I am obsessed with the US Presidential election and I couldn’t wait for the first Presidential debate last Monday night (no, I didn’t stay up to watch it, I recorded it and watched it the next day). Watching the two candidates slug it out, it became perfectly obvious that Hillary Clinton was well prepared with rehearsed responses whereas Donald Trump was winging it. As a result, she came across as controlled while he interrupted and he missed lots of opportunities to hit her in areas that would hurt her. What has all this got to do with personal finance? When it comes to your money, you can plan for the future or you can decide to wing it. Which do you do?
There are always demands on our money. Even when we have surplus income in our bank accounts, we always find something to spend the money on, even if we don’t need it. That is why we accumulate so much junk at home and our wardrobes are at bursting point.
By planning, you can map out the most important expenses that you will incur over the next number of years. It may be the children’s education or that family trip to New Zealand. By planning, you allocate your money for a better use in the future.
You may be paying for expenses out of current cashflow at the moment but will you be able to do that forever? What if your income drops? Or a number of large expenses come at you at once? Again, it could be school fees (3 kids in private school will cost you €20,000 a year) or you could have promised your family an unbelievable holiday, the best one ever. How are you going to pay for that that if there are other, important bills that have to be paid?
Then, what happens when you get older and want to stop working? If you are winging it, you will carry on working because you have no choice to. That is fine while you have your health but what if that goes too? Where will you find yourself then? Those who plan find themselves working because they want to, knowing that they can stop working tomorrow if that is what they want to do. They have got themselves into a position of financial independence.
It can be boring to plan and go without now but when you look back on your life and you see all the experiences that you enjoyed because of it, you will know that it was worth it.
If you have any questions, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org