Tuesday, October 16, 2007
FINANCIAL MEETING II
Tonight my husband and I sat down for our second financial meeting. As I've said in an earlier post, I've put together a newsletter that shows where we our financially. All of our account balances, pending income, debt balances and pending invoices are shown on this newsletter.
Right now how we're conducting the meetings, is to have my husband read out loud each of the points written out. The reason we've set it up like this is because I'm the one whose compiled the information, but I don't want to be the only one familiar with it. By his reading it out loud, it helps me to know that he's been informed, and, it also creates discussion between us. Since he's reading it for the first time, he's the one initiating the questions. I think this is important because, in the past, it seemed I was the one with all the information, I was the one ruling the discussions, which resulted in me being the one who was generally making most of the decisions - while his eyes were glazed over.
We begin with our Mission Statement, we located a fun way to write our statement at http://www.franklincovey.com/fc/library_and_resources/mission_statement_builder.
Our Mission is to achieve financial freedom and prosperity as a team, while being respectful towards each other, keeping our minds open, using our individual gifts of thinking analytically and outside the box, in a humorous, loving and accepting way.
Next I've listed additional ways we've found to save money. . . . this week it was by changing dry cleaners to Dry Cleaning Depot. . . . this will save us at a minimum $20 per month, or $240 per year. I've also canceled my e-fax account and am changing my fax to the home phone I have only because I need it for internet service - we don't even have a phone attached to it! I hooked up a copier/fax to the phone line. This saves us $17 a month, or $204 per year. Our yearly savings is now up to $22,929.
After patting ourselves on the back, we move on to the Agenda. This weeks Agenda begins with us reviewing the October budget and noting if there are any adjustments that need to be made. We're still blowing in the wind on the budget, since it's the first one we've ever done, and, incredibly we're appearing to be fairly close.
Our credit reports were then reviewed. I had written letters to Transunion earlier , printed them, and put it in each of our files to sign and mail out.
We again reviewed our insurance policies and decided to stay with e-surance for our auto insurance, but, need to do further research on our homeowners and condo insurance.
It started to get a little heated when we hit on our next subject of discussing existing accounts and payment adjustments.
My husband wants me to contact the mortgage company (because it's in my name), and find out if we can go on an interest only payment plan for the next six months. He's fairly convinced that this will give us the money we need to pay off our credit cards and "even the student loans". Well, this concerned me since our mortgage is at 8.5% and my student loans are at 4.5%. I tried to follow his logic, which was cash flow, but I could not determine what the actual costs for something like this might be. Neither he nor I know how to figure this dollar amount out, so, his homework was to find out. Our home mortgage is $321,400 at 8.5%.
Our second account under discussion, our second mortgage. I've had my mortgage put on an accelerated payment plan. It's been on the plan for about 8 months. The reason I had chosen to do this was because I intend on paying this second house off. The first house we plan to sell, but the second house I'd like to keep. I make payments on this mortgage every other Friday in the amount of $720 - well - next month there are 5 Fridays. Ouch-that means 3 payments! I don't want to stop this program though because I paid $295 to set it up (convenience) and don't want to lose that investment. I'll contact them tomorrow to discuss refinancing this loan, stopping or delaying the automatic accelerator program.
Finally, the last account is a loan we had taken out against our retirement account. We pay $1000 per month towards this loan, with a balance of $39,000. Not something that's going to be ending soon. Although my husband called to ask that we change the payment amount, an amount that we had set up, they said we couldn't do it by phone, but could possibly request it by mail.
Our last item of on the agenda, income producing ideas. We have some valuable items that we've been wanting to sell, but, haven't put the energy into getting these items to the proper sources for resale. My husband has a civil war pistol valued at a few thousand that he needs to write the lineage on, have notarized, and provide the information and photos to an antique gun dealer. I have several pieces of artwork by well known artists that I'm wanting to sell, some of which has tripled in value.
Neither of us is very good with this type of follow up, so, I will keep it on the agenda until these items are taken care of. I believe that as long as it's put in our face repeatedly, the more likely we are to address it.
We then scheduled our next meeting, make note if there's something we want addressed at the next meeting and put together a delegation list for the items that came up at this weeks meeting. My strengths are organizing, compiling information, tracking spending, composing letters, etc. My husbands strengths are calling people on the phone, and following up on information. That's how we delegate, according to our strengths and preferences.
This weeks meeting lasted for two hours. I'm assuming our meetings last this long because we've neglected our finances for s-o-o-o-o long. I would hope that we will eventually get this down to a one hour meeting.
Next week we'll be writing our goals, (didn't have time tonight), and discussing living wills, power of attorney, life insurance, etc. I'm planning to go into the hospital for major surgery next month and know that this is another area that we've neglected too long.