It’s mid-January. By now, you’ve either tackled your resolutions with zest, or you’ve happily abandoned them. Many of us associate the New Year with turning over a new leaf. This is the year you’re going to lose those last 10 stubborn pounds. You will eat better, train for a marathon, organize your house and save money!
Well, we can’t help with the weight or the marathon training. But we CAN help you with organizing your money! Having a good grip on your finances is the first step in helping you enjoy a comfortable retirement. If you don’t know how much you spend, how will you know how much you need when you finally stop working? The first question we ask when we meet new clients is, “What’s the burn rate? What is your Number?” You’d be shocked at the number of people that just don’t know. Or, the number they’ve come up with doesn’t take into account a lot of extraneous items, such as going out to dinner, gym memberships or those few extra dollars you like to send to your grandchildren for college spending money.
The first important task is to download our Budget Planner. Believe us, this is the workhorse of all planners. We know there are many types of planners you can get, but we’ve found that this one is the most complete and easiest to follow.
The second task is to follow the 5 easy steps we’ve given you for creating a monthly/annual budget. It is never easy to start a project like this. Most likely, you have papers everywhere. You’ve saved every single statement and stub, but they’re in no particular order, and the idea of going through them seems daunting. But you need this to complete the very important first step, which is:
STEP ONE: Go through your papers!
Without this step, you cannot move forward. How else will you know exactly what you spend, and what you’re going to need? Look at everything. Your salary. Bank statements and pay stubs. 401k, pension and social security numbers. Do you have real estate? Rental income? And don’t forget to include any legal documents you may have had drawn up. Do they include trusts? Without these documents, we can’t help you. We need a starting point for the next step.
STEP TWO: Make an Appointment With a Retirement Specialist
Someone who specializes in retirement planning can help you sort through these many statements to help analyze your budget. That’s where we come in. We can help you organize this mass of papers and put them into some kind of order. And we can answer any questions you may have about exactly what accounts you have and how they work. The idea is to have you feel more confident about your retirement when you leave than when you came in. We have many safe and guaranteed tools to solve any problems you many have regarding you income, savings and what your future income will look like. (And remember, we can’t do this without Step One!).
STEP THREE: Create Your Monthy and Annual Budget
Now that you know exactly what you have and how it all works, complete your Budget Planner and create your monlthy and annual budget plan. How does it look? Is this something you can live with? What changes do you need to make? And be honest about your lifestyle. People tend to spend more in retirement because every day is a Saturday. Going out to lunch/dinner more often, or taking extra trips add up. Did you include this in your number? If not, pay close attention to step four.
STEP FOUR: Set Realistic and Attainable Goals
Can you afford the same lifestyle you’ve always had? Is that important to you or not? Will you spend less now that you’re not working, or will it be easier to spend more because your days are structured differently, and you have more time to be social? Will you be taking children or grandchildren on trips? Will you want to help them pay for college? Tweak this budget and, again, be honest. The way you set this up now will make for smooth sailing going forward.
STEP FIVE: Track and Make Changes
Analyze your performance and adjust when necessary. We can help you immensely with this step. If you become a client, we have annual reviews at which we go over your number, examine how our solutions are helping and whether or not we need make some changes. Life changes on a dime, but we can help you navigate these changes.
So, do your financial health favor and download this very important document today. Cross one resolution off that 2018 list!
Go to www.justdontlosethemoney.com or call us at 877-630-8787 if you have any questions. We look forward to helping you, and happy budgeting!