Save to reach your goals
I wrote this article because I discovered the real need to help people understand how to track and budget first. Investments, REITs, and whole life insurance will follow; but it doesn’t happen by chance. The client has to create his personal financial plan first, without the distraction of an “investment advisor”. My goal is to help you, the reader, get advice on how to keep track of your own expenses and create a simple financial plan so you know what your goals are and what you want to do before the broker tries to get you out of it. with an attempt at psychological persuasion and a direct request for sale. The only client area that was remarkably successful was doing a monthly income minus monthly expenses tracking sheet. This tool allowed the client to know first-hand how their spending habits were affecting their saving habits. The more detail-oriented the plan, the more successful it was.
Key steps to achieve the goal
• keep track of all expenses
• create a dreamy background
• stay disciplined
Let me tell you a dirty little secret. The Microsoft office has a budget and tracking software program that is as sophisticated as the program (Profiles Professional) that your “advisor” uses to keep track of your expenses. What separates your program from theirs is absolutely nothing. Even a personal budget program has interactive movies, tracking software, educational pieces, and more. You, the customer, have many ways to keep track of your expenses; you can get it in an app on your phone. You can really budget regardless of your informative lifestyle choices. And you, the client, can do a much better job, because you are not focused on a sale, and you know your habits better than your advisor.
Create a dreamy background. If you had all the resources in the world, money was not a problem, what would you be doing right now? I know what I would do, I would spend my time helping people, but I would also take my children to the Greek islands and explore artifacts with a university professor. Is your dream to go on a romantic European tour of Italy with your partner? You know your dreams better than I could ever hope. So start writing them! And take the bus, car, boat to your local bank, and open a dream savings account. Many banks now have very flexible ways to help you save money with them. For example, TD Bank has a Christmas Club account, a savings account. Bank of America, for example, gives examples. Take ten dollars out of your purse / wallet and open your account today. If all you have is 1 dollar of change. Take that change and set it aside in a jar. Save your pennies, your dimes, nickels. A good friend said that a penny saved is worth nothing. Incorrect! 400 cents is four dollars in your pocket. When starting out, it’s easiest to start with $ 10 as a goal, then build from there. Before you know it, there’s $ 80 in your account, then $ 100, well, you get my point.
Stay disciplined. Make a goal of depositing money into that account once a month, every six months. What I really recommend is every week. Do what is best for you. We tend to live our lives in 1 week cycles. Monday, Tuesday …. Weekend. Why not do the same with your finances? A little discipline and change can go a long way. Before you know it, you are building momentum. Saving becomes more exciting. Dreams fade from the background view and come to the fore. Now none of this is easy. It’s hard. But imagine the feeling when you have reached your goal.
Expense tracking. This is an extremely important part of getting out of debt. Let me tell you another secret. Your investment advisor has a similar tool that you have on your computer. Most likely, you have Profiles Professionals and you have Microsoft Money. Most computers these days are extremely intuitive. All you have to do is log onto a computer (it doesn’t have to be new) and check out our software application. In my case, I have Microsoft Money. My personal computer allows me to list my bank accounts, with balances, my mortgage with a schedule of when it will be paid, and a budget sheet. Your financial advisor will ask you to do your “homework.” Review your credit card, mortgage, account balance, pension fund, 401k or 403b statements. List everything. Mark everything with a dollar sign. Then list wills, trusts, etc. You will get a complete picture by doing all of this on your own. You do not need the financial advisor for this part.
Budget. Keep track of every dollar that comes out of your pocket. Save your receipts and put them in a manila envelope. At the end of the month, you will receive a clear and unbiased view of where you are spending your money. Classify your expenses according to your needs and wants. If your budget is running into a deficit, cut down on current expenses that represent your wishes. Instead of going out to eat every week, try going somewhere a little nice once a month and save the difference. Instead of a smartphone, invest in a more traditional cellular device. Compare prices, see if you can’t get a better deal with another provider. For example, Microsoft Money is extremely intuitive. Just click the budget button and follow the prompts to create a full budget. This will save you time with a fee-based financial planner.
This is all you need. Follow-up. Take action and save.
Your budget is really a lifestyle plan. What kind of lifestyle do you want in 10 years? Is owning a real estate property important to you? Do you enjoy traveling? Do you want to start your own business? All of these are important factors to consider when deciding what type of budget you want to live with. This will help guide your choices regarding employment or business ownership. Now I’m not going to leave your broker in the dust. They have a place in your life. Once you’ve mastered your budget and started saving for your future, it’s time to find a trusted advisor who can help you with your finances and guide you towards investment options that would be beneficial to you. If you have a self-directed personality, you may first want to learn about the funds and options available to you. The best advisor is the professional who can step back and assess your entire situation honestly and in your best interest.