Happy day to you. This is Ken Kaufman and I am thrilled you’re here for episode number 46, “Never Miss a Due Date Again.” Now here’s the secret for never missing a due date or never being late on something financially again and it is to create a financial calendar and then follow it.
So what exactly is this concept of a financial calendar? Well, it’s at the very core of your financial system and your financial plan. It is at the heart of it all. It keeps you on task and on time with all of your commitments. It’s an extension of your financial plan and your budget. And it informs you when things need to be done so that you can stay on track beyond time with all things financial. And it ensures that you’re aligned with your spouse on all your finances as well as your actual behaviors are aligned with your financial plan together and it keeps you on track that you’re making the financial progress that you desire.
So how do you create one of these financial calendars and, you know, what does it look like? Well, it can come in many shapes and sizes. It can be an actual calendar that hangs on the wall in your kitchen if you’d like and you hand write things on it. It can be digital and put together as a digital calendar whether you use Google calendars or whatever your format is there. It can be organized into a very simple spreadsheet. It can also be organized into a reminder or task app. And I like going digital. I don’t like being analog here because I like a lot of…or a lot of these things are actually recurring tasks and recurring payments that need to be made, and so I like digital so that when I get it done and I mark it that it’s done then it just rolls on and creates a new one for the next interval where I need to re-address that item or that payment.
And then some of the budgeting software actually has some pretty good tools in it that actually allow you to set up recurring payments and reminders so that you don’t miss anything and you stay on top of everything and you’re making progress on the way that you wanna make it.
Now before I go any further, I wanna just step back and give you my personal perspective on this. Through the years I’ve been on different budgeting apps, I’ve had different processes and programs and systems to try to stay on top of things financially. And so what I’m about to show to you and explain to you is where I’ve iterated to, at this point in my life, so that I can feel comfortable. I am the type of person…when I have something that comes to me and it’s something that needs to get done and either I don’t have time to do it at that moment or it needs to be done somewhere in the future, I like to be able to put it on a list or put it in a place so that I can walk away and I don’t worry about it or think about it again until I need to actually do something about it. And then when I have time and I can sit down and concentrate on whatever is needed, then I know exactly where to go to find out what is it that I need to do and I can jump in and tackle whatever the tasks are, financial or anything else.
And it actually helps me a ton because I don’t ever worry or stress that I’m missing something because I know that my system’s captured it and I also don’t worry that I might, you know, forget this good idea or something I had because I use this even with ideas. I almost have like an idea farm where these things get captured and I put them out there and then I know I can go back and find them again.
So the point here is that whatever the financial calendar and system that you use is, it can…and this is what I found it does for me. It reduces any anxiety or worry over am I gonna miss something, but it also gives you confidence that you’re moving forward and not just that you’re not missing a payment that needs to be made but you’re missing an opportunity that sits in front of you, that you need to jump on or grab or, you know, take advantage of. An example would be the $6,000 limit for Roth IRA contributions annually. And for you to miss that, well, you’ve missed that opportunity if you were looking forward to and have saved or have planned in any way to participate. But if you miss the deadline, you miss the deadline. and you miss $6,000 that could’ve gone into that Roth IRA.
So with that as a basis for kind of how I’ve gotten to this place and iterate it to where I’m at, I’m now gonna take you through the thinking and how all this works. First of all, there’s always the question of should I put things on auto pay or manual pay. My sense is I always put them on annual pay…or I’m sorry, on auto pay. But I still keep track of them. I still have a reminder that comes up that reminds me that that was supposed to be on auto pay and I do double-check to make sure that that’s happened. And then the items that need to be handled, manual pay, I have those flagged so that when those come up, it reminds me, “Okay, not only is this something that’s going out, but I need to actually initiate it or do something with it.” And I’ll give you some examples as I go through the upcoming list.
The categories, you know, we’re talking bills, debt payments, credit card payments, and even your statement cycle close date on your credit cards. Savings in the intervals of when those transfers are being made. When you’re putting money into investments and when you’re rebalancing, these are all things that we have to categorize and we have to capture.
And so…and there’s really two kinds. There’s the one-time things and then there’s the recurring things. I’m gonna focus most of my time about the recurring things but any time those one-time things come up, you throw them on your calendar and you go. And as I go…so you can envision this. I use the reminder app on my phone and I use my budgeting software to make sure that I don’t miss anything. I don’t duplicate between the two, but there are few things that it’s just easier for me to put my phone and have on a recurring
So I jump into now the recurring items on a daily basis. The only thing on my calendar to do daily that recurs over and over is to open up my budgeting software or to open up your financial calendar and see if there’s anything you need to do. I don’t have anything else that is on that list.
Then the next interval is weekly. This includes paying my kids their amounts and actually reviewing their budgets with them. I also go into our monthly budget, and each week I have a task that pops up that reminds me to add a dollar amount to the grocery budget for the month because it used to be that we…I’d put the whole amount into the budget at the beginning of the month but my wife was frustrated because, as she spent through the month, it just wasn’t clear to her how much she had to spend on a weekly basis because she really tries to limit and…well, actually…and I try to limit…I’m the one that actually goes and picks the groceries up now on most weeks. But in the process, we are…she wants to know, “Well, what do I actually have weekly? What should my budget goal be weekly for that one store trip or for that one order that we put in for pickup?” And so I just have a little reminder. I go in and I add that amount to the budget each week. Another item on there is kids’ activities. Our kids, right now we take them to math tutoring. They have music lessons from various folks. And most of helping and teaching my kids things or tutoring them.
And another weekly one that we do, I talked in an episode, it was back a while ago about how we have what’s called our life event fund that we’re contributing to and we actually make those contributions weekly. And so I just ensure that that contribution goes in. That is set up automated, and goes into all the investments according to the way I’ve got that allocated.
On a biweekly basis or let’s just call this the payroll basis, there are some things that you want to do in relation to as soon as you get your paycheck, are there certain steps that you take? And for me, I have a checking and a savings account at Allied Bank and my preference is as soon as I get paid on a…I get paid every other week, and on that Friday when the payment comes in, I have a pop-up that reminds me, transfer to savings because I just like to play this little game of keep as much in savings as possible. And that’s just the money I’m gonna need in the short term. Longer term, I’m putting it in investments and those kinds of things. But for all the short term money, I try to keep as much in a savings account as possible because it’s earning a much better interest rate. And so I have down to make that transfer. Other people like to pay their mortgage on their pay date or they have other things to do. So that’s another way to think about and organize this.
And then I’ve got a pretty long list for monthly here. The first one is on a monthly basis sitting down and organizing out the budget, giving all the dollars a job as is the one of the primary mantras of the YNAB software group. And again, love that software and I love the philosophy of giving every dollar a job. So that happens right there at the beginning of each month. And in addition to that, it includes that I’m saving for and making sure money’s set aside for any birthdays that are happening that month. I’m also saving and setting aside for Christmas, vacations and, you know, basically, anything that doesn’t have an official due date but you’ve got one for it and you know what that due date is and you’re saving for it.
Also, on my monthly calendar list I have to know what my credit card statement close date is for that month for each credit card. And I do that because I have this regiment of I pay off the balance a day before the closing of the cycle so that I can get that balance down as low as possible and it has a very positive impact on credit score. Also knowing what your credit card payment due date is, needs to be tracked. Even if you’re set up on auto pay, you might wanna just go in and make sure and check. And again, I do that once a month to make sure that things are on track.
I also wrote down here because I have an Audible subscription, I have a reminder here not to make sure that Audible charges me, but that on the day that it charges me that I go in and I download my next book because I have a fairly long waiting list, if you will, of books that I wanna download. And then I make sure that I get into listening to that.
Also, I have a reminder here to send gifts for birthdays to relatives. Also, have to make sure that your monthly budget or finance meeting with your spouse and your family is scheduled and on the calendar for the month. Also I update my net worth statement every month. I pay my recurring charitable donations monthly. And then there are some kids’ activities that get paid monthly and not weekly as I mentioned before, and those are generally manually done as are the charitable donations. Paying utilities, mostly automated but those are monthly. Also, I am on an auto basis putting money into my HSA account but then I’m not using that. I’m merely using that more as a retirement savings vehicle and so I didn’t have to transfer it. My HSA provider is linked to TD Ameritrade, and so I have to go in and manually process a transfer from the HSA provider to TD Ameritrade and then I can schedule how that’s going to be invested. So that’s on here for manual.
Also, of course, we’re paying for monthly subscriptions on an…usually, those are automated, coming off of the credit card or out of your bank account. Your mortgage or rent payment, your debt payments, your leases. We have had kids in orthodontia now for many years and I have many years left with all eight kids. And so if you’ve got a monthly payment for orthodontia, you wanna make sure that that’s on there and either automated, or right now the kids’ orthodontist, I have to go in and manually make that payment in their system.
Also your mobile phone bill, internet bill, any other utilities. And then the last one I had here monthly was we threw HP for, you know, small printer at home. We just have a monthly amount that gets deducted from the…or that hits my credit card that…make sure that we have enough printer and the printer, you know, just shows up when it’s needed. Another time interval… So that takes care of monthly and that’s a long list. And hopefully, if you didn’t capture all that… Well, of course I always transcribe all these podcasts into notes and you can go in and take a look and capture that list. And there are probably some things on there that don’t necessarily apply to my life but they apply to yours, and so you just take that and adjust it around and move that however is needed.
The next time interval is quarterly, and when I looked at this I really don’t have anything that I do on a quarterly basis but you may have bills that you have to pay or things that you need to review or look at. Definitely put those on.
Semiannually. I have a recurring task that pops up that tells me to go in and download and save all of the monthly and quarterly statements that were generated in the last six months. So I have this come up at the beginning of July and at the beginning of January, and I download bank, credit card statements, utility statements, loan statements, investment statements, and so on. So I’ve got a nice paper trail and I just do this all digitally. Download it, save it into my personal Google Drive, and off I go.
The other thing that happens for me semiannually is that’s when I pay my auto insurance. And I found that if you pay either annually or semiannually, you get the same discount, you end up paying the same amount. But if you pay quarterly or any more frequently, at least with my auto insurance carrier or property insurance…property and casualty insurance carrier, if I pay any more frequently than that or I request to, then I end up paying more in premium over time. So I like to save the money and call that my return on investment and I do it semiannually. Again, because if I pay annually, I don’t get any more discounts. So might as well hang on to half of that cash for six months before I have to put the other half in for insurance coverage and, again, same net cost.
Now on an annual basis. There are quite a few things actually here on this list as well. This is a list that’s about as long as the monthly list. Definitely about February 15th…or actually, it’s exactly February 15th. That’s when I have it set to pop up in my financial calendar. That’s when it tells me I should make sure to download all my tax forms, pull all those items together, and send the initial stack of things that I have over to my tax accountant. And then on April 15th is when I’m shooting to have my taxes filed. Now I will tell you the last few years just because of some delayed K1s, I have not been able to get filed right on April 15th and I’ve had to extend. But at least by getting all the information I can know if I owe any money just to make sure that I avoid any taxes or penalties until those things come in once I’ve extended and then I can finally get the tax return filed.
I also have an annual pop-up on my wife’s birthday to rebalance all investments. I also have an annual reminder for my LLC renewal that’s registered with the state. I also have an annual reminder that pops up to remind me that it’s time to go in and update the financial plan or, you know, if you have an outside advisor…I’m a do it yourselfer so I do all of this on my own, but if you have an advisor, make sure you’re in front of them annually and talking through any changes or iterations you need to make to your plan as well as sometimes tax laws change on an annual basis or other things change, and so there may be new things that your advisor can help you find and see that you can take advantage of that otherwise you would’ve missed without doing that annual update.
Life insurance premiums are set up for monthly and have to pay those manually. So I just have a reminder that pops up to do that. Also, every year I have to go in and re-set up my HSA contributions. So I have a reminder to make sure that’s happening. I also have a reminder to do benefits open enrollment at work. Whenever that is, if that’s October or November, or whenever your employer does that, going through and reviewing all of that in detail and making sure that everything is all set up according to your financial plan.
Resetting 529 plan contributions, if you’re saving for children’s education. Also resetting any other auto investments that you have like your 401(k) plan, Roth IRA, or any other savings vehicles, this is the time to go hit that. And I have a calendar item that pops up that reminds me it’s time to go and do that. Reviewing all subscriptions and deciding if any need to be cancelled. So go through them and look at any of those recurring monthly and say, “I don’t use this as much,” or, “I am not getting value from this,” and that’s my reminder to go in and just make sure that that’s good and clean.
I also have a reminder popping up on renters and homeowners’ insurance. If you have HOA fees, property taxes, if those aren’t already handled through your mortgage. I put down our AAA membership. We really like that and use that. And so just a reminder that that’s coming up, it’s set up on an automated basis. But again, I just like to keep an eye on that. Google Photo Storage, we have a $20 a year fee that we pay to keep all the photos all easily accessible and ready for use. Amazon Prime, that hits in February every year. We get a lot of value out of that. And so just from the kids’ videos that they’re able to watch and the shipping expedited and savings on that. So we found great value there. I also have some web domains that I’ve held onto through the years. And so I have a reminder to go in and make sure that’s getting paid. It’s set up for auto but I make sure that it happens. Any software licenses that you pay annually to Microsoft or any of the others need to be included. Also knowing what months through the year you have vehicle registrations due and that you have to go and get safety and emissions inspections. So putting that down. Oh, and I did forget auto maintenance. So I do have some pop-ups to remind me to get oil changed. I apologize, I forgot to add that to the list. But just some of these basic things around vehicle registration, safety, and emissions inspections and knowing when those are gonna hit.
Also, summer camp bills that you know are coming. So I keep a reminder out there on that. I have an annual reminder to review my credit report. I have an annual reminder to go in and update my tax withholdings from my paycheck to make sure that that’s all right. And I also have an annual reminder to shop insurance premiums, review coverages, and update with any changes. And a funny story here. When my oldest son or my second oldest son, Dallin [SP], when he turned 16, I had forgotten on his birthday to add him to our insurance. And it didn’t happen until our renewal happened a few months later but I realized, “Oh, I completely forgot to add him to our auto insurance.” It’s a good thing nothing happened during that period of time. But again, at least once a year or sometimes more frequently, it’s good to keep an eye on that and remember to make sure that you are keeping that up to date.
And another part too is… Oh, I’m sorry. And then we can go to less frequent than annually. So that was the annual list. Now things that are less frequent. I have on this list to renew a passport, to renew some religious affiliation things. Also, possibly you could do this annually or maybe… For me, anyways, I don’t have to do it this frequently, but I have a reminder to just check up on beneficiaries that are listed on my retirement accounts and on life insurance. It’s just good to have in there as a reminder because if there is a change, you know, with my wife or I, for example, if my wife were to pass away, well, she’s listed as the beneficiary, I could get that cleaned up if I had a, you know…when this reminder pops up to say, “Oh, yeah, okay. Now I want it to go to the kids or a trust or however I wanna organize that.”
So there’s a really long list. There’s a lot of information her to think about and digest in terms of how to build out a financial calendar. I just try to throw it all out there to give you something to start working with. So the real question now is, how do you start? How do you get going with something like this? Honestly, the very best way is just start today. Sit down and when your bills come in, jot down when they’re due. If you’re using a paper system or put it into your system and then have it and then set it up so that it recurs automatically if you’re doing this digitally. I would highly recommend that so that now you’re anticipating when that bill’s gonna come in the next month. And then all of a sudden you have a gym membership come out of your bank account and you just can put that in and mark it so that it recurs, so it’s gonna pop up and you’re gonna know it’s time. You see when your statement cycle ends for credit cards. Just slowly start building this list and you can literally do it just based on what expenses, you know, came out of my bank account this week and what hit my credit card and so on and so forth. And you can slowly build it up over time.
That’s what I’d recommend doing. The other way is if you wanted to go and like look at the last several months of your credit card statements and bank account statements, you could start to pull things from that. When is your insurance due? Again, all these are just reminders for you to start thinking about how to grab all these and pull these together. Really, that’s the way to get started is start writing it down and getting it either on paper or in digital format. Start to automate it so that it’s recurring and then you start to get yourself in a rhythm. And sometimes something will pop up on your reminder list or your calendar and you say, “Oh, that’s not even relevant anymore.” You delete it, make sure that the recurring one’s deleted, and you never have to worry about it again.
So there it is. This is how to never miss a due date again by using your financial calendar. It’s gonna keep you organized, it’s gonna keep you on top of all your financial obligations, and most importantly, it’s gonna keep you on track with your financial goals and with your plan.
Well, there it is again. Never miss a due date. Build that financial calendar, and it will reduce stress and anxiety in your life and make sure you are on track for what you wanna accomplish. Many, many thanks to you for joining today. This is a wrap for episode 46. Happy day.