2022 December Update
We’re done with 2022, even though there are some days left in the year. At Spring, we’re closing up shop on December 16 which, as a “Free Friday” means we’ll be cleaning up inboxes, desks, and computers so we can focus on catching our breath through the last two weeks of the year.
When we look back each year, we’re always a bit blown away by the amount of change that happened throughout the previous 12 months. That was a heck of a year, we say. Every year.
Since the pandemic started in 2020, we (as a society and a world) have been subject to deeper and more intense change than we’ve been used to for quite a while. It has felt, in many ways, like the hits just keep coming.
While we’re always looking on the bright side of life, we also know it’s important to recognize what we’ve been through – and continue to go through – and give ourselves the opportunity to recover. You can’t keep running on empty forever.
You may not have had space for that in the past few months, or even this year. If that’s the case, we encourage you to look at these last few weeks of December, and even the first few of January, as an opportunity to give yourself a reset. Hits that keep coming don’t bother stopping for the calendar, so it’s worth it to take a little time to rebuild your resilience.
If you’re fEeLiNg (that’s how we write it at Spring) responsible for ensuring other people have a great time this holiday season, and that expectation is weighing you down, we invite you to simply ask those other people how important it is to them that certain expectations are met, and whether they want you to sacrifice your well being to make that happen. Most of them – if they’re not children – will heartily agree to paring it back to give you some room.
With all of this mind, here are some of our tips for the holiday season. We hope that you’ll find one or two that will work for you:
Tip 1: No one remembers the gifts. They remember the experience. Focus on experience first: the experience of togetherness, not consumerism. It’s never worth it to go into debt for presents, and no one who loves you wants you to.
Tip 2: For those of you getting visits from Santa, remember that Santa visits children from all socioeconomic levels. If you are in a position to give expensive gifts to children, make sure they’re from you and not Santa. Santa likes giving inexpensive gifts, equally, to all the children he visits. Just enough to fill a stocking, similar to what the other kids your kids know will receive, is more than enough to let them know he loves them.
Tip 3: Gifts for adults are tough. Try limiting gifts costs to something small. Everyone loves a little silly stocking-sized something. Or, try a gift exchange where adults only buy for one other adult, or skip grown ups altogether. Sometimes it can feel like exchanging money around a family circle. If it’s getting like that for your family, just put it behind you.
Tip 4: Food is being hit hard by inflation, and we often end up having way too much during the holidays. Aim for quality over excess. You could reduce your menu items to those things that your people really love to eat, rather than specific foods because they’re traditional, and perhaps save a bit there. If, at the same time, you trim portion size to what you’ll actually eat that day, rather than creating a sea of leftovers that are hard to finish and end up in the trash, you’ll save even more.
Tip 5: Considering adopting a family or a homeless teen through an organization in your community to help spread the love. This could be your “gift” to someone in your circle. Tough financial times are hardest on people below the poverty line. Your brother-in-law might not really want or need a new power inverter, but families going to the food bank definitely need some food.
Fun Fact: Food Banks are community – not government – organizations. If there is one where you live, people in your community got together to create it. Julia is quite proud that her mum was one of the founders of the Sunshine Coast Food Bank, which she aims to give to personally every year.
At Spring Planning, we’re taking what we might have spent on holiday gifts for our clients and colleagues and putting that money towards Covenant House Vancouver and Gravenhurst Against Poverty. Members of our team and our families have experienced extreme poverty in the past, and winter is when it hurts the most. Please remember the people in your community this season – and make those tax-deductible donations before the end of the year!
We’re looking forward to 2023, which we’re certain is going to be full of what Sandi likes to wish everyone: only good surprises.
Best wishes to you and everyone you think of as family,
Julia, Sandi, Krysten & Ashlee
Your Spring Planning team is on holiday starting December 17, returning on January 3, when we’ll spend the entire day trying to remember what it is we do for a living. We’re pretty sure we’ll have it sorted by January 4.
Our annual retreat, when we actually see each other in person (we are spread from BC to Ontario), will happen January 25 through 29, so don’t expect to hear much from us then. We spend that time learning from the previous year, and ensuring that learning improves our services for the year ahead. It’s intense, but we plan to have a lot of popcorn and tortilla chips on hand for fuel.
“Free” Fridays remain booked permanently in our calendars. These days are free to us at Spring in the sense that they are our opportunity to work on becoming better planners, whether through collaboration and discussion, education, research, or even a little down time. It’s been a regular practice since the summer of 2017, and we will continue to set aside the time to become better versions of ourselves every week. Even 1% better is solidly worth it, because we know that will be reflected in the work we do for you.
On October 12, Julia spoke as part of the Steadyhand Estate Planning Webinar, joining David Toyne and Lucy Main for a discussion about some of the key things to consider in estate planning.
Spring in the News:
Julia will be talking about Retirement Planning online with Pacifica Partners on February 16. We will send out more information on exact time and how to register in our January newsletter and on all of our social media channels (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram).
Planning News Digest:
- Succession and continuity planning in family businesses is difficult and critical work. This fantastic article from John Ward and Stephen McClure provides some great guidelines that anyone, in any kind of business, can use: Family Business Succession: 15 Guidelines for success
- Why do we renounce our ability to choose? The cognitive effort is high when we take the time to make choices rather than living with whatever the default might be. Break free from the default effect with these tips.
Feature from the Archives:
What follows are gift ideas for the financially inclined, but before you start making your list, check it twice¹ to make sure the recipient receives it as the kind, generous gift you mean it to be, rather than an (unintentional) criticism of their personal financial habits.
Financial Gifts for the ones you love. If you’re reading this financial gift guide, presumably you’re interested in helping your friends and family get better at managing their money and making great decisions about their lives. That’s good.
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