Another month gone from 2021 and for the most part the few resolutions I wanted to tackle…well, they’re gone. I’ve taken a different path and placed a priority level as to what is REALLY important to me in both my personal and business! This has enabled me to be more focused and less “all over the place”, fingers crossed!
Typically we jump on a diet plan and fail even though friends were highly successful. It goes back to the old saying, “one size does NOT fit all”. What works for a few may not work for you or me. The same is true with our monthly spending plans or budgets.
This is an area where I concentrate so you are not trying to make someone else’s budget fit your life; stop being frustrated. To win the budgeting game, you need a plan that fits you and your lifestyle. What are your goals? Where are you at in life? What are your money fears? Discovering the answers to questions like these will help layout a budget that works for you.
To Start – What is Your Current Stage of Life?
Did you just graduate from college? Are you retiring in the next few years? Are you single or married?
Your budget takes into account where you are currently, today. A fresh college graduate who may have student loan debt looks at money differently than someone at the end of their career heading into retirement. To offer these two individuals the exact same budget, one that actually works, is impossible.
If you are beginning your career, there is room and time to grow your income. On the other hand, if you are nearing retirement your income level has likely topped out. You may need to budget for not only a decreased income but perhaps extra for travel or medical.
What are Your Personal Goals?
Do you have personal financial goals? I would bet if you ask your closest friend their answer will be different than yours.
While some financial goals may be dictated by your current stage in life, others are more personal to you. Perhaps you were recently engaged and looking to save for a wedding. Or maybe you are single and want to take the opportunity to travel the world inexpensively.
Most budgets have vague and general line items for saving and paying off debt, but these might not work for you. There are many financial goals that don’t fit the common budget model. Maybe your financial goal is to make more money, and to do that; you need to take on additional debt to go back to school. Instead of using the one-size-fits-all budget, start by listing out your goals and take a look at how you can best budget to achieve those goals.
What Kind of Lifestyle Do You Want?
Another factor that budgets almost never take into consideration is what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Many operate on the live-like-a-pauper method with the emphasis to pay off debt and save all the money you can. What is the point in having a nice bank account if you are living your life in a way that makes you unhappy or you dread splurging once in awhile?
Maybe the lifestyle you want involves travel, attending concerts or Broadway style shows. It is important to look at the lifestyle you want to lead and use that to balance and prioritize your financial goals. It may be something you won’t be able to do every month when you’re just beginning your professional life but there isn’t any reason to be a hermit. Living your life how you want may mean pushing back the timeline on some of your financial goals, but that is fine so long as you are okay with it.
If your financial goals are the most important, and you have no problem with living modestly, if it means you can reach goals faster, then, by all means, do it. Craft a budget with the bare minimum of expenses and a heavy hand on paying off debt and building savings.
What are Your Views on Money?
Do you have any big financial fears? Are you terrified of credit cards or being in any kind of debt? Addressing those fears may involve equal parts gaining knowledge and shaping your budget. If being in debt is your biggest fear, then your budget might need to put precedence on paying off debt above savings.
Your mindset on money involve more than just fears. Whatever your views on money are, your budget should take these views into account. Remember, this is your budget, not someone else’s.
Laying out your budget in a way that acknowledges your beliefs, works with your current stage of life, and allows for your desired lifestyle, all while helping you achieve your financial goals, is the key to financial success.
What are your financial goals or dreams for the future? RV trips across the country, mission trips with your church or synagogue, volunteer with a favorite charity, or start a new business. Add this to your budget as a line item and begin today!
If you would like to learn more about putting a spending plan / budget together for your stage of life reach out to me today. I have openings available and would love to learn more about your dreams. Click through below to reach out through my calendar or Social Media channels.