You’ve probably heard, a million times, why it’s good to have a ‘budget’.  We want to give it a softer, less boring, tone.  One that says, “I’m in control and don’t want anyone else telling me what I can and can’t do, when it comes to my hard earned money and how I spend it!”  Our goal is to have you be thoughtful and strategic in how you spend your dollars before you “Just do it!”  We want you to feel free in your spending, but at the same time know why there are limits.  Simply trying hard to restrict yourself from what you want doesn’t last, unless you know ‘why’ you’re doing it (or not doing it).

We have a four-phase spending plan strategy and we lay it out both on a monthly and weekly basis.  Huh? Monthly and weekly?  Yes, I know.  Sit tight and I’ll explain.  Each month there are monies you just KNOW you’re going to spend and it’s usually the same amount monthly.  This is our PHASE 1 FIXED MONTHLY EXPENSES.  Once we have them figured out we move on to PHASE 2 VARIABLE EXPENSES.

PHASE 2 takes some thought because what we’re trying to do is encapsulate all of the non-fixed, non-monthly spending, add it up, then break it back down into 12 months and add it to PHASE 1. This list may include things like: vacation or travel, birthday and wedding gifts, and maybe some medical bills to name a few. You may also need new brakes for your car, a periodic oil change and, if you already own your home, you just know that the plumber is going to stop by from time to time.  It’s hard to know exactly how much to plan for but, if we think ahead and at least guesstimate, we can create a balance so that we have a plan of attack for when these things happen (and they will).  Once we talk it all out and add it all up, we break it back down and add it back to PHASE 1.  AHHH we covered it all right?  Wrong!

What about us?  We work hard and deserve some fun money too, right?  Yes!  We do but, if we aren’t careful, we may easily spend more than we make and the retired ‘we’ won’t be too fond of the ‘us’ of today.  Many of ‘us’ don’t care about the future ‘us’ but let’s face it, one day we will retire.  We have to make sure we leave some for when we can no longer make the cash we’re making now.  I know, it stinks but if we think ahead and do well with our money today and tell it what to do instead of it telling us what to do, we might just end up okay.  This now takes us to PHASE 3 and it’s called Financial Planning for Tomorrow, even though it might take a lot of tomorrows before we have to deal with it.  Go to any 70-year-old person and ask them if they would do anything differently with their money, if they had another chance, and get back to us with those results.  We won’t be shocked with what you will find.

Within PHASE 3 we talk about risk management, asset allocation, and growth.   You may already have some life and disability income insurance as well as 401K deductions through work.  That is great, but don’t just assume that it gets the job done, completely, because it simply doesn’t.  You have to also take a second to review and understand what you have so that your ignorance doesn’t come back to bite you.

We can help you with that (not the biting part).  We’re mostly here to take the chaos that is flying around you, hitting pause on your life, helping you to see where you stand, and how all the moving parts will affect your tomorrow.  PHASE 3 is crucial.  We’ll teach you about how insurance works and why anyone in the world would ever buy it.  We’ll advise you on what type and how much to implement, based upon YOUR goals, not our philosophy.

So now, finally, the fun part: PHASE 4 FUN MONEY.  Now that we have counted all the dollars and given them their assignments, whatever is left is broken down into your weekly allowance.  Expenses that weren’t mentioned above are what would go in here: golf, nails, hair styling, dinners, drinks, fast food (because we were too lazy to pack our lunch), movies, so on, and so forth.  You get the idea.  All of this takes a little time to run through and, most importantly, talk out so we have dedicated a lot of time and energy to get this right.  You’ll need to call a ‘time out’ from life to spend a couple hours thinking and talking this out.  We love helping people with this so, if you need us, we’ll be there to help you get through it and do it accurately.  A wise man once said, “It’s a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement.”  And it is.  If it were easy everyone would do it and I’d be doing something else right now.  And our country probably wouldn’t be $17,000,000,000,000 in debt.

Your spending plan is the foundation to and structure of your financial future so let’s get to it……