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4 Ways to Put the Fun Back in Finance

4 Ways to Put the Fun Back in Finance

Marek Fuchs | MainStreet.com

June 24, 2009

2. Set Up Countdown Calendars

When it comes to big numbers, don’t count forward, only backward. Take your mortgage. If you sit down to pay it with the 20 years or, say $300,000 you have left in mind, it is intimating. That’s a big, nearly incomprehensible nut, and being cowed is never fun. Gustafson suggests a Great Mortgage Countdown. Make a reverse, tear-off calendar that counts down the months left until you’re paid off. Once you make a payment, tear off that sheet and stomp on it in a dance of joy.

3. Involve the Kids

Gustafson once knew a minister who, over a period of time, involved his three sons in monthly bill paying, as well as long-term planning. Not only did the sons grow into knowledgeable spendthrifts, but the man of God got more than he ever thought possible out of household cash management. He got a lasting teachable moment.

4. Think in Bigger Terms

Financial planning can appear very small ball. Pay out a water bill here and the contractor’s invoice there, all while skirting overdraft. Unless you have a natural affinity for such details, they will probably induce narcolepsy. But if you are a big picture person, Gustafson suggests thinking in bigger terms, like your goal of financial security or a comfortable retirement. Gustafson helps run a clinic where financial planning majors help counsel graduating students and even professors, keeping that larger, holistic goal in mind.

“At that level, financial planning is quite altruistic,” he says. You are taking care of your family, a parent or a friend. At Texas Tech, they are sending people out on the right path in life. And that, at heart, is a fun and rewarding notion.

Of course, even Gustafson does not get too taken away with financial planning.

“Actually,” he said, “I do like the idea of booze.”

Cheers.

Read more in Excelle’s Finance center!


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