It happens often. Many people don’t take their finances seriously.

They know they should, but they just keep putting it off … until something happens.

What’s your excuse … why don’t you take your finances seriously?

“I’ll cross that bridge when I get there”

“I make good money and have plenty to spend the way I want to … at least for right now”

“I live for the present why worry about the future”

“Nothing bad will happen to me … stuff happens to other people, not me”

Most of the time, people put off dealing with their finances because it’s overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are 4 easy steps to begin:

1- List what you want to do with your money.

Why? This list is your motivation to stay focused. It is your financial goals – how you want to use your money. Do you want to reduce debt? Do you need to build an emergency reserve? Do you want a new car? Do you want a bigger home? Do you want to travel abroad? Do you want to take a sabbatical?


2- Determine how much you can save for your financial goals.

For this step, you need to know how much income you have and how you spend your money. Use your year-end statements to determine how you spend money. Most people spend a lot of money on entertainment, food, and personal care. Look for ways to shift spending from those categories to savings. You’ve now created your budget or what I prefer calling a spending plan.


3-  Use apps to help you stay on track with your spending.

If you don’t have a smartphone, then use a spreadsheet. If you don’t know how to create a spreadsheet, then use pen and paper.


4- Set-up automatic deposits to your savings account.

Check with your Human Resources department to see if they can deposit part of your paycheck into your savings account. Another alternative is to check with your bank to see if you can have an automatic sweep from your checking account to your savings account. By making this step automatic, you’ll be committed to save every time you’re paid.

If you’re struggling with how to save while reducing debt, try a simple formula and adjust as necessary. Keep 70% of your income for current expenses, use 15% to reduce debt, and the remaining 15% for savings. Make adjustments if this breakdown doesn’t work for you – it’s only a starting point. While it may be cost-effective to pay off your debt first, it’s easier to stay focused if you allow yourself to live and save while reducing debt — it’s a balancing act.

If you still need help, contact me. With our Spending Plan service, we’ll cover all the above and include strategies to help you save more.

Once you have your Spending Plan, we’ll help you stay on track with our Guidance Plan. There are three levels to select from – pick the one that is right for you.

Keep your list from #1 nearby to reference when you start struggling.  Why wait for the New Year to start taking your finances seriously? Start now.

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Niv PersaudNiv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”