Now that the Early Decision college apps are behind us, I can get down to the real business of November…writing!!! (Did you think I was going to say financial planning?)
For the last four years, our household has participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Because your story matters!!! This year I am planning to knock out many, many blogs for my website. If you have a financial topic that you would like me to research or to hear my thoughts on, leave it in the comments below. I would appreciate all the help I can get toward this lofty goal!
The one question that gets asked every year by “WriMo”s everywhere is: Are you a planner or pantser? Do you plan and plot out that novel, or do you start on November 1 writing by the seat of your pants? I was thinking about how well this relates to personal finances. If we are honest with ourselves, well, most of us tend to be pantsers. And being a pantser is not a bad thing at all. Most NaNoWriMo participants, including my daughter and husband and I, become NaNoWriMo “winners” by “pantsing” our way through the whole month. Similarly, one Gallup poll found that only 32% of households have a written budget. In other words, 68% of us are pantsers when it comes to personal finances.
In another survey by Bankrate, less than 40% of households said they could handle a $1,000 emergency expense. This means pantsing works until you approach the cool grand threshold, and then all bets are off. As the executive director of NaNoWriMo Grant Faulkner wrote in a blog, “being a pantser when writing a short story or a poem works fine, but a novel forces the question of process simply because so much time, toil, muscle, sweat, cups of coffee, melodramatic soundtracks, and broken pens go into it.” The same is true of our personal finances. We all eventually get to the point where the financial narrative of our lives needs and deserves a cohesive plot line. Maybe even an outline (budget)?! The force that drives us to become planners will look very different for each of us: children, home purchase, health crisis, job loss, business start-up, looming retirement, student loans. Not IF but WHEN you need help with your plot line, you know where to find me!
You can read the rest of Grant’s blog here. It’s a great analogy for all things personal finance, and it may just inspire you to write that novel that has percolated in the corner of your mind for too long. Don’t forget to send me your ideas for my 2018 financial-blog-drafting-novel. I am an eternal pantser when it comes to writing, but I am happy to put on my (financial) planner hat for you!