“How good are you with your money?”, is one of the first things I ask my clients. I get a range of answers from “I’m good with my savings” to “I’m not that great”. Either way, I help them find more money than their current rate of savings, before diving into the whole investing thingy ?. The ones that say they’re not that great, are actually terrible (but they don’t like to admit it!)
Take my client, Stephen. He’s a high-income earner (six-figures), single, owns a car, and pays a reasonable amount of rent, so he’s not house-poor by any means. But, he would literally spend all his money and have no idea where it would go ?. Until he hired me. While I’m usually not surprised by people’s finances, his was one of the exceptions.
He had about $6,000 in savings, but also a $5,000 credit card balance. He pays into a defined benefit pension plan. After looking into his expenses, including hobbies, car payment, fitness memberships, and factoring in his current lifestyle, I saw that he could save over $2,500 per month or $30,000 per year.
I go to him after and was like “Gosh, you weren’t kidding when you said you weren’t that bad with money. You’re actually terrible! What do you buy!?” He had no answer for me. ?
Oh well. It’s the past, and he’s lucky I walked into his life ?. I gave him a cash flow plan that included paying himself first. That is, allocating money to his savings/investment account that is along the same priority as his rent! And then I gave him a “weekly allowance” of $300 that gives him the freedom to spend on whatever he chooses on things like, groceries, random hobbies, eating out, Walmart trips, birthdays out, etc. These are the variable, unpredictable, unexpected, day-to-day expenditures. By allocating yourself this amount allows you to keep a mental note on how much you’re able to spend – do this enough times, it kicks in subconsciously! You can use apps like Mint or a money planner to keep track of your spending. It’s always good to check in with yourself every so often.
I never asked him to sacrifice anything, except for mindless spending. In cleaning up his finances, he even cleaned up his pop addiction. No more sugary drinks for him. See, I’m a good influence.