Apprise’s Five Favorite Reads for the Week of May 26, 2024

family summer planning
Our five favorite reads from the last five weeks. Plus, an introduction on Family Summer Planning as Part of Your Life Plan!
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Family Summer Planning as Part of Your Life Plan

Memorial Day weekend often marks the unofficial start of summer, making family summer planning a focus point for you and your family. Thoughts about the summer have moved to the forefront in our house. Our daughter, Sarah, graduates from high school on Thursday. It’s hard to believe we will no longer have kids in the local school system. With four kids, it’s been more than 20 years since the last time we could say that.

While kids may be getting ready for the carefree – and school-free – summer months, parents might already be stressing about how to fill all that time. Family summer planning can help families keep boredom at bay. Creating and sticking to a budget can help you achieve your other objectives during the rest of the year. Use these tips to fill up your family’s summer calendar with a variety of activities that will give everyone something to do even when you’re not busy.

1. Create a physical calendar.

At the beginning of June, summer, for better or worse, might feel like it’s going to go on forever. But sometime around the 4th of July, many families are suddenly struck by the feeling that summer is slipping away. A shared physical calendar can be a strong visual reminder of how much time you really have and how well you’re using it – especially for younger children. It can also help bring family summer planning into better focus. Buy a big wall or desk calendar and start filling in the activities you already have planned: camps, weddings, kids’ sports, and family vacations. Consider color-coding your calendar for individual family members and shared activities. Or, if your whole year has been building towards one big trip, add a countdown to your calendar that keeps growing excitement while encouraging responsible planning. You will also find some tips to help keep things budget-friendly.

2. Establish routines and responsibilities.

Kids need to remember they won’t be riding roller coasters or camping every single day. Without the structure school provides, they might drive themselves, their siblings, and their parents crazy. As an addition to your summer calendar, create daily to-do lists for your kids that will keep them occupied, and even productive. If your kids don’t already have chores, this might be the summer to add some light household cleaning to their routines – their laundry and bedrooms might be a good place to start! There may also be some simple tasks that need to be done around the house they can help with.

Include allotments for daily screen time, favorite activities, and self-improvement, such as exercise, reading, or educational activities that will prep them for the next school year. Perhaps you can offer extra encouragement to get them to read, too. For example, when they finish a book, you can take them out for ice cream as a treat. Parents might even post their to-do lists providing some added accountability and motivation on their part as well. This can also give kids an idea of how adults structure their days and find that balance between getting things done, taking care of themselves, and having a little fun.

3. Schedule more family time.

As busy as your family may be, there’s probably plenty of white space on your calendar. Pinpoint a few dates for some smaller trips or all-day excursions. Get input from every family member about places they’d like to visit, family traditions they want to make time for, or new activities they’d like to try. You might not think you need to schedule in advance for a day downtown touring museums or seeing a play. But, again, summer can go by faster than we realize. If you don’t plan, events sell out, teens grab an extra shift at work, and exhausted adults sleep in when they think they have nothing to do.

4. Leave room to be spontaneous.

Your family will never forget the Florida theme park extravaganza you’ve been saving and planning for all year. But some of the best summer memories happen at the drop of a hat: a late-night ice cream run, spending a long weekend with their cousins at the beach, or a movie marathon at your local multi-plex. When you have a solid plan for things you know you want to do, you’ll also have more room to improvise, adjust, and seize unexpected opportunities to get more out of your summer.

5. Tips to Help Make Your Family Summer Planning More Budget-Friendly.

Setting a budget or putting aside a certain amount you are willing to spend on family summer activities can help make your summer more enjoyable and reduce stress.

It starts with setting a budget. You want to determine how much you can afford to spend on your summer vacation. Don’t forget to include all costs. This means, travel and transportation, accommodations, food, activities, and souvenirs.

Consider starting a vacation fund. If you start regularly setting aside even a small amount of money each month specifically for your vacation, it can help. Don’t forget to look for deals and discounts, too. You can find numerous apps and websites that offer discounts on flights, hotels, and activities. You can also benefit by booking in advance or during off-peak times. Doing so can allow you to pay lower rates.

We try to help folks find the balance between planning and enjoying the moment with our Life Planning process. When working on your family summer planning, you want to keep your use of capital (Time, Energy, Attention, and Money) aligned with your values. Please schedule a call if you would like to discuss how your family’s summer plans fit within your life plan or any other aspect of your financial life.

This Week’s Favorite Reads

This week’s favorite reads start with a reminder of the importance of time. You will also find suggestions to help you use your phone more intentionally. Plus, some tips to help you communicate better with your kids, another reminder that the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder meeting is about more than investing, and some guidance to help keep you from outliving your savings.

Here are the links to this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each and why you should check it out:

1. I Asked Mark Cuban Why He’s Leaving ‘Shark Tank.’ His Answer Is a Powerful Lesson for Every Business Owner.

Before watching him on Shark Tank, I had a negative view of Mark Cuban. I read too many stories attributing his success with Broadcast.com to luck. I also had a negative perception of his role as the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. After I started watching Shark Tank my views changed. I respect his business savvy. I also appreciate the advice he gives. Mr. Cuban recently announced plans to leave Shark Tank at this season’s end. As a Registered Life Planner, his reasoning resonated with me. While he recognizes the value of hard work, he also understands the superior value of another asset: Time. As discussed in this Tuesday Tip, we view Time as one of the important resources we should align with our values.

In the article, Mr. Cuban says, “My whole thing, always, my entire life has been ‘time.’ Money obviously is important, and money can buy you time. But the asset I’ve valued the highest is time.” He realizes he is running out of time with his kids, and leaving Shark Tank will help him make the most of the time he has left. This is frequently on my mind as a business owner as I know the importance of spending time with my kids. My daughter graduates from high school this week. Two of our kids have already graduated from college. We have less and less time with them each year. Fortunately, they are still willing to travel with us. That will eventually end, too. But my wife and I want to enjoy our time with them while we can. We look forward to going away with them this August.

2. How to Have a Healthier Relationship With Your Phone.

Do you know anyone who says they don’t spend too much time on their phone? In today’s world, it’s hard to unplug. Can you maintain a healthy relationship with technology while using it daily? According to the experts cited in this article, you can! The article makes several helpful suggestions. It starts with asking yourself, “Do I really need to do that right now?” Oftentimes, it can wait. Becoming more conscious of your usage and urges to use your phone can make your habits more intentional. If you read this, you will find several other helpful suggestions. The goal is to make technology work for you rather than against you.

3. Rediscovering the Essence of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting.

A couple of weeks ago, we blogged about our journey to Omaha for the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. While there, we attended a presentation given by Vitaliy Kastenelson. In this post, Vitaliy shared his take on the experience. Not surprisingly, there was considerable overlap between Vitaliy’s thoughts about the experience and ours. He also talked about Jeffersonian dinners. I had not heard of this concept before. All the dinners Vitaliy had in Omaha were Jeffersonian. What an interesting concept. Something worth trying in the future. Vitaliy also brought his daughter, who will start college in the fall, to Omaha. Her perspective reinforced the idea that you don’t need to be an investor to benefit from attending the shareholder weekend.

4. How Can I Get My Kids To Talk About Their Lives?

Do you have teenagers at home? Do you struggle to have conversations with them? Are you tired of getting one-word answers to your questions? Do you get accused of being nosy when asking about their lives? You may only want a normal conversation. But you get nothing of the sort. Believe it or not, according to a study cited in the article, “the most important factor in the mental health of adolescent children is the quality of the relationship with their caregivers.” That makes the conversations they have with us important. That leads to the question, “How do we connect?” The article makes some good suggestions:

  • Let them be experts
  • Prove you are listening
  • Don’t listen too much

Read the article to learn more.

5. Women Are Worried About Outliving Their Money. Here Are 5 Ways To Help Make Sure You Don’t Outlive Yours.

Women have longer life expectancies than men. They also typically earn less than their male counterparts. They are more likely to stop working to take care of a loved one, too. These factors give them more reasons to be concerned about outliving their money. We have addressed these issues in prior blogs such as 8 Steps Women Can Take to Overcome a Retirement Shortfall and 10 Retirement Tips to Help Women Retire With Peace and Prosperity. This article offers some tips to help put you on a path that can ease those fears. It starts with understanding your financial picture. Next comes understanding the difference between needs and wants. This is something we explore during our life planning process. To learn more about these and the other suggestions, read this article.

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If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating your life plan, saving for college, or saving for retirement, please complete our contact form or schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom. We will be in touch.

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