I am officially dubbing the end of summer, so late August/early September, the New “New Year”. Now that summer is wrapped up and the kids are back to school, the weather will get a little cooler and the days get shorter. It is the time of year that feels right to nestle into our routines and evaluate our schedules. Personally, I am someone who thrives in routine. I like things to occur on a regular basis and do best under a fixed schedule. Now that my wife and daughter are back to school, I am in the process of evaluating that schedule and looking for new opportunities and ways to improve on my regular routine. It feels like a New Year and with it the new opportunities that we all need to turn up the intensity of our efforts and focus our attention to what it is that we would like to accomplish. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and 66 days to make it automatic. In the grand scheme of things 21 or 66 days seems like an extremely short period to attempt to make changes in your life. What changes might you attempt over the next couple of months to see what impact you can have by the end of the calendar year? While you are evaluating your schedule and your habits and contemplating new routines, you have the opportunity to ask yourself, what if I implemented some changes? How would your physical, mental, spiritual, and fiscal well-being change? What’s the downside in trying?
Here are a couple of ideas that you may want to implement in your financial life to form those good habits. September/October are great months to create a budget. Summer months tend to be tough because you have more irregular spending habits with vacations and weekend getaways and more frequent nights out. In September you usually can get a great feel for what “typical” numbers on week over week or month over month spending look like. I recommend everyone have a budget, whether you feel like you need one or don’t. Some will need to be more detailed than others but having a basic understanding of your income and costs are essential to maximizing the resources that you have. Do yourself a favor and set an appointment with yourself to spend an hour or two evaluating your income vs your liabilities. We spend 40 hours a week or more making money. It is worth the investment of an hour or two a month evaluating where that money goes. We have software for our financial planning clients that can assist with this venture. If you are interested in that let us know. There are also multiple websites that use data aggregation software that can give you a snapshot of your income vs expenses. In addition, you could always use good old pen and paper and print out bank account statements to do this evaluation. So, idea number 1, set a regular time to create and evaluate a budget, if you need some tools on the “how” to get started, email me and we can give you ways to get going. Idea number 2 is to create a systematic improvement to your financial life. If you have a debt that is nagging at you create a systematic function to pay it off. For example, if you have a credit card bill and you pay X per month. Continue paying X but supplement your payment by making an additional payment per week of a small amount and set it to auto-draft. If your debt situation is in good shape, make a systematic contribution to a savings account/investment account/etc. Start small and do it on a weekly basis. You likely won’t notice the difference. The reason why I always recommend systematic improvement and frequent small contributions is the smaller dollar amounts seem more palatable and are likely to be maintained. Once the system is in place it’s easier to increase every three to six months or so in small dollar increments. Implement one or both of these ideas over the next two months and see how it goes. You have little to lose and much to gain. In conclusion, get your end of summer resolutions off to a good start, there is no time like the present to adjust your routine and make progress to the many goals that you may have. As always, let us know how we might be able to help on this journey.
The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which strategies or investments may be suitable for you, consult the appropriate qualified professional prior to making a decision.
About the Author:
Kevin W. Meyer is a Financial Advisor at John Bailey Financial.
You can learn more about Kevin here: https://www.johnbaileyfinancial.com/team/kevin-w-meyer
and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.
Investment advice offered through JOHN BAILEY FINANCIAL, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial