It’s no secret that people spend more time planning their vacations than they do their retirement.
Vacations and Christmas battle for which one gets the most attention, but at least vacations don’t dredge up guilt about gifts for the uncle you’ve never liked or how much to spend on your new beau when you’ve only been dating six weeks…
The pressure vacations bring are: it needs to be perfect; spending money for personal pleasure and fantasies rank highest in concerns; will the weather be great, what things might arise I am not prepared for? Will the things I have researched ad nauseam please my partner or get on his nerves? In my absence will my staff be able to handle any emergencies that might unfold? Did I leave the key for the dog sitter?
Here’s a tried and true suggestion: putting money aside every two weeks keeps you on track and forces you to make real-time decisions: If I'm committed to saving $500 a month, then I know I have to put $250 into my vacation fund every other week but, here comes a challenge: my son wants expensive new sneakers. My choice is to dig into my vacation fund or take him shopping at Target. I ask him to choose: “Lift tickets at the ski resort or $200 sneakers?”
Target he says.
These choosing questions are in fact a great way to teach your kids comparative values and give them a sense of power and control. Also, you will experience less disappointment from them because their expectations will be more manageable.