Your Home – Springtime Family Fun (Planning)

February 2020 Newsletter

Family Fun (Planning)


The weather has been cold and bleak for the past couple of months. Your family has had to dig in and stay inside. Well, it’s almost time to get out and into the sun again. Spring break is a wonderful time to build family camaraderie. There are many great activities you can do with your family as you travel or stay in town, like attending a minor league baseball game or backyard camping. Check out these 10 fun things to do with your family on spring break and make some outstanding memories.

1. Hit the Beach
No place on earth relaxes the spirit like the coast. Bright sun, crashing waves, and feet in the sand. Your family will have nothing but smiles. Even if the closest beach is in a place that doesn’t get warm until May, being near the water will lift your spirits and give you hope that summer is coming. Whether it is the ocean or a lake, get there.

2. National Parks
Travel to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or the Smoky Mountains. It doesn’t need to be that big though, just find the nearest national park. Somewhere within driving distance lies a national park offering fun and exploration. Get out there and show your family the world is more than strip malls and concrete.

3. Baseball
Starting in March, America’s great pastime begins another season. The states of Florida and Arizona host teams from all over the nation. Spring training offers fans smaller stadiums, access to the players and coaches, and great weather. What could be more fun than a hot dog while watching baseball?

4. Rent an RV
RV dealers rent those big rigs for surprisingly reasonable fees. There are special resorts all over the country that cater to big motorhomes. Research an itinerary that works for your family and get out on the road!

5. Backyard Fun
Turn your backyard into your very own resort destination. You can play all types of different sports, such as ultimate Frisbee or volleyball. Put down a Slip N’ Slide. Even a sprinkler can keep young kids entertained for hours on end. Think outside the box and come up with your own unique backyard fun.

6. Cook Together
A skill your child should have as an adult is the ability to cook good food. Spend the week with your kids challenging and expanding your abilities. Become a grill master. As a family, research and find recipes of food you have never attempted. Try a new one each day. Have your kids involved every step along the way.

7. The Outdoor Project
Spring break is the perfect time to add beauty and function to your home. Take this time to add that long-talked-about gazebo, fountain, or garden. Involve everyone with vision and planning. Then get out there and do it.

8. Volunteer
Clean up litter in your neighborhood. Pick up trash around ponds and creeks that harm wildlife. Help an elderly neighbor with yard work or house maintenance. Let your family choose the cause and then be the solution.

9. Wacky Destinations
America has millions of strange and odd attractions. Most times they are free or very low-cost. That picture standing next to the 40-foot tall Paul Bunyan will be a timeless keepsake.

10. The Food Tour
Plan a road trip hitting some of the very best of the foods you love. Check the Food Network for some famous “hole in the wall” places or restaurants that have a signature dish. Nothing brings a family together better than food.

Finances – Security for Your Assets


With years going by, advancements for many technologies will become a reality. As much as this may be a good thing for us, it is also a bad one. For thieves, shady people, or people who are just plain corrupt, your assets could be put at risk. No matter what the company or who the person is, you need to be the one to take precautions for protecting your valuables. A somewhat lengthy list of six things below will help guide you to the sense of security you deserve!

1. Review all jointly held accounts. Any money you deposit into a joint account with your children, elderly parents, roommate, or business partner is at risk. If the joint owner files for divorce, incurs a tax lien, or lawsuit judgment, the entire account could be wiped out.

2. Increase your liability insurance. Your first line of defense in litigation should be insurance. Call your insurance broker and increase your liability limits. Make sure your personal umbrella liability coverage is for an amount at least equal to your new net-worth.

3. Consider keeping assets separate. Depending on the state in which you live and the source of your windfall, if you deposit the money into a joint account with your spouse, this money could instantly become half theirs. For some, this isn’t an issue, but for others, this could pose a problem. For example, if you have children from a previous marriage and commingle an inheritance you receive with your new spouse, your children may get less than you expect when you pass away. This problem becomes even more damaging if you are contemplating a divorce.

4. Protect yourself from renters. If you have a rental property or expect to invest in rental property after receiving your sudden wealth, create a business entity such as an LLC or corporation to shield your other assets from a disgruntled tenant. By doing this, if your renter sues you for $5 million, they can attack the assets in the entity that holds the real estate, but the rest of your personal assets are protected.

5. Create business entities to shield assets. If you have a small business or do part-time work on the side without having a formal business structure such as an LLC or a corporation, you are operating as a sole proprietorship. The “sole” means it’s just you, so unlike a partnership, you don’t have to worry about a partner’s actions . . . but all of your personal assets are at risk if you are sued.

6. Formalize informal partnerships. Business partnerships are ticking time bombs. Why? Just like joint accounts, you are responsible for the actions of your partner. But unlike a joint account, a lawsuit against your partner can put all of your assets at risk. For example, suppose you and a friend have an informal agreement to partner and provide consulting services. If your partner is involved in an accident on the way to a client, your personal assets can be in jeopardy.

This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.

Personal Interest – Time Budgeting

yearly planner

Lots of people spend time coming up with budgets so they can improve their finances. Then they spend additional time tracking their finances and comparing everything to their budget. After that, they may tweak one or the other, and sometimes both, as they balance their spending and income.
If you’re one of them, we commend you. Sticking to a budget and doing financial planning goes a long way toward reaching your money goals.
But have you ever thought about time in a similar way? After all, you can always make more money. However, once spent, you can’t make more time. That’s why you should budget your time like you budget money.

What to Spend Time On

Getting Organized

Although getting organized, and staying organized, takes time, it’s worthwhile to budget your time for it. Think of these two ideas, kind of like different budgets. You can choose either one, or both, to budget your time.

Utilize a Calendar App

To truly budget your time like you budget money, you need to allocate a certain amount of time for everything. Something that can greatly help with that task is to utilize a calendar app.

  • With a calendar app, you can set up appointment reminders, block your schedule for important projects, and more.
  • Additionally, many calendar apps allow you to access them from multiple devices wherever you may be. That allows you to manage your schedule with ease.

Put Tasks in a Worklist

If you’ve never used a scheduling application, using one is another way to help you budget your time. What’s more, you may even be able to replace that paper “to do” list you carry around.

  • Like other apps, most can be used from your phone as well as from laptops or other devices. This allows you to update projects effortlessly as needed throughout the day.
  • It’s also easy to see your list and work in order of priority with a scheduling app. That helps you focus on those that are important or have nearer deadlines.
  • What’s more, scheduling apps are great when you have a team of people to direct. You can keep a work list for each person and quickly see how they’re doing it at a glance.
  • Do you need to reassign a task to a different person or an alternate day? It’s a simple process when you use a scheduling app.
    Furthermore, if team members need to work together on one project, everyone can see the status in the scheduling app.

Creating Routines

Creating routines will also help you to budget your time better. Use the ideas below to save time so you can use it elsewhere in your time budget.

Make Meals Ahead

When you take breakfast or lunch with you to work each day, it takes time to prepare. Starting at home during the evenings makes getting ready in the mornings take less time.

  • Plan what you will eat and complete all of the prep work each night at the very least. If you can, make meals ahead in their entirety. Next, put the prepared food in convenient packaging so it’s ready to grab the next morning as you leave.
  • Using a little bit of time the night before can really pay off in the mornings when you’re in a rush.

Choose Clothing

A smart idea is to budget a bit of time to choose clothing each evening for work the next day. That way you’ll quit spending time you don’t have sifting through your closet for the perfect outfit. If you’re worried about wearing the wrong thing for the weather, consult a weather app on your phone first.
You’ll be rewarded with saved time in the mornings when you set aside time to prepare for the next day.

Staying Healthy

Something else you should budget your time for is getting and staying healthy. This includes not only eating right, but drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest. You’ll also want to exercise to get fit.

Quit eating junk food and limit your desserts. These steps will reduce that sluggish feeling you experience during the daytime. Other benefits are that your work speeds will increase and you’ll have more time for other things.
While you’re at it, drink lots of water and don’t be sedentary. Exercise in small increments if you are busy and lack time. Even a little physical activity is better than none.

It’ll be hard for you to avoid being tired if you don’t budget enough time for sleep. For many, lack of sleep is a common issue that can lower your productivity both at work and at home. Get plenty of rest so you can be at your best each day.

Learning Shortcuts

Just like spending money on what’s important, you should also spend time on what’s important. That’s why you need to learn as many shortcuts as possible.

  • Using shortcuts and hacks at home and work lets you work faster and be more productive. Here are some ideas to try.

Schedule Time for Emails

To budget your time like you budget money, allot certain times during the day to check your emails. Set it up on your calendar so you get a reminder but stay on task the rest of the time.

  • Check and respond to your emails first thing in the morning, at mid-morning, and again around lunchtime. Then, look at your inbox again mid-afternoon and at the close of the day.
  • You’ll stay in a routine and get more done if you manage your emails more effectively.

Use Templates

  • Have you ever looked for templates in the applications you use? If you don’t, you might be wasting valuable time recreating forms that already exist.
  • Of course, templates won’t be there for everything you do, but you can create your own as well. Then when you need to continually recreate a form, you’ll have a starting point to work from.

Training and Teaching Others

  • Budgeting time for training and teaching others can give you more time later. It also promotes teamwork.
  • Teaching your kids to do household chores can free up some of your time at home for other things. An added bonus is that it also helps them become responsible adults.
  • Training and teaching people at work is also worth budgeting your time to do. Obviously it will take more of your time at the onset. However, it should pay off by giving you back that time plus more down the road.

Relaxing and Recharging

If you want to continue working productively and at your best, you need to relax and recharge occasionally. That is why you need to budget your time for relaxing and recharging, just like you would budget money for it too.
But that doesn’t mean you must take an expensive vacation. Instead, you could stay home and take a few days to relax and have fun. Or, you could take a long weekend to get away somewhere.

Setting Goals

Setting goals is another thing that you should add into your time budget. Both personal and work goals are important. They inspire and motivate you to work hard so you can achieve them.

In other words, setting goals can increase your productivity and efficiency at home and wherever you work.

Having a budget for your money is important to your financial well-being. Budgeting your time in a similar way is also important so you don’t waste it. After all, you only get a certain amount of it.

Important Dates:

February 14 – St. Valentine’s Day
February 17 – Washington’s Birthday / Presidents’ Day

Words to live by

Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. – Plato

Thank you and have a great month!

Posted in

Paul Stella

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