"If you can't measure it. You can't improve it."
- Peter Drucker
"Behavioral Finance" is a relatively new field in the financial planning industry. It seeks to explain why so many people do the wrong thing even when they know what the right thing to do is.
As a financial planner, people financially undress in front of me every day. I know things about my clients no one else knows. Not their friends. Not their neighbors. Often, not even their family.
This puts me in a unique position to see how people behave financially. After many years of observing people's behaviors towards their money, I've discovered some universal truths which I'm going to explore with you over the coming weeks.
Here's the first one:
Truth 1) No one spends LESS than they think they do. (And neither do you. Promise.)
Whether you make a lot or a little... whether you're old or young… whether you're a spender or a saver - it doesn't matter who you are - you spend more than you think you do.
I think we can universally agree that knowing how much you spend is pretty important. At a minimum if you don't know how much you spend, you don't know how much money you need to retire. And if you don't know how much you need to retire, you don't know WHEN you can retire.
We all know having and sticking to a budget is pretty important. So how come so few people actually have one, much less stick to one? Why do most people think "budget" is a four letter word? Because it's boring. It's tedious. It feels restraining. And lastly - because it's hard.
Wouldn't it be great if there was an easy, even fun way to track your spending and come up with a realistic "spending plan"? Well now there is! (cue infomercial jingle)
Yet ANOTHER benefit of being a client of The Financial Zen Group is the ability for you (us) to track your spending in an easy, low maintenance way.
Step 1) Log into your Financial Zen client portal at www.financialzengroup.com
Step 2) Click "Add" in the lower, left-hand tile of your dashboard
Step 3) Type in the name of your financial institution (banks, credit cards, 401k, etc)
Step 4) Enter your log in information
Step 5) Give yourself a pat on the back. You are now on the road to financial zen.
The system will automatically start tracking your spending . No guesswork. No spreadsheets. No downloading. It will pull in transactions as far back as your financial institution will let it (usually 12-18 months of data).
Not only that, but it will automatically create a budget for you, based on your spending habits.
If you're like most people, you'll be surprised where your money is going each month. It's an eye-opening experience. And most importantly adds a whole new level to our ability to plan for your financial success.
My clients who have already done this have all told me they have never felt more on top of their finances.
So I encourage you to join them and get on your own path to Financial Zen!