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“Describe an ideal weekend.”

Think about it, it’s Friday afternoon and you’re a few hours away from starting your weekend. What are your plans for the next two days?

I love waking up early on Saturdays and starting my day with coffee. Next up, a morning walk with my dogs around the neighborhood. After that, I’ll hop on my stationary bike in the basement for a quick sweat and then hopefully enjoying the rest of the day with family or friends. Sprinkle some chores in there and that’s pretty much how it goes at my house. The chores are not ideal, just a necessary evil on most weekends.

Now what does this have to do with the price of eggs in China? (Something my husband loves to say).

Well if you’re looking at my spending the coffee and walk with my dogs have very little impact, coffee is a relatively small part of what I spend money on and walking around the neighborhood is free. But my house isn’t free, so when looking at my overall financial picture I need to account for my housing costs, taxes, insurance, etc. But what about my dogs? Well I have two and probably spend way more on them than any reasonable pet owner should, but I enjoy having pets so it’s worth the cost to me. The bike has a cost, a relatively small subscription cost, but still something I need to account for at a more granular level. Socializing with family and friends may or may not have cost, depending on the activity, but usually there’s a cost whether it’s dinner, drinks, or something else.

This is just a snapshot of the weekend, I didn’t even cover weekdays. To sum it up, these are all things that are important to me, so I need to I account for them when looking at my overall financial picture, which starts with my spending.

When we meet with new clients, we go through a long list of questions that may or may not have to do with money and financial planning. One of the things we ask is for them to describe an ideal weekend. I think this catches a lot of folks off guard because why the heck does your financial planner care about how you spend your weekends?

The idea behind asking these types of questions is for us to get a better understanding of our clients’ lifestyle, values, and attitudes towards different things. In this meeting we ask that they be completely honest and not give answers they think we want to hear but answers that are raw and unfiltered. Our job is not to judge clients based on their answers. As planners we take a step back, gather as much information as possible, and then help our clients align their resources with the goals they have for their lives. Our focus is to craft a holistic financial plan starting with unbiased advice.

This approach is one of the many things that sets us apart here at TAAG. We aren’t your typical, cookie-cutter financial planning practice. We don’t just want to know about what you have in your bank account. We are intentional with our process and how we approach our relationships with clients. We want to know anything and everything we can about the folks we work with because it all relates to how they save and ultimately how they spend money.