It’s always on your list of New Year’s Resolutions and looks something like spend less, save more - or pay off debt. All good resolutions! So, how’d that work for you?
I find that people really want to be better stewards of their money, yet it always seems to be a challenge. Like a diet or exercise, it works great….for a while. But like a diet or exercise, it takes time to see results. And like a successful diet or exercise, it takes a plan. Small changes here and there make a small difference. If you really want to take control, you need to outline what you’ll do, when you’ll do it, and be realistic about when to expect results.
Here’s a few steps to get started:
Take an inventory of what you made and spent this year, by category. Include the “needs to have” – utilities, cable, house, car, gas, phone, groceries. What are your “wants to have”? Total these expenses such as restaurants, travel, movies, concerts. Total your savings too!
Compare the totals. Hopefully, what you made exceeds what you spent and saved. If not, you likely have debt that will at some point have to be dealt with, and it will cost you until you do. How about the “needs” and “wants” expenses? It’s surprising to many families how much they spent on “wants”, yet they’re very diligent about keeping the “needs” expenses lowered.
The needs and wants challenges don’t go away. Establishing and sticking to a realistic budget and savings plan today can benefit you for a lifetime.
Do the projections on your 401(k) account calculator or let us know how we can help you determine how much you need to save to become financially independent. When you know the numbers – and implement your budget and savings plan – you ‘ll have control of your finances and soon be financially fit!
Call us today! 256-417-4870
Laura Mickels has spent more than 30 years working for investors with both Wall Street and independent firms. CochranMickels Retirement Specialists provides personalized planning and investment services to individuals approaching and in retirement.
These are the opinions of Laura Mickels and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.