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The Quest for Fun

Two summers ago, I realized that I had five more summers with my oldest son, eight more summers with my youngest, before each headed off to college. As the clock was ticking, I entered a DEFCON level 1 desperation to spend more quality time with my boys. I wanted them to realize that I was (am!) fun and that they liked (loved!) spending time with me. The hope was that when they were grown ups and out of the house that they would remember these times and want to come visit me. Also, I hoped they’d remember the good times and think twice before putting me in the cheapest nursing home they could find!

So, I instituted Friday Fundays (FF) for every other Friday. I would take a day off work and take my boys on a surprise adventure. Sounds great, right? As I lobbed this plan to them at dinner one night, it became clear that my boys would prefer to be with their friends, play video games, or basically do anything else than hang with old mom. Now it was Forced Fun Friday (FFF)! Because my kids would spend time with me! And they would have fun! Damn it!

During our first outing, as we grilled kalbi at their first visit to a Korean BBQ, the boys griped when I told them the next surprise was karaoke. (I’m Asian, and I felt like it was a right of passage to be one with a mic!) As I saw their mopey faces, I hit a Clark Griswald level hysteria. This outing was fun, f*(%ing fun! I was f*(%ing fun! This is when the final F was added – Forced F*(%ing Fun Friday (FFFF)!

Me telling my kids that we are having fun during FFFF

After the boys realized that our karaoke room was private, they were able to relax and genuinely had fun. We have continued the FFFF’s, and I try to plan the activities that my boys will like. We have been axe-throwing, white water rafting, single track mountain biking, ATV-ing… Not sure why we can’t get our nails done. Or maybe a nice leisurely brunch. But this summer, as I face three and six summers left, I’m not going to change the strategy! I’ve been looking at skeet shooting and air-soft… oy vey! I must admit while I don’t necessarily love the activities, I love the time with my sons. And I feel good that I am spending my precious limited capital – time and money – where I want to be spending them.

What are you doing on your Quest for Fun? Ideas welcome!

Here’s what’s caught my eye this week:

The Spectrum of Financial Dependence and Independence

Morgan Housel authors another goody on the continuum of financial dependence and independence. I feel pretty good at Level 8: The ability to pick a job, or specific customers, that avoids the most egregious examples of bullshit and unnecessary hassle in your life. But I wouldn’t mind achieving Level 15. Which I call F*(% You Money because I’m Klassy.

Where do you see yourself? Where do you want to be?

NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, another family favorite

Mr. Housel also shares this relevant quote:

“I did not intend to get rich. I just wanted to get independent.” Charlie Munger

The Rebalancing Bonus

Long term investing isn’t about picking winners. Its foundation is asset allocation and diversification. With market movements, rebalancing on an annual basis is also critical to long term success. This article does a good job at explaining why rebalancing is a good idea and best practices. Add asset location (tax efficient strategy that we talked about in the last newsletter) and the probability of reaching your financial goals increase!

Don’t Make Plans, Give Gifts

As someone who is constantly planning for the future, this was a welcome article. It’s about Gift-Giving to your Present Self. Sounds lovely, right? There are rules like not giving your Present You a gift that comes at the expense of Future You. But another rule is not to give Future You gifts at the expense of Present You. Sounds like Back to the Future Part 3 where things got super confusing!

Give yourself a gift today and read this article.

FAFSA Gets an Overhaul

Read this if you have college-aged kids, especially if you have more that one child in college at the same time and/or you are divorced.

FYI – For parents with high school seniors this fall, the FAFSA application will not be out until December. Historically, the application has been available October 1st of your child’s senior year.

Can You Be Too Young to Invest in a Roth IRA?

My son got his first job this summer. He looks so grown up. 😭 Over the weekend, we opened a Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account) to teach him about budgeting, saving, and investing. It was a super proud moment. We recommended he start with a 50/25/25 budget (loosely based on the common 50/30/20 budget rule) to see how it goes. In other words, he spends 50% on whatever he wants, saves 25% for discretionary cash in college, and saves 25% in his Roth. Adjust as he goes. Like a (generous) employer, we plan to match what he saves in his retirement fund. I can’t wait to nerd out when he gets his first paycheck, and we can talk about taxes!

Good Reads

My latest book recommendation is We Should Not Be Friends by Will Schwalbe. As someone who finds herself perfectly happy with Netflix and a comfy couch, I appreciated the message of how important friendships and an open mind are.

Disclosures: BW Financial LLC dba BW Financial Planning is an Investment Adviser registered with the State of Colorado.All views, expressions, and opinions included in this communication are subject to change. This communication is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy, hold or sell any financial instrument or investment advisory services. Any information provided has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee the accuracy or the completeness of any description of securities, markets or developments mentioned. We may, from time to time, have a position in the securities mentioned and may execute transactions that may not be consistent with this communication’s conclusions. This communication is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, accounting and/or tax advice. Should you have any questions and/or issues in these areas, please consult your legal, tax and/or accounting adviser.

Behavioral Finance, College Planning, Financial Planning, Investing