I married a variable income earner and we moved to New York City. I could not be happier, but there have been some challenges, especially in the area of planning for our financial future. My wife owns her own business doing a variety of jobs from speaking across the country to working with brands on their social media marketing.
Despite our income changing each month, I still felt the need to develop a financial plan or strategy. It would not only provide peace, but it would ensure we were being great stewards of the resources entrusted to us. Here is my advice…
The most important thing we did was sit down and plan together. We started by basing our budget on our lowest monthly earnings in the last few months. After that, we listed out the most important things first. We started with our donations and our basic living expenses (food, rent, and utilities). Side note, we opened a Donor Advised Fund to simplify our giving. This has allowed us to give much more efficiently. From there, we set a goal to save or invest a certain amount each month and then went to things like date nights, eating out, travel, etc.
Because we based our budget on our lowest monthly earnings, this meant we had more discretion when we had “good months” or months where we earned more than we budgeted for. This meant we could add a date night, save for a trip, or invest the extra cash.
When it came to our investing, we have made it simple, easy, and we don’t think twice about it because we set up automatic monthly contributions. This allowed for us to save diligently and mindlessly. Not many people have enough time to sit down each month and determine what they will contribute to their investment account and even if we do have the time, they forget! Set a goal, even if it is small, and invest for the future.
It’s always great to have a plan, but if there is no execution of the plan then what’s the point? There must be accountability in place when it comes to financial planning. Now I get it, money is a sensitive subject. This is where it helps to have a trusted financial professional. This is someone that can help you walk through the simple and complex financial decisions and always has your best interest. Their number one priority is ensuring your financial success and what you share with them is confidential. The President has 18 economic advisors, why shouldn’t you have one? To ensure your advisor represents you 100% of the time read: http://blog.archetypewealth.com/fiduciary-advisor.
Money is a great tool and it can provide a lot of freedom, but it can also be what entangles us if we are not staying on top of things. Whether it is every quarter, every six months, or once a year, re-visit and re-evaluate your plan. Life constantly brings about change, priorities shift, as do our incomes. We work hard for our money, but our money must also work for us.
Conner Combs serves as a wealth advisor for Archetype Wealth Partners in Dallas, Texas. Conner is an MBA graduate from East Texas Baptist University where he also played baseball and became only the second player in NCAA history to be named Academic All-American of the year twice. His passion at Archetype is to help others live in their purpose. Archetype exists to help families thrive across generations.
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