Budget Lessons from a 3 Year Old:
My oldest daughter turned 3 yesterday. For those of you that don’t know Rory, she is ridiculously smart for her age, smooth talking, and a charmer (ok, I’m a little biased). Somehow, at 3 years old, she has already figured out how to play “the game.” Which basically means that she has me completely wrapped around her finger. So it should be no surprise that for her birthday my wife and I decided, within reason, she could do anything she wanted. For us that meant a trip to the Lafayette Zoo, doughnuts for breakfast, ice cream for lunch, wearing Disney Princess dresses, spending some quality time with her cousin “Baby Nora,” and double the normal story time before bed. Pretty much the perfect day!
95% of what she asked for, we allowed, and she loved it! Until she asked for a Pony… Finally, we found our limits. There are a lot of similarities when working within a budget. As we continue to advance through our careers, our ability to purchase different things may change, but at the end of the day, we still need to have our limits. For some, self-imposed limits work really well. For others, hiring a financial adviser to build some accountability is a must.
How Do We Find Our Limits?
Tracking your budget used to be a long, daunting process of balancing checkbooks, tracking every expense during a single trip to the gas station, and writing down all of the results. Fortunately for all of us, the year is 2016 and we can let technology do what it does so well. There are many tools out there, for example, all of my clients have access to their own personal secure website with an automated budget system to help them track their expenses.
While general guidelines, based on your income, are available for ideal ranges in each expense category, every situation is different. The first step in determining what your individual budget should look like is to review your current spending. It doesn’t matter if you make $30,000 or $300,000 knowing what is coming in (your income) and what is going out (your expenses) is essential in building out your financial future. If you haven’t started down this process before, you will more than likely be surprised at how much and where all of your hard-earned cash is going.
Working with families to allow them take control of their finances and ease a lot of the stress associated with money is so important to us at Aurora Financial Strategies that we have incorporated it in our mission statement. Like Rory, if it is your dream to own your very own pony, I’ll even show you how to plan for it.
Bill Cardwell, CFP® ChFC - President of Aurora Financial Strategies
Bill Cardwell is the founder and President of Aurora Financial Strategies, a financial advisor practice based out of Kokomo, Indiana. He can be reached at email@example.com or by calling (765)438-4682. Advisory Services are offered through Creative Financial Designs, Inc., A Registered Investment Advisor, and Securities are offered through cfd Investments, Inc, a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA & SIPC. Aurora Financial Strategies is not Owned or Operated by the CFD companies