Planning for Summer… Within Reason
Summer is pretty exciting for most of us here in Canada. No matter which province or territory you live in, the season is often short and spectacular. We save so many things for summer, from barbecues and weddings to vacation days and that book we always wanted to read. In just two to three months, we expect to accomplish so much – which often results in disappointment. When summer comes to a close, we often experience regret about the things left undone, the events we missed, the people we didn’t see, the tests we didn’t take, and – very often – the money we spent.
You knew we were going to go there.
No matter what tax bracket you’re in, what age and stage, or what net worth you possess, cash is king. How you manage your specific level of disposable income has everything to do with whether or not you achieve your version of success in both the long and short term. Once we’ve sorted out cash flow and all the bits that come with it, making decisions about allocating savings, growing them, navigating tax concerns become easier. The realities of how we deal with our dollars and cents on a day to day basis determines the whether or not we can implement solutions and move forward.
Our summers can be filled with intense fear of missing out (FOMO!). We have to attend that concert, travel to that party, spend a week beside and in some water, drink on patios, and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. If we don’t do it now, it won’t happen because when fall hits it’ll be 9-10 months of cold, rain, snow, and ice. This perspective often means we open our wallets wider than we intended. Perhaps we work less (if we have that freedom), which results in lower earnings. At the end of a wonderful season, we could not only regret the things we missed but also the money we spent and the successes that are now pushed further away.
We don’t want you to miss out on summer – we know (deeply) how important it is. What we want you to do is plan for it. Think about what will bring you the maximum joy this season. For Sandi, it has a lot to do with paddling lakes with her children and husband. For me, it’s being in and around the ocean with my family and friends. A few concerts wouldn’t go amiss either.
Pay attention to those one or two things that will get you the most solid glow during this short summer season. Don’t try to do all the things – you can’t, and trying will leave you with regret and loss. Do the things that matter the most for you, right now, this summer, and let the other things slide, for now.
Don’t stop there. Think about what these one or two things will cost you, both in an outlay of cash and in lost earnings. Think about how these will affect your long and short term financial plans.
This doesn’t mean “don’t do them” because – trust me – that won’t work. It means know what they are. Understand and accept the costs. Be mindful. Plan the time, plan the money, and consider the impact that it will have on your quality of life – hopefully, the increase will be astronomical – and your plans for future summers will only improve. Then track it to confirm that you did what you were planning (accountability is key) and adjust your plans when things inevitably change.
Have fun this summer. Plan ahead, play safe and enjoy it. The winter ahead is long but don’t forget: there’s another summer after that. Plan to make all of them great.