If your family lost all your income, how much money does your family need to pay all your bills? This is an important number. This is your “Survival Budget Number.” This can give you hope or a target to shoot for in a downturn.
Let me illustrate, for a family of three that I have worked a budget with, their simplified budget is about $3,500 per month. That is taking out all the fluff, such as eating out, concert tickets, etc… If they had to really tighten their belts, they could probably cut another $500 a month before selling houses and cars. Continue reading “Curb Spending in a Crisis”
I wasn’t sure if he was going to have a nervous breakdown right there at my desk or not. He kept saying over and over, “But they said that I could afford it.” His wife looked at me with pleading eyes to comfort him as she went in the other room to tend to their children. Finally, I mustered the courage to tell him what the numbers said. As gently as I could, I told him, “Buddy, I don’t care what they told you. Your housing expenses are a 42% of your income and the reason you are in my office today is YOU HAVE TOO MUCH HOUSE.” He left shortly thereafter and I never saw him again. He had gained the missing piece of the puzzle. Continue reading “How Much is Too Much House?”
We all grow up dreaming of a Wonderful Life. Family and friends who love us. Good job. Nice house. Plenty of food. Enough money to take care of our needs and even some of our wants. When I got married one of my friends was asked to give us some marriage advice. His advice was classic. “Tim, give Terri everything she wants.” He added, “and Terri, only want what you need.” I can still remember his wife catcalling from the background about his bad advice. But, behind his playful banter was a principle. And the principle is this; for a family to be successful the family has to be on the same page and have a plan. Particularly in the area of money. Nothing will challenge a marriage more than how to manage the family resources. Continue reading “Do You Have a Wonderful-Life Financial Plan?”
Warren Buffett is known for his one-liners and one of his most memorable ones is about financial mismanagement. He says, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out!” By that I think he means that if you are not managing your finances well, then when you encounter a tough time your vulnerability will be obvious to all. That is why we are so insistent that every family needs a financial spending plan. As we discussed in our previous post two out of three families are just winging it when it comes to their finances. And as Mr. Buffett says time will reveal what we are wearing under the water. Continue reading “Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Generosity”
We all grow up dreaming of a Wonderful Life. Family and friends who love us. Good job. Nice house. Plenty of food. Enough money to take care of our needs and even some of our wants. When I got married one of my friends was asked to give us marriage advice. His advice was classic. “Tim, give Terri everything she wants.” “Terri, only want what you need.” I can still remember his wife catcalling from the background about his bad advice. But, behind his playful banter was a principle. And the principle is this; for a family to be successful the family has to be on the same page and have a plan. Particularly in the area of money. Nothing will challenge a marriage more than how to manage the family resources. Continue reading “Signs of a Healthy Financial System: Do You Have a Good Plan?”
One of my favorite marriage books of all time is Robert Lewis’ Rocking the Roles. Coming from a divorced home where there was a definite disconnect from Biblical roles in marriage, I was hungry for someone to tell me what the blueprint was supposed to look like. Lewis does exactly that in that he describes the Biblical role of the man as the head of the home (said another way as the leader of the home) and the Biblical role of the wife as the helper of the home (said another way as the heart of the home) (Ephesians 5). These roles describe a complimentary set of ideals where the husband fights off his inclination towards passivity and actually provides proactive, loving, servant leadership. While the husband is learning to lead the wife is fighting her own battle to fight off her own inclination to want to take control of her environment. She has to learn to trust him. He has to learn to honor her in her role. It is a thing of beauty when done right. Continue reading “Rocking the Financial Roles”
We see it every day. College graduates (some of them not so recent) saddled with the repayment of school loans that is quite frankly eating their lunch. It is becoming apparent to me that we are not doing a good enough job helping our students do the simple math of the loans. The simple math of how much to borrow and what is will actually cost you to repay the loans. Borrowing is the easy part, repayment is the bear. It is obvious that the lending institutions are expecting the student to figure out how much to borrow and the students still live in the la-la land of “someday they will be making it big and will have plenty of money to repay whatever loans they incur”. What is worse is that many parents are taking a cavalier attitude towards preparing their students to navigate the loan game. Seems that everyone these day put themselves through school walking up hills both ways in the snow with a full time job. Continue reading “Are Students doing the Math on School Loans?”
Have you ever considered what it would feel like to be completely out of debt?
- No mortgage payments.
- No car payments.
- No school loan payments.
- No consumer loan payments.
- No medical debt payments,
- No personal loans.
- Nothing. Notta. Zilch.
What does that feel like? Freedom? Liberation? Continue reading “Is it possible to be completely debt free?”
I am a sucker for a good story. I love to watch all kinds of TV. In fact, I watch a little too much TV. I don’t mean to, it just happens. We sit down to dinner around the TV (I know I am a bad example of the Cleavers not being around the dinner table). And the news turns to wheel of fortune, which turns into Duck Dynasty, which turns into a ball game with a good dose of Netflix drama to end the night. Before you know it the evening has gone and we spent the evening wrapped up in a series of stories. Some fact, some fiction.
What does that have to do with budgeting you say? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. My love for story translates into budgeting. Each line item starts out just a number and then translates into a philosophy and then progresses to a real life event. Namely the story of my life told through the lens of resources expended on behalf of that line item. Let me give you an example. Continue reading “Write a Story with Your Budget”