month will only increase the total amount you pay in interest. And even if you’re someone who pays your credit card off each month, studies show you’re still spending an average of 18 to 20 percent more than you would if you used cash or a debit card. Psychology shows us we feel differently about seeing a checking account going down versus watching the balance of your credit card increase.

Teaching Children – Family Meetings

Do you have family meetings in your house? Dedicated time each week or month to discuss events, changes, or money? My parents sat my sister and me down regularly for family meetings, even discussing finances with us. Admittedly, I remember my own loathing during these meetings, wishing I was somewhere else, but as an adult I recognize how influential those meetings were on my own relationship with money.

Teaching Children – Give, Save, Spend

At nearly four years old, my daughter is a bit young for assigned chores that will earn her money, but when the time comes, my wife and I plan to give her an opportunity to do just that.