If you’ve ever thought the pieces of your life puzzle don’t seem to fit properly, perhaps you’re missing a piece. Financial planning is the one piece people often overlook or avoid because it seems so “complex”. Without this missing piece, it is difficult, if not impossible, to fulfill your goals and ambitions as you move from one stage to another in your life.
First, financial planning is more than a one-shot effort. That is why I prefer to call it Financial Life Planning.
By themselves, jigsaw puzzle pieces don’t mean much. They’re nothing but a blur of color and befuddling shapes. But organize them properly, keep your eye on the big picture, and you can fit them together to create something amazing.
Financial Life Planning works the same way. It doesn’t matter if you’re first starting out and have a smattering of financial pieces: a bit of saving here, a little investment there or you are in the middle of putting your Financial Life Plan Puzzle together and have lots of financial pieces. When it comes to making those pieces work together, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you aren’t sure how to organize them, or what the big picture looks like.
Plus, you don’t want to get near the end of the puzzle and discover you’re missing a crucial piece.
The “big picture” we aim for is financial security— being able to meet your day-to-day needs (and wants) now and in the future. The good news is you probably already know the basic principles of financial security.
Show me the money
Getting the pieces of your Financial Life Planning Puzzle together will help you see the big picture. The beauty of your plan is that it doesn’t matter how much money you make. Whether you bring home $20,000 or $200,000 a year, you can ensure that today’s—as well as tomorrow’s—needs are met.
What does matter, however, is that you spend less than you earn.
Sounds like a simple concept, yet so many of us have a heck of a time doing it. It’s well worth the effort, though. If you master this principle, you’ll free up money in your budget you never knew you had to start piecing together your financial plan.
And that means, eventually, never having to worry about money again.
Here are Five Opportunities to cut or reduce your spending
- Give yourself a raise and bank it. Boost your take-home pay by adjusting your tax withholding and have the difference in pay automatically transferred to an online savings account or an investment account. Most Americans have too much withheld from their paychecks every payday. Correcting that over-withholding by filing a new W-4 form with your employer can create an instant pay raise. Contact your tax advisor or use Taxbrain to determine the correct withholding.
- Enroll in a 401(k). If your employer offers a 50-cent match for every dollar you contribute, even adding $60 a month will net you over a grand a year. And remember, boosting your 401(k) contribution by $60 a month won’t cut your pay by that much since pre-tax dollars go into the account. If you’re in the 25 percent tax bracket, a $60 contribution cuts your paycheck by just $45. The other $15 comes from Uncle Sam.
- Pay off your credit card. Carrying a $1,000 balance at 18 percent blows $180 every year on the interest that you could put to better use elsewhere. Have multiple cards and need a plan to eliminate your debt? Contact us for our debt elimination plan strategy.
- Get a credit card with rewards. Spending $80 a week on gas and groceries? Putting it on a card with 5 percent cash rebates will earn you nearly $200 a year. For additional ideas on picking the best credit card, check out The Points Guys for recommendations
- Travel on the cheap. Bypass the old trifecta of travel search engines (Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz) and head straight for kayak.com, which will search them all—saving you money and time. Want it on your phone? They have an App – get it here
During this 90 minute conversation, we will discuss how you can become a Financial Olympian™
- What do you value most in life?
- What makes you happy?
- What principles guide your decisions?
- What do you ultimately want to achieve in your life?
- What’s your purpose in life?
- What’s the vision for your future?
Have a great weekend, it feels like Wet Summer Weather is finally giving up and letting the heat come to North Texas.
Be A Financial Olympian
Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ● CEO
Be A Financial Olympian™