Weekly Finance Time Helped Me Accomplish 3 Scary Financial Tasks

  • “Finance for the People” is a new book on personal finance that is actually about systemic injustice.
  • In the book, financial expert Paco de Leon recommends scheduling weekly time for finances.
  • I tried it for a month, and it helped me file my taxes and change my name on my bank accounts.
  • Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.

It’s tiring to hear personal finance experts give advice on cutting back on morning coffee to save for a down payment on a house without considering the changing cost of living for millennials and Gen Z. in particular, especially after the devastating financial effects of the pandemic.

Enter: “Finance for the People: Getting a Grip on Your Finances” written by queer Filipino expert and former financial planner Paco de Leon. In the book, de Leon addresses the systemic injustices that affect our relationship to money, then gives readers insightful advice on how to achieve “financial greatness” within that system.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of paying off debt, saving for an emergency fund, and building wealth through investing, Leon’s first thing is to schedule weekly time for finance. Weekly finance time is 30 minutes to an hour each week to complete personal finance tasks like checking your monthly subscriptions or calling your auto insurance provider to see if you qualify for a lower rate.

For people like me who have experienced financial trauma in the past, it’s easy to let money-related tasks snowball into bigger problems over time. After reading the book, I scheduled my own weekly finance time for a month and it helped me do these three scary personal finance tasks.

1. File my taxes

I’ve spent weeks worrying about my taxes because I recently underwent a legal gender-affirming name change. After reading “Finance for the People,” I felt like I had a cheerleader in my corner who knew what I was going through. I committed to doing my taxes for an hour at a time, and I was shocked how little time it took.

In 2021, I had a mix of freelance and full-time income. I had to gather W-2s, 1099s, and other documents to prepare to file my taxes efficiently. It only took an hour and a half to get organized and another half hour to file my taxes through H&R Block.

2. Notify my service providers of my legal name change

The most daunting personal finance tasks have to do with my legal name change. Changing my name was one of the best and happiest decisions I’ve ever made, but navigating bureaucratic processes is terrifying for me. On the phone or in person, customer service reps always make me feel like I’m cheating their system or that my life experiences just aren’t right for them.

I used my Wednesday lunch breaks to make those phone calls. Somehow, having a specific time on my calendar to tackle an emotionally charged personal finance task made a huge difference.

3. Go to my state disability office

I had gender affirmation surgery in November, but I haven’t yet been paid for the time I stopped working. I had to go fight for my medical leave check in person at the state disability office.

I set aside an hour of my weekly finance time to take care of it, but waiting in line took two and a half hours. There were almost 100 people lined up to speak to three customer service representatives about disability and medical compensation.

Much like filing my taxes and contacting my service providers, scheduling a time specifically to do this task helped prepare me mentally and emotionally. I even brought the book with me to read while I waited in line, and it made me feel less alone.

What I appreciate most about “Finance for the People” is its ability to meet the reader where they are in their own financial journey. Some people need help choosing a retirement plan or saving for their first home, but others still need encouragement to simply build a sound financial foundation.

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