There’s no shortage of personal finance advice on the internet. But as with any other subject you research online, budgeting and planning tips can range from helpful, to silly, to outright false.
Then there are the beliefs we all hold about our personal finances, which may have been influenced by bad or poorly communicated “advice” throughout the years. How do you separate fact from fiction? For the most part, you can set aside these ideas, because they generally are not true nor helpful.
You have to deprive yourself. Many of us tend to believe that budgeting requires sacrifice and deprivation. However, you might be looking at the situation backwards. Don’t focus on things you must “give up” in order to succeed financially. Look at your budget as an opportunity to identify what’s really important to you, and to arrange your finances around those priorities. A budget shouldn’t feel like deprivation when you’re working toward your dreams.
“I can keep a budget in my head.” A budget can get fairly complicated, especially when unexpected events arise. Plus, no one’s memory is perfect. Commit your budget to pen and paper, or digital records, and you’re more likely to stay on target.
Budgets are for people who struggle financially. This one is definitely not true! You might be surprised at the number of high-earning individuals who have eventually found themselves deeply in debt, bankrupt, or struggling in retirement. And of course, there is always the possibility of job loss or economic downturn, in which case budgeting skills will come in handy. I believe everyone needs a plan for how to prioritize spending, along with saving for emergencies and retirement.
Setting and following a budget is cumbersome and time consuming. Yes, you will need to set aside a couple of hours the first time you organize a budget. But after that, keeping up with your priorities shouldn’t feel like a burden (assuming you establish your budget with convenience in mind). A good software program or smartphone app can help you stay on track without much hassle.
Budgeting is only necessary when you’re saving for a big expense. You might think budgets are for people who are saving for a home, wedding, or their kids’ college tuition. So, you think you don’t need to budget if you aren’t worried about those things. But almost everyone will retire someday, and that’s a pretty major expense! A budget will help you plan for that, along with emergencies and other life events.
On that note, give us a call as you establish a more prioritized spending plan. We can help you analyze your needs, take advantage of beneficial opportunities, and set up a savings plan for retirement.