Unplugged financial planning

There’s a lot of fancy talk out there when it comes to financial planning. It’s a profession that loves its jargon, calculations, and software-based projections. When it gets down to it though, confidence in your financial plan boils down to two things, knowing where you are and where you’re going.

Knowing where you are

Simply put – you need a budget. Don’t frown. Let me explain. Budgeting is not about what you can’t do with your own money, but what you CAN do. Have you ever felt guilty about a purchase? Have you ever thought to yourself in the store “ugh, I should really hold off, we’re trying to be better about this”? Do you feel like all the effort and restraint doesn’t seem to be paying off in your checkbook from month to month anyways so why bother? Know what? A properly executed budget can free you from all that. Really.

To live a better life today and tomorrow, you need a sustainable budgeting process that accounts for your needs, funds your most important and enjoyable wants, and allows you to plan for your future with hope and confidence. Yes, a spending plan is the key to unlocking all of that. The best part is, YOU (along with a spouse if in the picture) are the Chief Financial Officer(s) of your household deciding where the money goes. You work too hard not to spend a bit of time each month telling your money what to do. Money is finite…..you’re the boss of it. Tell it where to go. Enjoy spending it according to your plan.

Knowing where you’re going

Save! Invest! Pay off debt! So much noise. Save where? Invest in what? Pay off which debt first? Psychologists call it “the paradox of choice”. Too many options and unknowns create anxiety and we end up spinning our wheels. I hate to break it to you, but you probably can’t accomplish all those goals at once. There’s only so much money. You need a plan that identifies what’s most important to you, puts a timeline and a dollar sign next to each of those, and then lays out the order of operations to get you there. In short, rather than getting bogged down by the myriad of options, identify what to do NEXT and then get after it.

You should spend your time focused on what’s most important to you. Spend a sliver of your time being intentional about your financial plan and you just made the important stuff in life that much better.