Cash flow is king.. it’s a cliché that is synonymous with business accountants alike. But for some reason has been lost within our consumer driven lifestyle of today. Understanding your personal finances is the foundation of reaching any sort of success with your financial goals. It is what enables you to travel, buy investments and even go out with friends. The difference between getting it right early can leap frog you in front of your peers quicker than you think.
The stigma attached with cash flow management and budgeting is, that it is boring. There is nothing sexy about budgeting and being accountable to it. However, technological advances have helped liven it up over the last decade. Now more than ever there is almost no excuse to attempting to gain control of your financial future
For those that don’t know where to start, here are my 5 tips to managing your cashflow and budgeting.
- Set yourself some goals
Goal setting is an integral part of aligning yourself with your finances. Clients who come to us with clear financial goals are generally the clients who have cash in the bank and are fantastic with their money. The key is that having a goal to buy a house or go for that holiday is that your brain is instantly attached to that goal and is more motivated to achieve it.
Once you set realistic goals for yourself, either financial or non-financial, give that goal a financial number (eg: Overseas holiday in 2018 of $8,000). Again this is just another trigger to engage you more with the actual goal.
- Develop a budget and include achieving your goals in it
Once you have developed your goals it’s now time to do the boring side of things… Develop a budget. While the task of doing it may be boring, you will find that once completed it is actually a rewarding experience.
At this stage your budget is just numbers on a page, it is the link between point no.1 and point no.3 that makes a budget so powerful.
- Track your actual spend and measure it against your budget
This does blur lines with my below technology point. However, nowadays it is so easy to be able to track your actual spending with the budget you set for yourself . The important thing to note here is that it allows us to become accountable to the budget we set ourselves. Accountability is key when it comes to budgeting it is made easier by gaining real time feedback on how you’re progressing. Not only with achieving your goals but also on your spending habits that you may like to change is a powerful thing. a
Technology has actually enabled us to be able to be so much more accountable to ourselves… and if you don’t want to be accountable to yourself you can always give someone else permission to look at certain parts of your budget to help you along the way.
- Make the most of technology
The financial services industry is currently going through a period of disruption. Technology is making budgeting and cash flow in particular quite easy for everyday users. Nowadays budgeting on the run can literally mean by phone, smart watch or tablet. However, it is hard to know where to turn, with so many options at our fingertips. Check out my favourite budgeting and cashflow tools and apps here.
- Have a Buffer account for a rainy day
This is one of the first things I coach my clients on ensuring they have in place. ‘The Buffer Account’ is an account that has anywhere between 3-6 months worth of saving sitting in it. The financial freedom that comes from having emergency money in the bank is grossly undervalued.
The buffer account gives you peace of mind knowing and understanding that you have the ability to take a risk, go on that holiday or take a few days off work if necessary. It underpins your financial future and allows you to move forward to your goals with confidence. In a society today that is highly leveraged in property and credit card debt you’ll be amazed how rare it is to see people actually doing this.
To finish I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes in which Warren Buffet arguably one of the best investors and cash flow managers of our time lives by to this day, ‘Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving’.
It’s a mindset that can set you up for life.
Associate at McQueen Group
Ben Warren is a Financial Adviser (AR No.: 471844) employed by McQueen Group. McQueen Group is a corporate authorised representative (AR No.: 267498) of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579. This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).