Back when I worked in the hotel business, certain departments would work on cyclical schedules. For example, the housekeeping department might have certain cleaning regimens that took place on such a cycle and ranged from carpet cleaning and deep cleaning projects, to hard surface care, mattress rotation, and metal polishing. Meanwhile, the engineering department had lighting inspections, filter exchanges, and similar jobs that took place on a cyclical schedule as well.
From my time spent in hotels, I took some of what I learned and applied it to our family’s own personal finances, in turn, coming up with a cyclical financial schedule that works for us.
Listing annual financial activities
To come up with our cyclical financial schedule, we first listed our regular financial activities. Our list included:
- Reviewing credit card statements
- Reviewing bank statements/accounts
- Updating net worth
- Tracking expenses
- Mortgage payoff evaluation
- Debt repayment progress
- Tracking income
- Income tax reviews/updates
- Bi-annual property tax payments
- Utility/home expense tracking
- Credit report/score reviews
Ranking in order of importance and frequency
There are of course certain aspects of our personal finances that rank higher on the scale of importance than others. I would put things like doing our income taxes and reviewing regular credit card and bank statements over things like updating our net worth. I also divide such items into how frequently we must conduct them. Items like expense and income tracking are conducted more regularly – often several times a week – while things like updating net worth, utility tracking, and credit card and bank statement reviews are done monthly. Meanwhile, credit reports are reviewed quarterly, and income taxes done annually. We’ve found that breaking our cyclical schedule down into weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, and annual activities makes for effective timeframes.
Tracking, adjusting, and updating as needed
Over the years, a financial situation can change, and with it, the activities listed on our cyclical schedule. For example, once our debt and mortgage were paid off, we could eliminate them from our list. When we added several children to our family ranks though, we had to add in things like annual school fees and activity costs.
Therefore, while a cyclical schedule can be important to stay on track when it comes to financial activities, like many things, it may need regular and routine maintenance, which can itself be scheduled on a regular and recurring basis – say once or twice a year. This can help keep a cyclical schedule accurate and effective, adding and deleting activities or adjusting timeframes for such activities as necessary.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.