According to the United States Census Bureau, the percentage of people holding unsecured debt has risen to 19% in recent years. Today, five years after the devastating stock market crash of 2008, people are now reevaluating their financial security.
“Individuals who are taking control of their finances are for the most part more financially successful due to their focus and having created a firm budget,” says Brad Glickman, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM Professional, and President of Bernard R. Wolfe and Associates, Inc., a company specializing in wealth management strategies. “In order to be financially stable and in control of one’s assets, however, it is important to consider many factors. Using the proper tools and guidelines can make these goals easier to achieve, resulting in the kind of confidence we are all seeking, whether to ensure a healthy navigation through the ever changing financial world, or to plan for retirement,” he states.
“My best financial advice, however, will always be to hire a financial planning professional to ensure that you make informed decisions regarding your financial status,” affirms Glickman. “There are, however, several things you can do to help guide you through this process in the meantime,” he adds.
Set financial goals. To limit excess spending, set some goals. These goals can help you differentiate between what is important to you, and what isn’t. Make your goal to stay within the boundaries of spending that you have set, then focus on the goal.
Keep track of your spending. Insignificant spending, when added up, can negatively impact the bottom line. What seems like a miner purchase, once multiplied, becomes major when you total them all together. Use online help, such as Yodlee or Quicken, to help you manage this tracking. Listing all purchases and expenses can often be a real eye opener and one of the best ways to change old habits.
Identify problem areas. Once you have collected your data from tracking your spending, identify the necessary purchases that are putting a dent in your savings. Reassess your budget as needed.
Don’t let emotions rule. Too many people allow daily headlines to motivate investment decisions. While news sells, it doesn’t mean you should let emotions rule and change your long-term investment strategy.
Forgive yourself. Realistically, sticking to a budget is not easy, and slipping up on occasion is common. When you falter, refer back to your goals and readjust your budget accordingly, if necessary.
“In today’s economy, those in control of their own finances are more stable and better prepared for the future, and with the help and guidance of a trained professional, one’s financial health is protected, and the uncertainties of tomorrow a little less stressful,” says Glickman. “Guiding individuals through the process is certainly a professional reward for me, and I take pride in being able to make the future a little less daunting for those willing to work towards financial stability,” he adds.
Bernard R. Wolfe, & Associates, Inc., has provided financial management strategies and investments services since 1981. To learn more about Bernard R. Wolfe & Associates, Inc., visit the website at www.bernardwolfe.com.
Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.