For many of us here in the US, Thanksgiving is one of our favorite days of the year. It’s a cherished time for us to come together with the people we love, and give thanks for our different blessings. But as joyful as this can be, any time family is gathered in one place, things can also get a bit stressful.
After all, there's a lot of pressure to make the perfect meal or have the table set just so. From planning the grocery list and cooking the meal to decorating the table and cleaning it all up, there are some parallels to financial planning you can learn along the way.
You will be faced with many important choices as you prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, just like in your financial life. And just like cooking the perfect turkey, nothing is more helpful than making a list, and being as prepared financially as you possibly can.
Financial Lessons Thanksgiving Can Teach Us
#1. Have a Clear Plan
With any event or gathering, there is always some type of planning required. For Thanksgiving, you'll need to assess the ingredients you already have, create a grocery list for items you need, and make sure you have enough food for all your guests.
Similarly in finance, are you saving enough money to do the things you want to do? Are you still able to save money and pay your bills? Are you preparing for retirement and ensuring you and your loved ones will be well provided for?
Just like your Thanksgiving grocery list, a financial plan can be an essential tool to help you prepare for the future and stay on track. Professional guidance can be an amazing resource, so consider speaking with a financial advisor. If you’re unsure on how to select the right advisor for you, this list of questions will help make the process stress-free.
#2. Create a Budget
To properly prepare, it's important to determine the number of people you'll be hosting to get a better sense of how much you'll need to spend to get what you need. This task alone is a perfect lesson on building a budget.
By knowing how much you need to spend ahead of time, you'll give yourself more time to save for the event. Bringing this kind of conscious decision-making to your financial life can have untold positive consequences.
Not only will you find that you have more money available for the things that really matter, but you won’t have that listless sense of dissatisfaction, knowing that you’ve spent money on things you didn’t need, and in truth, didn’t really want.
Make purchases that improve your life. Ask instead: What is it costing me because I don’t put my money where my values are? Focus on your values, not what others perceive as valuable. It’s just that simple.
#3. Always Have a Safety Net
We all know that things don't always go according to plan. While it's important to have a plan, it's equally important to have a nest egg so you can improvise when plans fall through. This lesson holds true when preparing a Thanksgiving dinner and when managing your finances.
Learning to utilize your resources will prove to be essential, whether you're ordering takeout because you burned the turkey, or needing to tap into your savings to get new brakes for your car.
Did you know that more than half of the country admits to not having enough money saved to cover a $500 unexpected expense, and a vast majority of Americans can’t afford to retire? Establishing an emergency fund and automating your savings are crucial to a healthy financial life.
#4. Expect the Unexpected
What happens when your uncle decides to have three helpings of mashed potatoes or your dog take a bite out of the pumpkin pie? Budgeting for more than you need will help the dinner run smoothly.
Take the same approach with your investments. When it comes to good investing, we’d all love to be able to find an easy way to make lots of money quickly, and without risk. But the fact is that simply isn’t realistic. Whether we like it or not, good investing takes time, dedication, and a willingness to stick at it - much like preparing for your Thanksgiving weekend.
If you’d like any additional help with your investments, I’d love to chat with you. Get in touch and let’s help you start enjoying all the treats the financial markets have to offer.
#5. Invite Healthy Conversation
Sure, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, making memories and spending time with family and friends. But, while you’re all together at the table, why not make the conversation about money?
Money should never be a taboo topic in your household. Yet, according to Reuters, Americans would rather talk about death than money. It’s important to talk about money openly in your household. Another added bonus: this is a good way for your kids or other children at the table to learn about financial literacy.
The Richness of Giving Thanks
The practice of financial gratitude is linked to a stronger money mindset and better financial decision making. Be thankful all year round for what you do have, hopeful for even greater prosperity going forward and be willing to put the work in to make your finances stronger.
For a little Thanksgiving light relief, we’ve prepared this amusing little guide to ensuring you’re well prepared for Thanksgiving, no matter what the holiday throws at you.
And post all the holiday madness, if you decide you’re ready to start on the path to true wealth and would like some financial guidance on your journey, I’d love to chat with you.
Book a complimentary 30-minute discovery call via Zoom here, and we can chat about your financial situation. And the great thing about video calls is that no one will know if you’re still wearing your stretchy pants after enjoying all those Thanksgiving leftovers!