How to budget money like a financial planner

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 Summary List Placement
If you’re looking for an easy way to budget your money, financial planners recommend “bucketing.”
Separating cash into different “buckets” for specific purposes — retirement, travel, or an emergency fund — allows you to clearly see how much is going toward each goal.
Setting up automatic contributions can make funding each bucket, or account, virtually effortless.
SmartAsset’s free tool can help you find a licensed professional financial advisor near you »

Budgeting shouldn’t be scary.

It’s just a decidedly unfashionable term for organizing your money in a way that helps you cover expenses, avoid consumer debt, and save a portion of your income to fund whatever goals you’re working toward.

To make it all less confusing to keep track of, three financial planners told Business Insider they use a method called “bucketing.”

How to budget money like a financial planner
1. Make a list of your fixed expenses

Luis Rosa, a CFP who founded the financial-planning firm Build a Better Financial Future, said you can start off by making a list of your fixed expenses, including housing costs and other recurring monthly payments, and variable expenses. Rosa suggests including savings in your expenses column.

2. Separate your savings goals into different accounts

Next, put “goal-specific money” — think: funds for a vacation, wedding, or down payment on a house — in various “buckets,” Rosa said. “By breaking them up into different accounts or buckets, you get to keep better track than if you lump all the money together.”

These accounts can be held at the same bank — Ally makes it easy to open up new accounts and label them with different savings goals — or even separate banks, to keep temptation to spend to a minimum.

3. Calculate how much you can afford to put toward each savings goal

After separate accounts are set up, decide how much you can afford to contribute monthly to each goal. Remember: Think of savings, at least for your highest-priority goals, as an expense, even if it’s just $10 a month.

Andrew Westlin, a CFP at Betterment, said bucketing money into different accounts helps him “clearly see what portion of my assets will be used for each objective — my emergency fund, retirement, and money set aside for a sabbatical in a few years.”

Westlin added: “I’m not an obsessive planner, so I even like to put extra money each month into a ‘just because’ bucket — I could use it for anything, and that freedom is exciting for me.”

Need help managing your money? SmartAsset’s free tool can help find a licensed financial advisor near you »

4. Set up automatic contributions

Take the effort out of saving entirely and set up automatic contributions, whether through your payroll direct deposit or from your checking account.

There’s something to be said for separating savings into a different bank account, or even several, and saving automatically. I opened an Ally account a few years ago with a small initial deposit strictly to build up my emergency fund. After a …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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