The other day my sweet hubby emailed me two links. The first (“Shoppers Forgo Basics For Presents“) was a gut-wrenching read. It was a powerful reminder of how easy it is during the holiday season to go off base with our spending. The second (“All I Want For Christmas Is You“) was an uplifting song from Mariah Carey. It flipped my mood 180 degrees by reminding me that what most of us really want from the holidays is just to be happy and around the people we love.
So often personal finance can feel like it has absolutely nothing to do with personal fulfillment (or holiday joy). Managing our money can not only feel tedious and overwhelming, but pointless in the whole scope of life.
Enter Kimberly Palmer. A veteran journalist (at US News & World Report) and author (of the delightful book GENERATION EARN), Kimberly has launched a line of financial planners that I just love. Not only are they affordable and effective but they address head on the whole point of money management… to help you live the life that makes your heart sing. Kimberly was kind enough to share with us the thought process behind her latest entrepreneurial venture.
(1) What inspired you to create Palmer’s Planners?
KIM: I love the creative aspect of managing money: Brainstorming about big money goals, coming up with new ways to earn money, and celebrating progress towards milestones. I created the planners to focus on that aspect of money management, instead of the pure number-crunching side, because I know other right-brainers like me feel the same way.
(2) How much time will it take to utilize them?
KIM: My 2012 Money Planner is organized as a month-by-month guide for next year, so it’s designed to be used throughout the twelve months. But my other planners, including the Debt-Free Planner, Money Planner, and Baby Planner, are organized around specific goals or events (such as paying off debt or affording a baby), so people can use them as they are navigating those things. The planners have plenty of space for personalization and customization, so people can take notes and track their own goals.
(3) What is the biggest upside that people will experience from using Palmer’s Planners?
KIM: My goal is to help people get organized as they tackle big life events and goals, because after writing about personal finance for five years, I’ve come to believe that getting organized is the single most important thing you can do for yourself financially. People who know what their goals are, have their paperwork in order, and pay their bills each month have a much easier time staying on top of our increasingly complicated financial world.
(4) From your years of interviewing – both as a reporter and an author - what is the biggest obstacle people face when it comes to acting on basic financial advice?
KIM: Dedicating time to getting on top of your financial life on a regular basis. So many of us know what we “should” do and maybe even what we want to do, but actually setting aside time to take concrete steps, whether it’s setting up bills for automatic payment or rebalancing our retirement portfolios, can be harder to schedule than an annual physical. That’s why I like the idea of making a date with yourself, say once a month, to sit down and take a few steps towards a healthier financial life.
(5) If someone wanted to give a planner as a holiday gift, which one would you suggest and why?
KIM: My favorite for gifts is the Money Planner, which is available as a booklet (as well as in digital form), because even in our digital world, some people still like to have something concrete to wrap up and hand to someone!