Family Financial Planning: Why Not Have an Annual Party?

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Welcome to my Wednesday Education (financial) B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog where I am opening up a conversation around family finances and strategies to discuss money in each household. My family never talked about money, we only had one semester of personal finance in high school, and so we all had to find out about money the difficult way. I am here to change our money mindset so that our kids are not blindsided when they become adults. Each week on Wednesdays, I will be giving pointers on how families can start talking about money

The last few weeks, I reviewed how children’s books and games can help families start the discussion about finances.  A couple weeks ago, I explained the 5 W’s of Family Financial Planning. These five Wednesdays in June, I will break down the 5 W’s and highlight each area to better help families understand how to open up communication around how money works and everyone’s roles in family financial planning. Last week, I started breaking down the “Who” should participate by giving ideas on how children and adults can start talking about money. This week, I am going to break down the “Why” everyone should start family financial planning and make it an annual holiday party. 

Why Should the Family Plan Their Finances Together? 

As discussed last week, families should make a financial planning holiday one day a year (usually towards the end to budget and plan for the upcoming year). This way, all the family members can learn important money strategies they will have for the rest of their lives such as planning financial goals, budgeting, paying bills, listing wants vs needs, tracking spending, and maintaining healthy debt (will review what that looks like later).  Below, I have created a checklist families can use to get started on planning their financial holiday party. 

Financial Goals – create a Google Doc that you can share with everyone 

  • Realistic
  • Specific
  • Set deadlines
  • Short/mid term goals
    • 3 months wages saved for emergency fund
    • Vacation fund
    • Savings for other large purchases
  • Long term goals
    • Paying off mortgage
    • Setting aside for college
    • Life insurance

Budget – there are lots of free or paid phone apps and websites to help with this

  • Income – find all the sources of money, keep in Google Sheets to share with everyone
    • Monthly wages/tips
    • Cash on hand
    • Money apps
    • Savings
    • Investments
    • Real estate 
    • Gift cards
    • Piggy bank/loose change
  • Bills – create a Google Sheet that you can share with everyone 
    • Pay off as quickly as possible
    • Always pay on time
    • Make a spreadsheet of all outgoing money and when it is due 
    • List all the credit cards and loans, interest rates, how much is owed
  • Needs – Keep a list of things the family needs to save up for, also create in Google Sheets to share with everyone
    • Small at home mending
    • Professional repairing
    • Replacing or removing
  • Wants – Keep a Google Sheet (or Family Vision Board) of things the family really wants to save for 
    • Activities
    • Dining out
    • Entertainment
    • Mini retreats
    • Large vacations
  • Track Spending –  there free or paid phone apps and websites to help with this
    • avoid overspending
    • get alerts
    • have info for tax purposes
    • Use during annual review

Debt Repayment 

  • Timeline to pay off – can keep track in app or Google Sheets
    • Pay off the cards with the smallest balance or the highest interest rate
    • Pay off one card at a time with large lump sums
    • Continue to pay other card minimum payments
  • Refinance- seek professional assistance here
    • Car
    • Home
  • Consolidate – seek professional assistance here
    • Credit cards
    • Bank Loans
    • Financial Aid Loans

Family Financial Planning Annual Holiday Party

When you attach emotion to learning, you remember better. Why not start planning family financial holidays at least one time a year to get the family excited to discuss money together. Use the list above to get the conversation started, modify it to make it your own, and seek out apps, websites, and other financial services you may need to help you along the way. Here are some suggestions on planning for that annual money holiday party: 

  • Date: 
    • Put date on the calendar
    • Stick with it
    • Make sure everyone commits
  • Food: 
    • Money filled cake/cupcakes
    • Gold coin candy
    • Green eggs & ham (green colored food)
    • Gold/glitter covered chocolate strawberries
    • Gold/glitter cake pops or marshmallows
  • Mood:
    • Money music playlist (helps improve memory recall)
    • Everyone who can speak and count money is participating
    • Take pictures and videos to document event (watch at future parties)
    • Burn scented candles or incense to enhance senses (better for memory)
  • Decor: 
    • Gold/silver streamers/balloons/tableware
    • Dollar sign balloons
    • Paper money dangling from ceilings/entryways
    • Piggy banks with year on them (can be end of party gifts and used for savings raffle)
    • Money prints
    • Dress up like millionaires with fancy hats, clothes, shoes, and accessories
  • Games – that might take some prep time to create: 
    • Coin toss
    • Costume contest
    • Money filled pinata
    • Money jar (guess the correct amount)
    • Money mad libs
    • Money trivia (similar to Jeopardy)
    • Money tree
    • Money dance
    • Money Bingo
    • Money Pictionary
    • Money charades
    • Money word scramble (similar to Wheel of Fortune)
    • Musical chairs with money playlist
    • Scavenger hunt for for most expensive items
    • Price is Right (have items for people to guess correct amount)
    • Guess the millionaire (sticky notes on foreheads, people give you hints)
    • Savings Raffle (prize for member who saves the most money in a year) 
    • money board games
  • Financial planning:
    • Plan the party
      • Time party starts/ends – set on Google Calendar
      • Time for decorating
      • Time for making games (ahead of party)
      • Time to play games
      • Time to eat food
      • Time to financially plan
      • Time to unwind and reminisce (watch movie of past parties, discuss growth)
    • Have the lists above ready or create your own
    • Prepare all the documents and resources needed for the planning portion
    • Make it fun, memorable, and pass on the financial planning party in your family traditions


In the past, and presently, family discussions around money are nonexistent, and most schools do not even teach about personal finance, leaving many adults clueless about how to manage individual and family finances. Now is the time to start changing the way we talk about money with everyone in the family, the “who,” and “why” we should plan our finances on an annual basis. I have provided some action steps that kids and parents can take to start the discussion around money in the household, including having an annual family financial planning holiday party. Next week, I will dive into “what” families should start planning for their finances together. 

Thank you for reading,

Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.

About the Author

Dr. Brainerd

Hello, I am Dr. Jaime Brainerd Ed.D., a lifelong learner, beauty consultant, author, financial specialist, artist, traveler, health enthusiast, and self care advocate. Please follow my website for my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blogs.

4 thoughts on “Family Financial Planning: Why Not Have an Annual Party?

  1. What a great idea especially for young families. Even though our family are now adults, Rich and I have an annual financial review but never thought of a party. That sounds like a fun, non stressful way to get and keep your finances in order. Thanks for all your great times.

  2. A party! That sounds like a good idea. It might make families more likely to actually have the discussions and planning talks. Great idea!

  3. This is a fantastic idea! Just the idea of a party will help younger kids want to learn. (Always thinking of homeschool ideas!!)

  4. Oh, I love the idea of making it fun!!! And you know what else would be a good idea? Having parties throughout the year to celebrate the fact that the money is growing. And maybe have money that never gets used and celebrate that money, too. What a neat idea! LOVE it.

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