- Do you hate living paycheck-to-paycheck?
- Do you hate not having wealth despite making a lot of money?
- Do you hate fighting with your spouse regarding money?
- Do you hate being stressed about you financial condition?
- Do you hate not knowing if you have enough money?
- Do you want to get out of debt?
- Do you want to make financial progress that substantiates your hard work?
- Would you like to be able to help others?
- Do you have life goals that you want to accomplish, but worried money is the limiting factor?
- Do you want buy something fun?
- Do you want to be a good financial role model to your children?
- Do you want to be able to give more?
- Do you want to do more of the things you actually enjoy?
Who hasn’t wrestled with at least a few of these questions? It’s scary to think that a majority of the stress that fills our day – directly or indirectly – is about money. Think of all the productive things you could do with that time!
These are issues that face lower, middle and upper class families. But we are told budgets are only for certain people. A budget is not an admission of your low-paying job. A budget is admissions you are mature enough to plan and lead a life of integrity. The sooner you understand this, the better.
Our culture has taken an unusual approach to money. Some people don’t talk about it all because “money is the root of all evil” and “we don’t need it to be happy”. Others worship money because it can buy materialistic objects that assume “success”. Both ends of the spectrum are dangerous. What we need lies right in the middle; talk about money, understand the power of money, and have the strength to be content while accumulating money.
Budgets are maps to our future. Have you ever driven to Florida? I bet you never once said “This map is going to ruin our vacation! I want to go over here and then up there, but this map says Florida is down here!” What’s the difference? I understand following the map isn’t fun, but meeting our destination is always sweeter than the pain it took to get there. A budget is a tool to accomplish your life’s objective. To help us see the forest, as opposed to the trees!
A budget is the most important component in any financial plan. It’s a visual reminder of whether or not we are on the correct path. It gives us constant feedback to ensure we meet our destination. We wouldn’t drive across the country for the first time without a map, would we? Whether or not you follow a budget is up to you. Whether or not you meet your life goals is also up to you.
So why do so many people not follow a budget? Budgets are scary! They may require effort! They may require a change in behavior! They may uncover something!
It doesn’t matter what degree you have or don’t have. How much money you make or don’t make. No one is exempt from accountability. We need to be held accountable in all areas of fitness – physical, spiritual and financial. For some reason, we act as if financial fitness “just happens”. Do we “just happen” to finish an Ironman? No, we have to train. We would train by following a program, not because it’s divine powers, but because it holds us accountable.
A budget manages your behavior – not your money. Personal finance is more about behavior than it is math. The real beauty of a budget is that it allows you to say “no” so that you are ready to say “yes”.
Why do we need a budget? So we quit wasting our time worrying about what we have to do to make a living and spend more time making a life. All it requires is consistent intentionality to ensure you live the life you want to live.