I am beyond excited to finally share with you our State of the Family Workbook!
First, a little background. David and I started doing this annually a few years back and I shared tidbits with you each time. I thought maybe you’d perhaps giggle and get a kick out of it, but I was not prepared for how many of you wanted to know more! Over the years I’ve received numerous comments and emails asking for details….
How do you set The State of the Family up? What topics do you discuss?
Could you show us how you plan out goals for the year…I’m visual and need bullet points or prompts!
I’d like to know more about how your state of the family meeting works. Can you send me a copy?
I would like to hear more about how you and David set your goals for the year and what happens at the State of the Family meetings.
So interested in your family meeting every year! What do you talk about, personal goals, money, kids?
So much interest! And I get it. Our State of the Family is one of our favorite date nights of the year (even if that date night is at home in pajamas after the kids go to bed). It’s our time to comb through the previous year, address problematic spending, celebrate financial wins, map out the year ahead, and discuss long-term goals and dreams. I wanted to share it all with you so you could do the same in your house! Only, there was one problem. This was David’s brain child. He is the spreadsheet guru around here and always leads this “meeting,” so I knew I’d have to get him on board.
It took a couple years to convince him to turn his evaluation and presentation into a resource I could make available to those of you interested in doing a similar end-of-year comb-through of finances and family goal setting, but now, it’s here!
We have poured time and money into creating this workbook over the past couple of months. It is an interactive, downloadable product with formulas built right into the worksheet (that means no calculator needed for you!). The simple formulas are set up to help capture your full financial picture- total debt, assets, retirement, educational savings accounts, total net worth, etc. After the financials, we lay out the discussion questions we go trough ourselves to look back over the past year and plan the upcoming year ahead.
David also recorded a video to walk you through each step of the process that you will receive access to in an email after purchase. As a one-time purchase, you can use the workbook each year (or twice a year as we sometimes do) or print out copies and keep a running record of your finances and family goals year after year. And now, I will hand this post over to David to tell you more about the State of the Family workbook!
Several years back, Brittany and I knew we were doing the ‘right’ things with money financially- we saved into 401k’s, had an emergency fund, and generally weren’t big spenders. We also discussed long term goals of how we wanted to travel with the girls, and what sort of life we wanted for ourselves in the future.
The real challenge was connecting those two discussions – today’s financial decisions against tomorrow’s goals and dreams. How did we know we would be able to attain the goals we wanted? Are we saving enough for retirement? How much should we pay down loans so we aren’t in debt for the next 200 years?
A few years ago, I finally had enough of the not knowing for sure, and decided to make an ultimate spreadsheet to capture everything. It was everything a nerd could hope for, formulas, tabs galore! Knowing Brittany would not get quite as excited over a hard-to-read spreadsheet, I put it all into a summary form and created the first State of the Family address!
Once the kids were tucked into bed, we walked through the simplified view of where we were as a family. It covered everything from a summary perspective:
- Liquid Assets (cash/credit accounts)
- Real Assets (primarily real estate for us)
- Retirement (summary of those IRA & 401k accounts with projections for when we hit 65)
- Net worth (all of the accounts/assets combined into one final number)
Then we transitioned into the discussion and planning stage – Vacations, Home projects, Kids education/activities. This has proven to be the most valuable part of the State of the Family and definitely why we keep doing it every 6 months or so. It forces conversations about life goals, both long term and short term, and allows us to budget for those large dollar items while our financial picture is still fresh in our minds.
Now that we have done the State of the Family address for a few years, it has gotten much easier to update each time. It is also great to include the past year’s numbers so we can see how much closer we are to our goals. It has become a normal part of our conversations and a great way to start a conversation. Brittany and I worked hard on putting together an interactive form that would allow you to walk through the same process we do and have the same planning meeting as a family! The form will total the amounts for you- and we also have a video walk through once you purchase to help you see exactly how we use the form for our State of the Family!
Click for the The State of the Family Workbook!
I’ve been a long time reader (since you were pregnant the first time) and though I don’t typically comment on blogs I do follow you and your family on social media and still read here and I have to say I’m sincerely disappointed. I genuinely thought you and David were going to share some tangible information with this post. I’d been looking forward to it since you’ve talked about the ‘State of the Family’ so often (here and on IG) so to see very little new information shared here and to require your readers to pay money is really disappointing and disingenuous.
I really expected more, and it was jarring and not what was promised to be honest to have just a few sentences about what’s included but then to not actually share it.
I agree very disappointing.
What sort of ‘tangible information’ were you looking for? Maybe I can help provide the information you are after.
Nevermind, answered my own question 🙂
Love your blog – have read it for years and years – but was hoping for a blog post about this topic rather than a book I’d have the option to buy.
Yikes. From how you talked this up, I was truly expecting more. The actual written part of this post is really lacking in substance, and then bam! Readers are hit with a “buy now” option to see the rest. It seems pretty tacky to me. Why not just publish a well thought out post explaining the nuts and bolts of It? Don’t your readers bring you enough $? I’m curious how others are perceiving this.
Brittany Dixon says
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I will be honest and tell you that I was caught off guard and hurt by the response, even as I respect your right to have it. While I know that many bloggers have many paid programs, ebooks, courses and more, I’ve made a dedicated effort to share as much as I can for free — here and on social media. While I do make money from the blog, I have chosen to run very few ads, I have turned down a number of sponsorship opportunities and I have spent hours every week for the last several years trying to put together the best, most helpful and most-requested material, and I *always* keep my readers’ experience in mind. The State of the Family workbook that David and I created — something that has taken hours of our time and a significant amount of money in production and technology costs — is an interactive product/ebook that I believe has more value than the $14 price we’re selling it for, but again, I wanted to make sure that people who were interested in it could find it affordable, and it’s certainly not a required purchase. Thanks for reading, and thanks for considering what went into the decision to create this much-asked-for product.
“Actual written part of this post is really lacking in substance” Ouch! My 1st blog attempt is shot down! As an engineering major, my strength is numbers, not speaking purdy…. 🙂 ce la vie!
That’s why I leave the writing to my lovely wife – one of the many things she does better than I.
What nuts and bolts are you looking for? Maybe I can help explain it more clearly.
David- are you trying to be relatable with your “speaking purdy” comment? Connect with your local southern readers, perhaps? You’re trying to sell a financial worksheet to blog readers, but assume they are so dumb you have to use “purdy” language so they will understand it? Yikes.
This is great!! Love it!
Thanks Callie! It was a few months in the making (pieces here and there) glad to have it come together finally!
So you have to click on the download link to find out you actually have to pay for this?! Shady.
I was really excited for this until I saw that it wasn’t free. I know a lot of time was put into this and that time should be compensated but I just can’t spend any extra money right now.
We have quarterly meetings with our financial planner and it’s a huge help. He helps with retirement, our sons’ college, etc. I guess I like using him since my MIL worked for him for 20 plus years. It’s also hard that my husband is salary plus commission. We’re also lucky that my husband has a ton of hotel and airline points from all the traveling! I do know how lucky I’m am that I can stay home and we can save and travel. My husband may be gone a lot but I handle all the home stuff and pay the bills and he doesn’t have to worry about stuff and just focus on his job.
Good for you holding down the fort! Financial planners can be great- the most important part is that it is someone you trust, which is what it seems like you have found through your MIL. We meet with ours annually, but I actually get excited to go and talk with them every year! haha, #NerdStrong
Heather Brown says
I totally understand this not being free- but is there a way to see a preview of a page or two? Just to really understand what we are getting? I’m not sure if this is possible, but if so, could you share 🙂
Brittany Dixon says
Hi Heather- Sorry it wasn’t more clear! I’ll try to go back and add more detail, but it is an interactive workbook/ebook. David recorded a video walking through each step, and you are able to enter your household’s personal financials in the workbook, which has the formulas built in to calculate your total debt, retirement savings, net worth, and more. If you have any specific questions, please let me know. I’d love to answer them for you.
Hey, I just bought this. Where are the videos? I feel like I am missing something…
Brittany Dixon says
Hi Katie, thanks for your purchase! You should receive an email that contains the PDF and the link to the video. If you don’t receive it shortly, please let me know and I’ll make sure you get it ASAP.
I just got them, was not patient enough:). Thanks!
Brittany Dixon says
Oh great! If you have any issues, please let me know 🙂
Thank you for the work that you and David put into this! I am getting married in the spring, and this will be a great tool for my fiancé and me to start using. I just purchased it and it looks great. You are a role model to me, I hope that someday I can be the kind of woman and mother that you are. I so appreciate all of the time and effort that you put into this blog. You absolutely deserve to be compensated for your work.
Congrats on the wedding!!!
Julie Hughes says
I think this is absolutely the best thing EVER! $14.00 for a personalized interactive workbook/ebook to help you get yourself set up and organized for your future!
You share your goals, challenges, organizational skills, recipes, advice, smiles, family, home schooling, love, your heart and so much more every day. I have no doubt that there was some serious thought and hard work put into this workbook! Girl if I was in the need for this I’d be the first one in line to buy it!
cristina rojas says
logged in to see if anyone had asked about the video, because i cant find it! HELP 🙂 !
also- couldn’t help but notice that some people are upset about having to pay, and while i understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion- just wanted to put this out there: meeting with a financial advisor costs a few hundred dollars, the dave ramsey program also costs money- so do money saving and managing apps. they all cost something because they are giving you the tools and knowledge to be able to apply to your lifestyle. respectfully, having already purchased it- i can tell how much time and effort went into it and i am thankful for you guys and am looking forward to using it.
Brittany Dixon says
I’m so glad you find it to be the quality we were shooting for! Did you find the video? It is in the initial email, but if you didn’t get it, let me know and I’ll make sure I send it to you stat! <3
cristina rojas says
i cant find it 🙁 wahhh. its probably my fault! can you resend? i have the manual just not the video!
While I’m 25, not married, and not at a point in life that is financially complicated, even I am considering purchasing this. $14 is more than reasonable for the final product and for the amount of time y’all put in. THANK YOU to both you and David for putting in the time and being open to sharing a very personal piece of your life with others. You more than deserve to be compensated for your time and hard work. So thank you!
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If I am being honest, I’m wondering what exactly makes you and your husband qualified to create and market and sell such a product. I don’t know, perhaps I’m a jaded personal trainer who spent a significant amount of time studying and pouring myself into learning my craft who is a little put off by so many online fitness coaches who have no business taking on clients. I know this may be apples to oranges, but it’s what is on my mind and I felt compelled to share.
I completely agree with this comment. There are many (free) resources online that can help people start to plan for the future. Maybe I am unaware, does David have some financial background? I think almost anyone who has worked in an office environment has some limited experience with excel and can create formulas.
I’d also add that this would have been a perfect topic for a blog series. I definitely would be interested in hearing about how your family plans for the future. This seems like a missed opportunity.
Thirdly, it seems a little shady to not mention anything about this being a paid worksheet in this post until the very bottom. To be honest, before I got to the end of the post I had no idea what you were selling. You both talk about yourselves a lot and the parts telling the reader how and why this will benefit them is not very convincing. Of course, this is just a random person’s opinion, but I think if you really want to sell this worksheet, this post leading up to it could be more clear.
I do enjoy your blog, but I am sorry to say this has rubbed me the wrong way.
Lucy- (While you might overestimate people’s excel ability or access to excel) I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment, and honestly, I can simplify further to say everyone with a sheet of paper who can add/subtract could probably do a State of the Family address with very similar results. Planning for your future is not rocket science.
However, it doesn’t take long after searching how many americans have saved for retirement to realize that despite the simple nature of personal finance, it is often neglected. I believe that is not because of the daunting mathematical calculations- but more due to people feeling discomfort with the topic. Ask at your next girls night who feels they are on track for retirement! Haha!
The point isnt if you are on track or off, but rather to provide a framework to start the conversation with your partner, set goals together, and review your progress.
I apologize for not making that more clear in my description above. 🙂
Sorry to have rubbed you the wrong way, but glad to hear you enjoy Brittany’s blog!
Ha! I hear you on the varying degree of personal trainers out there…. come to think of it – they probably do have a good/bad ratio similar to financial planners! (I do not have any financial certifications to be clear)
I have struggled to find a trainer at a gym that worked for me. What ended up making the difference? Finding a friend to workout with to hold me accountable! (And eating Brittany’s food certainly helped a lot – I used to add extra cheese and sausage to pizzas before I was married!) 🙂
Sorry, I digress- back to your question. What makes us qualified to sell such a product? Given I have been doing State of the Family addresses for several years now, I guess it could be interpreted as what makes me qualified to do that? I am pretty good with simple math, and understand compound interest well enough to be able to discuss where we are at and then lay out a comprehensive plan for us to attain our goals.
Make no mistake, I have worked hard to reduce the complexity of this workbook so it is only simple math – but then again….. I think the secret to a getting in shape is pretty simple too…. eat healthy, real food, not too much, and exercise regularly.
I’m sorry, but I do not agree that doing your own state of the family for years makes you qualified. As a consumer of these type of products and services, I look to someone who has certifications and a track record of helping clients achieve their goals.
Sure, you can eat well and exercise with a buddy — but that’s not the same as hiring a personal trainer who say, watches your form meticulously to help you avoid injury or can drop to the floor and perform CPR at any given time.
I appreciate the effort that went into the workbook, I just hadnt expected it to be a workbook and more of a blog post discussing thoughts and opinions that went into making decisions. I would love a post on what happens when opinions differ ( maybe yours never do), but me and my husband can clash. I want a beach trip, he wants mountains. I want a beach vacation house, he wants Colorado. I want the kids in swim and gymnastics, he prefers baseball. So us tackling future goals can get a little heated trying to compromise. Or even picking kids activities over saving more for retirement. It’s hard finding the middle ground.
That is a great idea for a post! And I think it is exactly why I started our State of the Family a few years ago. We’ll see if Brit can shed light in a future post (we do pick 1 sport/1 enrichment etc for the kids – and I am happy to share our ratio of savings/spending/kids/vacation etc), but there certainly is no silver bullet from me.
The fact that you know what each other wants, and already discuss the alternatives puts you way ahead. As for who wins…… Colorado. Always Colorado. Just be sure to get a large enough place where we can come visit for an extended period of time. 😉
I would love to hear your ratio of savings/spending/kids/vacation etc! This is something we struggle with.
Me, too! How do you decide whether the convenience or product you want now (coffee on the go, treating yourself to new clothes or a spa service, paying for the nicer hotel) is worth it if it means taking away from future earnings? I guess opportunity cost is what I am most interested in learning about, because that is what I think about the most. I am really good at forgoing what I want now (I actually think I do my family a disservice at times with this?) and I am wondering how you give yourself permission to spend X dollars now knowing that it will mean you are X (+ compounding interest) away from your retirement goals.
Wow, I am shocked at all of these rude comments! While I have yet to purchase your workbook, it seems like a very valuable tool to have, and at such a little cost. Sure they have examples online, but this is from someone you value their opinions (or else you wouldn’t follow her blog) and they have used this for years and has come to be a annual thing. Not to mention, all of the time and money they spent to make it available to all of us. Thanks you Brittany and David for sharing your knowledge and being so open on a very sensitive topic (like finances) and I’m sorry some of your followers are being so uptight about $14.
Second this comment! I started my own version of a state of the family a few years ago after hearing about it on this blog. Thank you David and Brittney for putting yourself out there and creating content that might help some people. I in no way thought of you guys as experts (per a previous comment), but I actually like getting advice and understanding what works for the non-experts! A lot of time the “experts” in the financial field do not have your best interest at heart. I personally didn’t need the workbook (fellow excel nerd here) but I purchased it 1) to support a blog a enjoy and get inspiration from and 2) to possibly give to a family member that might find it useful.
And to all the rude commenters, have some compassion for crying out loud. Understand that Brittney and David are putting themselves out there and taking chances and it might not hit for everyone but there could certainly be people out there that find this very useful.
Thanks for putting this workbook (and yourself) out there! I feel this would be an amazing tool for many couples planning their financial future. It seems my husband and I have similar spending habits and financial philosophies as you two. I have been more hands off with our finances for the past few years (okay, more like 10), as my husband is way more into the investing part of it. I never really had the stomach for monitoring my 401K closely (’07- ’08 traumatized me) and took more of a “set it and forget it” approach. BUT, I feel it’s probably unfair to put all the burden of the finances on my husband, and would like to take a more active role (as long as he agrees to help with the cooking, of course😁). Also- as a fellow engineer turned math teacher, I feel there’s nothing wrong with you writing😉. And yes you’re right- Colorado always wins. We worked really hard to relocate out here 8 years ago and love it!
John J. Stathas says
Wow, quite the varied replies and sentiment toward your State of the Family blog. Surprised at some of the snarky comments. Guess these people find $14 too high a price for a tool that may help them find that $14 that they so object to! Glad you guys didn’t get defensive but rather tried to further explain and work with them. I think it is awesome that you as partners take the time to discuss your financial status and plan accordingly. You guys are role models at many levels. Thanks for your sharing.
P.S. You BOTH write well in my estimation.
Caitin M. says
I am a long time reader (2009!) and I love your blog. Some things I agree with and some I do not. But, shocker…I stick around because even best friends don’t have to see eye to eye on everything! Peoples comments are a little harsh. Would it have been awesome for this to be free? Sure! (who doesn’t like free things?) But at the same time all of your hard work and time is worth something. It is not part of your blog so any income from your blog shouldn’t have to cover it. My one less than awesome comment is that you could have mentioned selling it in the post intro just so it was clear from the get go. Kind of like sponsored posts. Many other bloggers do tons of sponsored posts and have things they have made that you can buy. So I don’t think you have done anything crazy here!
I love following along with your journey (including notes from David!) and cost or not I look forward to using your workbook! Lots of love from an engineering number loving family in Kansas City! 🙂
How is this different from Mint.com or the like? Thanks!
I have used mint.com and YNAB and they do a great job with monthly budgeting and tracking expenses. They typically integrate with your banking system to streamline that process.
This State of the Family Workbook helps you to create more of a big picture snapshot (fluid accounts/retirement/kids futures etc), with a bigger focus on the long term discussion/planning aspect of finances. See where we are, and plan how to get to where we want to be.
I think using it with a monthly budgeting app can be super helpful – for example, think of using the workbook to see that each month you should allocate $400 to a vacation fund, $700 to retirement, and $100 to 529s, then use Mint to track how well you are doing on those goals. Hope that helps!
I strongly support your perogative to assign financial value to your time and thoughts. Fourteen dollars seems to be a mere token and I have certainly derived more than that out of this blog in ideas and inspiration. That anyone would question your qualifications to present your personal opinion on how to approach your finances is laughable. Your offer to share these opinions is generous. Thank you.
I would love to try this, and am wondering if this works with always fluctuating self employed income.
Side note, we’ve enjoyed Dave Ramsey’s classes and it got us on target for paying down debt.
We’re both around 40 and have 1 kid in college and 1 in kindergarten. Saving for retirement is becoming more important to us each year.
Will this “system” work for someone in our shoes?
Long time reader, thanks!
I’ve been waiting for this post & heard you make mention on your Instagram stories recently that it would be posted. Now that it’s up I feel a little mislead. I’m unsure now if I assumed it would be a certain way because this was the post I was hoping to read or if it was presented this way. I hoped it would be more of a post detailing the things you all talk about and perhaps some percentages of how your finances are allocated versus a workbook & video.
I know we’re in the minority for folks our age, but my husband and I both have a great grasp on our financial situation and are confident in our ability to retire when our time comes as long as we continue on this trajectory.
It sounds like the workbook is geared more towards the financial side of things, so it does not sound like something I would purchase, but, not knowing what else may be contained in the workbook – because I don’t see a sample or super detailed index, I hope you’ll do a mini series of sorts about what non-financial discussions may be had during the state of the family and what questions you think are best to get those discussions started.
This went a little sideways? Over on Lauren’s Latest blog, she did a for purchase holiday magazine last year, and I don’t think it had much/any backlash. She clearly stated that is was for purchase and outlined the value, and I think that helped a lot. From the buzz on this topic, I too thought it would be something different than what it is. I’m not upset by it, just moving on with my day. I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas! Thanks for all of the interesting, helpful, funny, and entertaining content all year long!
Wow-I too am surprised at all the rude comments. People are not being forced to spend $14, it’s an option. Why do so many feel they are entitled to have everything for nothing?!? You and David have put so much work into planning your family’s financial future and have the open heart to share your experiences with others. Unfortunately by doing this, it makes you vulnerable to some hurtful, rude, comments. Keep on doing what you both do so well—-sharing your life, heart, and knowledge!
I can appreciate the work that went into this project, and your passion for sharing a tool you’ve found helpful. I do, however, think that the negative feedback you’re getting is mainly due to the fact that you were not upfront that you planned on charging for this worksheet. If you had been upfront about that, stating “We’ve decided to sell this tool on our website for the limited-time offer of $14” at the beginning or even end of your post, instead of embedding the charge after the download button, I think you wouldn’t have seen as much pushback.
The post certainly came across as “here’s a download of a tool we like.” Then the reader presses the download now button, follows a link and is told to get out their credit card. I hope you can see how this comes across as shady. Being upfront and honest with people will always pay off. To really be a successful family, we’ve found that being honest with everybody–relatives, our kids, co-workers–is one of the key linchpins to a good life.
I typically tune into your blog for the recipes though I read everything you post. You are a very thoughtful blogger and while not all of the topics interest me (I’m not a mother for instance), the effort you put forth is evident. As a result of what I deem to be your extreme care, I assume your State of the Family Plan would be of the same caliber as the rest of your blog: well-written and clear. Everyone complaining about the $14 needs to calm down. Buy the plan or don’t. The sense of entitlement that it should be free is disgusting and why not be compensated for your efforts. Keep up the good work.
Love your blog Brittany – and am not usually a commenter until today! Just wanted to say – you’re doing a great job. I 1000% believe what you’ve created here is of great value and you should absolutely be compensated for your and David’s efforts. I’m super excited to buy, as I have no clue where to start with my soon-to-be husband, and combining finances, understanding where we’re at, etc. Is it too soon to open this up at our honeymoon? Hahah kidding 😉 But seriously, I appreciate you! Don’t let any negative comments get you down. Your blog is something I look forward to to get me through the mundane work week 🥰
Marjorie Crawford says
This looks like an amazing value for only $14. After the years and years of FREE content that you constantly give and give and give…for FREE…it is crazy to me that so many people would get so triggered by a paid product. 🤷🏼♀️ Especially at such an affordable price point. I just want to say that I see the value in what you are providing. Hugs!🤗
Valerie Bostwick says
My husband and I just purchased this product. We use YNAB for everyday budgeting, and were interested in this product to use numbers we already had within YNAB to facilitate future planning. I admittedly was surprised it came at a cost solely due to it not being mentioned when the upcoming post was talked about. However it makes complete sense, it’s a product they spent time customizing for mass use. Especially at the discounted rate, it’s exactly what we were looking for and we are very excited to plan our financial date night! Thanks to you both for sharing and sorry for all the negative feedback you’re receiving!
Jessica @myhealthypassion says
I can’t wait to dive in! Newly married… figuring out our big picture! Thanks for sharing… and of course it’s not free… you worked hard on it! Don’t apologize! ❤️❤️❤️