This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I don’t really like to work out. I try to spend as little time at the gym as possible, and am generally successful – I keep it to a 20 minute session 3 days a week. Besides my general disdain for physical activity, I also enjoy food….a lot. These two characteristics do not generally lead to my end goal of staying in shape and continuing to fit into my pants. Over the years, I have managed to stay in shape, despite my love of food and extreme laziness.
A couple of times a year, I pick a date and try to get into the best shape I can. For a few weeks, I cut back on my beer consumption and eat a very strict diet. At the end of this period, I usually feel much better and have lost a few pounds…..it’s just not a whole lot of fun, so I abandon the strict diet and exercise plan and enjoy myself. The main thing I achieve through this diet and exercise plan is building a solid base. I get a kick in the pants a couple of times a year, and as long as I can stay close to maintaining the gains achieved during this period I stay in reasonably good shape.
I treat my finances the same way. I really don’t like to watch every penny I spend all the time. It’s stressful and kind of stresses me out. Much like exercise and staying in shape, I do better if I’m not really pushing myself too hard towards goals, just staying on the general path towards the end goal.
Rather than just a couple of times a year, I spend a few hours once every 6 or 8 weeks to go over where our household finances are and compare that to where I think they should be. Most of our finances are automatic, such as mortgage and bill payments, which are either paid for by credit card or direct billing, but anything that has to do with the more “human” element of our finances (mainly my wife’s and my spending) is examined.
My wife prefers this method of managing her finances as well. She recently changed jobs, which changed the amount of money she was paid. She will freely admit she is a spender, while at the same time does not deal so well with my “guidance”. It is much more preferable to her to know she has X number of dollars to spend and will be left alone with her own money (She has asked me to do this, otherwise she will overspend).
How do you run your finances? Is it a constant process for you, or do you check in once in a while like I do?