Basic financial planning can be summed up in four principles: knowing how much you earn, how much you save, how much you spend, and how much you have left over. From there, you branch out into the areas of Risk Management, Investment Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning and Estate Planning. Each item represents only part of your total personal financial situation.
As you approach the middle of 2022, consider where you are with your financial situation: are you where you want to be? Have you encountered circumstances outside of your control that have derailed your financial plan?
Take a moment to breathe deeply and remember when you look to your personal financial situation, you begin with your budget. Following are some steps to help you regain control and finish 2022 strong:
Own your budget. Budgets help you to understand where your cash is going and identify where you can improve your cash flows to ensure your money is spent in alignment with your needs, values, and goals. By owning your budget, you accept responsibility for your spending habits.
Leverage tech to discover and create a budget you feel good owning. There are many apps available to help you with your budget and the one closest to you may be the one offered by your very own bank or credit union. Wells Fargo has "My Spending Report" and Champion Credit Union has “Money Manager.” Apps like Mint and YNAB (You Need a Budget) are also very popular. These tools use the data you share to help you to track budgets, cashflow, goals and net worth. Take the time to investigate which tool works best for you.
Be kind to yourself. Once you’ve identified the tech that works for you, look at your budget categories and approach your budget from a place of curiosity: what are you seeing? Are you spending money on what makes you happy? Are you setting aside money for your long-term and short-term goals? Are there some categories where you are spending more than you thought you were spending? Note your discoveries.
Get into the habit. Regular examination of your personal financial situation is a form of self-care. Block out some time once a week to review your budget. When you begin this practice, expect to spend 15-30 minutes looking over your spending habits and the health of your financial accounts.
As you get into the habit of looking at your budget and confirming that money is going where you want it to go, you may discover your spending habits shifting to align with your values and goals.
A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ may help you see your financial situation from a new perspective.
Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.
Originally published in the May 2022 issue of Positively Haywood, www.vicinitus.com.