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  • Milad Taghehchian, CPA, CFP(R)

Plan to Gain Control

Another six months have come and gone for this calendar year. Every year time seems to progress faster, and every year life brings forth something new that we may or may not have expected. It’s easy for us to feel as if multiple situations in our lives are outside of our control, and it feels this way because it’s true. We cannot control the rising costs of tuition, we cannot control how our supervisors react to our projects, and we cannot control which days our cars will start and which days they won’t. Honestly, very few situations in our lives are completely in our control. However, just like these three situations, all situations are manageable. Our finances are the same way.

Saving as a Means of Construction

Nearly all cultures practice the concept of “saving.” Saving does not always need to pertain to one’s finances. We often find ways to save time and to save energy, we even save food for a later date. Saving is a tool. When we come to understand the utility of this tool, we develop a desire to use it in many aspects of our lives. Some of us have picked up this tool and started construction on our retirement, our children’s education expenses, or our dream vacations. It feels great to see these projects coming together, and we should feel good about taking our supplies (money) and building something great (projects) by way of our toolkit (savings accounts).

But what about those of us who see the toolkit sitting around and feel like we don’t have the supplies to start constructing something great? Well to be honest, we all have the supplies. It may seem as if everyone around us is constructing a building here and a building there in short time and with minimal effort, but our goal should be to learn how to build on our personal time and with our personal resources.

How Do You Start Building?

First, you must understand that saving is a practice. And as with all practices, you must take care of yourself; therefore, there is no need to cut back on self-care. Once you have committed to a practical form of self-care, you should decide what it is that you want to construct. Set a purpose. What are you saving for? When you realize that your savings aren’t just funds waiting to be used whenever you feel like spending money, you can allow them to grow before reaping the potential harvest. Imagine how much more appealing your savings account would be if you knew it could one day fully fund a down payment on a home or your trip to Greece. We like to think savings accounts are there for whenever we’re running low on cash and need some fast money. However, how can we expect to build something great, if we keep using our supplies to bring short term satisfaction?

To start constructing something great, we have to be realistic about what we are working with and practical about what we can afford. How about setting aside $10 a week? Weigh your priorities. How important is that streaming subscription? How about sharing the subscription with a friend? Can you get that meal from your favorite spot downtown once a week instead of twice? Redesign how you allocate your funds. If you find trouble with remembering to set aside your income, try setting up a recurring transfer from your checking account to your savings account. With direct deposit, some employers make it easier for employees to choose the percentage of their income sent to their checking and their savings accounts before receiving a check.

Withstanding the Weather

Once you start constructing, how do you ensure that your project withstands the weather? How do you make sure that the money you save, remains in your savings? You must hold yourself account

able. You must keep your purpose in mind as much as you can. You want this, and that is why you started construction. It is completely within your means to do so. If you know you can only manage one project at a time, aim to finish one project before starting another. You want to travel within the next year? Try to save becoming a foodie who visits different restaurants every week until after visiting your chosen destination. Your goal is to propose to your partner within a few months? Wait to upgrade your furniture until after you figure out how to fund the former.

Oh how easy it is to feel like your finances are out of control, especially when your accounts seem low or you are behind on your bills. However, regardless of the size of your account, your financial situation does not have to go completely unmanaged. You are entirely capable of managing the finances that you currently possess, and your process in doing so can be designed for you and even by you.

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