So, I’m a financial planner, but most all of my friends and family know that I also love to kick back in my flip flops and just enjoy a day.  Don’t we all? Which begs the question – what are you doing to enjoy your life?

Most people believe that financial planning is focused solely on budgeting, taking away free-spirited fun, and saving money.  While that’s part of it, the goal is not to make life miserable.  The goal is to enable our clients to use money in a way they’re able to control and enjoy (instead of being controlled by it).  Taking time off from routines and stress as a family or couple is a vital part of building relationships and re-energizing.

That’s where fun forecasting comes into financial planning…  How much will you need to save for a big vacation? How much money do you need each month to take your kids to the movies or a ballgame? Those questions are important because the fun can be taken out of any experience if you know you are going to pay for it afterwards (or you may not go at all because you feel too strapped for cash to enjoy yourself).  This just adds unnecessary anxiety to your life.  Planning ahead for fun is what we want to focus on.

When I sit down with my clients, we include vacations (and just general fun) into the financial plan.  As a husband, father, and fun-seeker, I realize that a person’s goals are not all necessarily centered around retiring well, but living well before you retire, too.

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John P. Chladek, MBA, CFP® is the President of Chladek Wealth Management, LLC, a fee-only financial planning and investment management firm specializing in helping families and couples who are not yet retired realize their financial goals. For more information, visit

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