Tonight, the President of the United States will deliver a State of the Union address. This practice was first referenced in the Constitution, which states that the President will inform Congress “from time to time”. Over the years, the format has changed: our first two presidents addressed congress personally; Thomas Jefferson sent written messages and the presidents after him did the same until Woodrow Wilson. And as technology has advanced, the public has had the opportunity to participate, via radio, then television, and now webcast. (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44770.pdf)
No matter where you stand politically, you can see the practicality of periodic reflection. And whether you are a household of one or ten, sometimes you have to take stock of where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you hope to go.
Different presidents chose different ways to address Congress (and the public) during their State of the Union addresses. They also chose different areas of emphasis and differing levels of details. If you have young children, you may not choose to get into all of the details but you may choose to share a broad overview with them. Parents of older kids and teens may also choose just how much to share. Keep in mind that giving your children even a broad overview can be wonderful for their financial education. And when they ask for things, you can refer back to the family’s financial state of the union. For example, if saving for a family vacation is a goal, you can remind them of that when they ask you to spend money in the moment.
When you area household of one or two, it is helpful to figure out where you are financially: even if you think you already know, examination and reflection are useful. You don’t have to stand at a podium or speak to anyone but you do need know what you are earning, how much savings you have, and outline some financial goals.
If the thought of taking stock of your finances bring on anxiety, consult with a Fee-Only financial planner who can help you see the bigger picture and work on strategies to help you manage your resources better.