What is the secret to losing weight? It’s eating less and working out. It’s simple, but it’s not easy. It’s not easy because it requires discipline, a hard attribute to pin down. Like losing weight, budgeting and saving can be hard. It requires long-term discipline and in order to succeed, you need to make a plan. Like any good weight loss plan (low carb diet, paleo, keto or intermittent fasting), the key to budgeting and saving money starts with a financial plan.
Track Your Basics
A good financial plan starts with a budget. Just like weight loss is due to the number of calories in versus calories out, saving money starts with understanding what you’re intaking (your income) and what you’re exerting (your expenses); write down your income and expenses to determine what’s left over.
Clearly Define Your Financial Goals
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good “Before and After” photo of someone’s successful weight loss. Consider the same for your savings, investment, and retirement accounts. Create a snapshot of what your accounts looks like now, and picture how you want them to grow in the next five, 10 or even 30 years.
Now that you know what you have remaining after expenses, use that number to establish debt pay down and savings goals. According to a study conducted by GoBankingRates
, 56% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. This lack of clear financial goal setting can be avoided with the right guidance.
Consider a Coach
When you lack the time or motivation, you may turn to a personal trainer. A financial advisor or Certified Financial Planner (CFP®
) can provide the motivation, in addition to an analysis of your funds and goals, to help you set and reach your financial goals. Instead of cutting out carbs, they may help you cut out $5 coffees. $5 dollars a day over 30 days a month become $150 a month. $150 a month for 12 months becomes $1,800. Small changes can create big results.
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Investment advisory services offered through Sikich Financial, an SEC registered investment advisor.