My wife and I moved into our new house at the end of March. It’s an … odd … time to move. From the outside, it’s great – what a lovely project to be able to work on during quarantine.
But a combination of lack of energy and the unplannable future for those of us linked to the performing arts has brought some frustrating days.
One of the questions we’re asked most often is … “is it starting to feel like home yet?”
And up until recently the answer, for me, was “no”. Not because it’s bad, not because it won’t, but because, somehow it wasn’t.
What makes a home?
I like this question. Home is a word I gravitate towards. It’s a word I like to use in connection to people’s finance.
I want you to feel at home in your money.
What that means will be different for everyone, but there are two things that have come up in my own quest to claim this new space as a home.
The first has to do with touching everything. Getting my fingers on every inch of this house and yard. The more I have explored, the more it feels connected. When we moved here, every corner held a mystery, and on the poor days those mysteries all had terrifying endings. But now, I have opened that drier vent, I have run my fingers (and a paint roller) on some of the walls from corner to corner. I have dug in the dirt and peeked beneath the siding.
For many years I ignored everything connected to my financial life. I didn’t know my bank balance or what I spent on my cell phone. My hope was it would continue to work out. It didn’t.
It helped to start to explore every corner. The tricky thing in finance is it’s hard to know what’s worth looking at and what’s useless financial garble talk.
HERE’S A BASIC OUTLINE OF THINGS TO START LOOKING FOR:
- bank fees
- any other fees
- interest rate
- mortgage – amortization, next time renegotiated, variable VS fixed
- My Canada Account
- RRSP room
- TFSA room
- Uncashed cheques
- Just click on some stuff
- Credit Report
- Score (not that interesting)
- Report – what’s reporting on it? Does it all look okay
- How much?
- What’s it in? – browse the holdings
- How much do you put in every year?
- Who are the beneficiaries on your accounts?
- How much coverage do you have?
- Who does it go to?
- Until when does your coverage last?
- Disability – do you have it?
This list is overwhelming.
This house is overwhelming.
Home doesn’t happen in a second. It’s a slow exploration. It’s a slow running of fingers, fixing of problems, discovering of hidden benefits.
Let this be slow as well, but start.
The second thing that makes a home for me is the presence of my important people. We haven’t been able to do this as much these days, but I can’t wait for friends and family to fill the corners with their laughter and stories.
Home is not a structure, it’s a place where important things happen.
This is true in finance and in life. Making a home in your money will probably mean inviting people into it. My money is not an island, it is connected to my wife, to my family, and to my community in different measures.