Let’s give some thought to the last time you spent money. Whether you were purchasing a new outfit to wear to an upcoming social event, tending to some repairs on your house or car, or just picking up some groceries; were your actions consistent with your goal?
I believe that the day–to-day handling of your money, no matter how routine it may feel, needs to be intentional. When we are clear about what our priorities are and use our money accordingly, we are being intentional. However, this isn’t always the way it goes. Too often we are persuaded by others in the way we spend our hard-earned resources; either by our kids, our spouse, or our friends and find ourselves pushed or pulled into ways of handling our money. When this occurs, it may hurt our long-term finances, upset people we care most about, or just keep us from accomplishing our longer-term financial goals.
So how do we get intentional about how we spend our money? It starts by taking an honest look at what comes in, what goes out, and where it all goes. I recommend designing a good old-fashioned BUDGET. Now, before you start to break out in a sweat and develop hives, please know that budgeting does not have to be painful or restricting. It also does not have to be down to the penny, although that helps keep us honest.
As a Certified Financial Planner® one of the first things I am interested in is obtaining a clear representation of your monthly cash flow. It tells me not only about the health of your relationship with money, but it also shows me what you value most. It is NOT about judging your handling of money, but rather making sure the advice I offer is in alignment with what is important to you. The best thing your budget can do for you is show you what your lifestyle is costing you today, and how you can continue to achieve your future goals without sacrificing your lifestyle. Give a simple budget a try. You just may discover that you CAN afford to fully fund your 401(k) or IRA, take an extended vacation next year, or retire early. All it may take is being intentional with your money.
Joe Ricciardi is a Certified Financial Planner® with Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake Il 60014-2225. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Dorion-Gray is not affiliated with Securities America companies. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.