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4 Unconventional Budgeting Tips Our Parents Should Have Taught Us

4 Unconventional Budgeting Tips Our Parents Should Have Taught Us

Yes, I am a financial service and banking professional, but it may interest you to know to I have also struggled with budgeting a number of times. Like you, I’ve been flat broke at times due to one ‘story’ or another.

The biggest “story” I hear is, “if I had more money, then everything would be better.” But that is a myth and i can attest to it. When business was booming for me and I mean Blowing up!. Hell, my net monthly income was a mid 5 figure, yet I was still finding my self juggling my business and personal expenses almost every month. So let’s move away from the ideas, for now, that you need to either have multiple streams of income or start a new home based business to get a hold of your finances.

Over and over again I had wholeheartedly declared that I would no longer stray from my budget, but like an overweight child starting on a diet, I found myself facing and yielding to diverse spending temptations like they were cupcakes. Hmmpphh!

Here are a few typical things we often say when it comes to money issues:

1. Why don’t I ever have enough money?
2. Where did it all go?
3. Why can’t my family spend less? (Totally my favorite. LOL)
4. Wait, I’m broke again?
5. By next month, we will tighten up the reins, get on track and start saving.

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…I call them “money conversations.” They were all part of my arsenal. Tormenting me as though I was possessed by a thousand demons.

But the year 2009 came with a messiah in the form of a ‘personal effectiveness course’. The veil was finally pulled from my eyes, and I realized that I had been asking the wrong questions all along; making statements that only fueled the fire of my ‘money conversations.’ Oh! the years I wasted telling myself this garbage. Wasted years, indeed.

I literally had a mental block when the ‘money conversations’ topic was brought up in the course. My mind tried so hard to shelter myself from the pain already stuffed deep down, hoping the world would give me a temporary sense of happiness and fulfillment. It felt like the Visa commercials where the view from your hut overlooking the Tahiti is priceless, but to get that priceless moment; it’ll cost $10k for just one trip. See? Even the big wig ad agencies have played on our internal weakness of that need to buy stuff to help us get a temporary relief of our real inner pain. Sad, isn’t it?

…So how do we fix our budget issues?

Gotcha!

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You thought this article was really going to be about budgeting, right? Aww. Cute.

The bitter reality is that it is YOUR THINKING, you will discover to be the problem, not the money. YOU are the actual challenge. Even our parents at one point realized this bitter truth, either they thought it was to late or they just weren’t kind enough to pass it along.

Don’t worry; you weren’t born with this. It has been passed down your family line not by DNA, but by generational habits. It is like when you first discovers what “little white lies” are and how they could be used to your advantage, and gotten away with. That moment, one realizes that control over one’s choices is achievable and that, my friend, is where the fault lies.

4 unconventional budgeting tips our parents should have not only told us but showed us:

1. “If it is meant to be then it is up to me”

Take responsibility for all your budgeting short falls and get the “stories” out of your head. Your mindset will be paramount when getting your budget in shape! This should not be something you “have to do” but rather “get to do”.

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2. “How is this situation or transaction impacting my budgeting habits?”

Keep asking “the question.” While transforming your budget, you will GET opportunities to constantly ask yourself that specific questions and it is NOT okay to NOT answer it. The next time you are tempted to make a purchase, like concert tickets or that new purse ask “the question.” When you get a year end bonus and you are debating to pay down your auto loan or take that vacation ask yourself “the questions”. This budget tip may seem lame, but I assure you that when you challenge your subconscious habits with this question you will WIN this budget war.

3. You have landed on budget island, it is time to burn the ships and conquer your budget

Take massive and drastic actions NOW. Get a journal and take 10 minutes on the first page and write what your financial life will look like in 3 years when you conquer your budget challenge. Go through your bank and credit card statements and categorize the debit transactions. Look at what is essential and whats not. Now cut the financial fat and get rid of everything (for now) that is not essential. You will not reward your self till you can prove to yourself that you can responsibly manage your money.

Go to your bank and set up a “special” savings account that will set aside all the money that is left over from your income after you have paid your essential bills and obligations. This is easy to do since you know how much you make and how much you actually need to spend to keep yourself alive. and we call this my friend, a budget! WOW! For some of you this will be the FIRST time you have actually put this in writing and I want to congratulate you on taking the first steps to budget bliss. What you will find is that if you stick to this budget, you see the “special” savings account grow.

I want you to set a 12 month goal of what that balance will be and what you will spend 30% of that on to really pamper your self. Do you have it? Great! Now add that to your journal as a goal! I want you to look at your first journal entry and that goal everyday for the next 12 months. You should write in that journal every day and record at least 1 thing you did that helped you get one step closer to your financial destination and how it makes you feel. I also want you to enter in at least 1 thing that you are grateful for that day at that moment. because when you have an attitude of gratitude, great things happen!

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4. Get a coach or an accountability partner

This last one is for the people who know they will need to get a push to get their budget under control. I find it funny that people seek out someone to help them get into better physical shapes or even to become a better actor or actress, but they never think about getting a financial coach or just having someone who will hold them financially accountable. Enlisting the services of a financial coach or accountability partner will increase your success rate by 72%. And some of us need all the help we can get.

I assure you that from the moment you start taking on your real inner challenges, your budget will flourish. Face your fears and get to work!

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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