Skip to content

The Joker Fund

The Joker Fund

If you are like many of my clients, you might find yourself asking “why do I feel like I am running in place?” when it comes to your finances. With the rising cost of food, interest rates, inflation, and unexpected expenses…it’s no wonder people are constantly worried about not being able to save enough. Today, Matt Robison and I came up with a way to help alleviate financial anxiety using the Joker’s infamous line in The Dark Knight (2008): “Nobody panics when things go according to plan.” In a word: plan. We call it the Joker Fund.

Tracking Expenses

Before delving into the details of how the Joker Fund works, let’s address a crucial issue that many of us face: the inability to easily track expected but irregular expenses. Think about it – life insurance payments, Roth IRA contributions, kids’ summer camp fees, tuition bills, and even vacations don’t necessarily get billed monthly. They come up at different times of the year, but they always come up. So, what’s the best way to manage them without constantly feeling blindsided?

Meet my client whom I will call Dave. Dave embodies the epitome of financial anxiety. Every Zoom meeting with him inevitably revolves around budget discussions. Despite his meticulous tracking, Dave struggles to stay ahead of his expenses. It always seems like there’s “one more thing” popping up, leaving him feeling financially behind the eight-ball.

According to a survey by Sleepfoundation.org, Dave isn’t alone in his feelings. In fact, a staggering 76% of U.S. adults admit to feeling some level of anxiety about their personal finances. And for many, this anxiety translates into poor sleep quality, with 77% reporting that financial worries keep them up at night.

So, how can we break free from this cycle of financial stress? The answer lies in automation: a.k.a. The Joker Fund.

Automate Your Savings

The Joker Fund operates on a simple premise: turn the unexpected into the expected. Instead of being caught off guard by irregular expenses, anticipate them and proactively save for them. It’s about pre-saving for known expenses, even if the timing might be uncertain.

Here’s how you can implement the Joker Fund strategy:

  1. Identify Your Irregular Expenses: Make a list of all the expected but irregular expenses you incur throughout the year. This could include anything from annual insurance premiums to holiday shopping budgets.
  2. Calculate Your Monthly Savings Target: Total up all these expenses and divide by 12 to determine how much you need to save each month.
  3. Set Up Your Joker Fund: Open a dedicated savings account specifically for your irregular expenses – this is your Joker Fund. 
  4. Automate Your Savings: Set up an automatic transfer from your main checking account to your Joker Fund each month in the amount you calculated in step two. This ensures that the money is set aside before you have a chance to spend it elsewhere.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Keep track of your irregular expenses and adjust your savings plan accordingly. If you have a particularly expensive month, you may need to increase your monthly savings target temporarily.

One of the key benefits of the Joker Fund is that it removes the temptation to dip into your savings for other purposes. By segregating your irregular expenses into a separate account, you create a mental barrier that prevents you from overspending.

Automation for the Win!

But what about tracking all these expenses? Won’t it be a lot of work? Surprisingly, no. Once you’ve set up your automated savings, you can largely set it and forget it. The beauty of automation is that it does the heavy lifting for you, leaving you with more time to focus on other aspects of your financial life, like vacation planning.

If you find yourself constantly stressed about financially running in place, it’s time to embrace the Joker Fund. By automating your savings and proactively planning for known expenses, you can take control of your finances and say goodbye to financial anxiety once and for all. 

Transcript

Never miss a post!

Related Podcasts

The Joker Fund

Episode 139 •

16th April 2024