Time to get organized
Getting organized might sound easy, but this may be where the heaviest lifting needs to take place for sound financial planning. Here are some simple but effective video tips from financial advisor Marty.
Get professional tips to help manage your finances.
Create a budget
Once you’ve gotten organized, it’s time to create a budget. It’s one of the most important tools you can have in your financial plan.
A budget is your plan for how you’ll spend the money you earn. It’s where you detail exactly where your money is going and used to make decisions about how you spend.
One of the biggest challenges with not having a budget is trying to keep track of everything you are spending. You might be tracking the big payments (mortgage, car payment, college loans), but missing the little things that add up—like that daily trip to the drive through for an extra-large hot soy latte with extra foam!
Budgeting helps you gain control of how you spend your money. It helps you prioritize what’s necessary, what’s nice-to-have, and what you can live without.
When you live with MS, you may have additional expenses related to healthcare, prescription medications, and even renovations that make your home more comfortable and accessible to you. Be sure you consider all your specific needs and reflect them in your budget. You don’t want to sacrifice when it comes to your health or comfort.
Save for a rainy day, but remember to enjoy life
Life is full of uncertainty. But when you live with MS, or care for someone who does, there can be more anxiety about not knowing what’s around the next corner. It’s important to try and build up an emergency fund so you have “extra” money if you suddenly need it. Some financial experts want to see more people have three to six months of living expenses tucked away into an emergency savings account.
How do you get there? Start small. Save at least one month of living expenses. Once you’ve got that, you may go back to paying down debt or paying into different savings accounts. But make sure you still contribute to your emergency savings little by little.
Financial planning is very individualized. Some people want six to twelve months of living expenses in the bank before they even consider a night out at that trendy local restaurant. Other people are willing to let their financial planning take a backseat so they can prioritize personal, social, or family events.
What’s most important? Finding a balance that works for you.
Should you or shouldn’t you? Getting input from a professional advisor
Some people assume they should not seek the advice of a financial planning advisor because they don’t make enough money to afford one. Other people believe they have a good handle on their personal finances, so they don’t need the extra help.
Whether or not you use an expert advisor is a personal choice. If you want to manage and make the most of your finances, the most important thing is to be doing some financial planning.
There can be benefits to using an advisor. They can provide third-party, objective advice on your budget, help you make the most of your savings strategies, and help you build towards financial and retirement plans.
There can also be a cost associated with using a financial advisor, but it can be affordable even if you don’t have a hefty bank account.
If you are in the market for a financial planner, do your homework. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Trust your gut. And make sure that whoever you work with is reputable, honest, and listens to your needs and goals.