2 SIMPLE BUDGETING STRATEGIES YOU CAN IMPLEMENT TODAY
NO SPREADSHEETS REQUIRED
THE ANTI-BUDGET STRATEGY
Paying off debt and saving money are the building blocks of a healthy financial life, but the statistics are dire: One-third of Americans haven’t saved a single penny for retirement, 38% of households have credit card debt, and 44% don’t have enough cash saved to cover a $400 emergency expense. If you see yourself in those numbers, there’s no better time than now to start working on healthier financial habits because April is Financial Literacy Month. Even with myriad apps available to help, budgeting can still feel intimidating. So, why not keep it simple with these two systems you can implement today? THE 50-30-20 STRATEGY Before she was a U.S. senator, Elizabeth Warren was a tenured law professor at Harvard, specializing in bankruptcy. During that time, she published the widely acclaimed personal finance
book, “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” Some 16 years later, her advice still holds up. That’s because Warren’s approach to money is simple and flexible. She suggests allocating 50% of your income to needs like housing, groceries, and utilities; 30% to wants like entertainment, vacations, and eating out; and 20% to savings, which starts by building a three-month emergency fund and then allocating savings to a retirement fund thereafter. If you have credit card debt, Warren suggests allocating that final 20% to debt repayment before you start saving. Otherwise, you’ll just backslide as interest mounts on your existing debt. If you’re able to save more than 20%, adjust the ratios accordingly. If you can’t save 20% just yet, start with less (even 1% each month adds up!) and make a goal to increase your savings by 1% each month or quarter.
If Warren’s budgeting strategy feels too complicated, try financial expert and “Afford Anything” podcast host Paula Pant’s anti-budget. Each time you get paid, skim 20% (or whatever your current savings goal is) off the top, put it in a savings or retirement account, and spend the rest however you’d like. Pant’s logic here is that if you tell yourself you’ll save “whatever’s left over at the end of the month,” you’re unlikely to save anything. Free yourself from the worry by saving first, then spend the rest guilt-free. If 20% feels like too lofty a goal, start with whatever feels doable and work to increase that by 1% each month or quarter.
TAX HELP FOR HOMEBUYERS!
How Mortgage Loan Originator Susan Liedel and I Work Together
A few years ago, I met Susan Liedel, a mortgage loan originator for North Shore Bank, at a business meeting. Susan helps first-time homebuyers, commercial businesses, and other individuals in Wisconsin and Illinois secure mortgages. Right away, I knew the two of us had a lot in common. Though mortgages and taxes are two different ball games, Susan and I both work in finance, and we both have a passion for assisting our clients. “The one thing about working in the mortgage business is that you will never, ever get bored,” Susan says. “It’s a new adventure every time, and I absolutely love helping people get into their homes.” The rules for mortgage lending are just as complicated and puzzling as any of the guidelines put out by the IRS. Like me, Susan is a pro at navigating those dangerous waters. “I cut my teeth, so to speak, on first-time homebuyers, helping them get grants. There is such satisfaction in working with someone who
is truly doing their best to get into a home, helping them get into all of the loopholes that mortgages throw at you. I always say that when it comes to mortgages, there’s no common sense in our world!” Susan says. Sometimes, homebuyers and business owners get into hot water with the IRS, and when Susan meets a client like that, she always sends them my way. Occasionally, these are big business cases with a lot of dollars being thrown around, but I’ve also helped homebuyers who simply underpaid their taxes and suddenly found themselves in thousands of dollars of debt to the IRS. “Luckily, I haven’t needed Paul’s help for tax resolution myself, but I have sent clients to him who have spoken highly about what he can do for them, and just his immediate knowledge [of tax issues and the IRS],” Susan says, adding, “It’s great to have that kind of expertise.”
in the market for a home, I’d highly recommend giving her a call. You can reach her at SLiedel@ NorthShoreBank.com or by calling 262-939-6172.
Susan is a good friend of mine, and she’s been in the mortgage business for two decades. If you’re
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