Daily Dupaco

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Strength in numbers

The benefits of having an exercise partner are clear. There is strength in numbers. We hold ourselves more accountable when someone else is watching, and working out with a pal can make the time fly by. Why not approach personal finance the same way? This is the first in a series following the progress of two sisters who have added a new label to their friendship – financial fitness buddies.

The phone call started as all of our long-distance conversations begin.

My sister and I were filling each other in on the latest happenings since the last time we had talked – probably a few days earlier.

It was a new year, and our conversation drifted to resolutions. We're not really resolution people, but we were lamenting about the things we hadn't accomplished. Things like getting a thorough financial checkup. Updating (or creating) a will. Restoring order to those out-of-control filing cabinets.

Life kept getting in the way, making it a little too easy to push our to-do list to the bottom of the pile. But we both agreed this was going to be the year we finally made these tasks a priority. (We’ve said this before.)

"You know how people have workout partners? Maybe we could become 'financial fitness buddies,'" my sister suggested.

I agreed, even though I was pretty sure she was mostly joking.

The conversation moved away from finances, and we eventually hung up.

***

A funny thing happened after that.

Within days of our conversation, each of us – unbeknownst to the other – was on the phone with financial advisors and attorneys who specialize in estate planning, asking questions and scheduling appointments.

It wasn't long before our next phone conversation. Suddenly, I had a financial fitness buddy 300 miles away. It was amazing how quickly the whole idea took off. Years of I-need-to-do-this comments suddenly were becoming a reality – all because we were in it together.

It was both encouraging knowing that my sister was trying to accomplish the same goals, and it was the competitive kick we both needed to stay motivated. Sure, we're buddies. But we're also sisters, which means we're natural-born competitors. 

Surprisingly, it's been kind of fun. Well, as fun as financial analyses and estate planning can be. As my sister and I share in our little successes, we can't help but include some spirited remarks along the way.

"It is so on," my sister wrote to me in a recent e-mail that included a confirmation of her financial analysis appointment.

I quickly responded, bragging about the information I had gleaned from conversations with a couple of attorneys. "Bring. It. On." I wrote back defiantly.

We're just beginning our financial fitness journey, but we've learned a few things so far. I'll share those experiences – the things we're doing right, the things we need to work on – in upcoming posts. I invite you to join the workout, grab a financial fitness buddy and tell me what you've learned. We'll include some of your comments as we move along.

By Emily Kittle

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