Year-End Financial Planning

It’s the end of the year, and I’m been doing some financial planning and moves.

First, I rebalance our retirement portfolio. As I’ve written before, I have a pretty automatic investment approach for our retirement funds. It’s a tweak based on a strategy that Dave Swensen, head of Yale’s endowment, recommends (more here).

Second, charitable giving. As a couple, we also donate each year 10% of our pre-tax income as a part of a personal belief that we’ve been doing since the beginning of our marriage (more here). So, I do the math and make the donation to our family’s charitable giving fund. It isn’t easy for me to part with the money, but, over time, I’ve stopped thinking about it. That too has felt automatic to me.

Last, I add more each year to our children’s 529 college-savings plans. When I did so a few days ago, an unexpected thing happened: out of nowhere, I feel a tremendous feeling of satisfaction.

What started as a mundane task became very fulfilling. I think part of it is that it feels really good to “provide.” I received a pretty basic high school education from a very “regular” high school. Many classmates did not go to college.

My college-application process was pretty uninformed, as I applied to schools sight unseen. My guidance counselor was a freshman football assistant coach. A really nice and supportive person, but we as a school had very limited experience with selective college admissions.

So, I feel very grateful that my children are receiving a great education. It was a very unexpected and wonderful moment as I transferred some money to their college accounts.

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