Congratulations! You landed your first real job. You commute to your office each day, sit among the bluish-grey cubicles of the corporate working world or maybe the modern, open concept layout now customary for the more nontraditional or creative lines of work. Headsets, whispered voices, and water cooler (or beer tap) chats run rampant. You have one hour each afternoon to casually graze with the other employees as you dine out or enjoy a lunch prepared at home. There are no more professors to answer to or syllabi to follow because you have graduated and traded those in for a diploma, a briefcase, and a paycheck.
Sometime shortly after officially accepting your new role but before diving into your new daily responsibilities, you will be bombarded with a litany of paperwork all with the intent of securing your position as an official employee in the eyes of the law and the Human Resource department. Within those papers you will likely uncover options for company stock investments, 401(k) plans, insurance coverage policies, disability coverage, and vacation and paid-time-off guidelines. The information can be overwhelming! I was very confused when I first started my job. I remember scratching my head wondering what I had just signed and how it would affect my future paycheck.
The reality is you are now in the big leagues regarding your job and finances. Some of the responsibilities of adulthood become abundantly clear during this quick transition time. This was especially apparent to us because Ty was starting grad school, and we knew we’d be living on one income. Creating a budget was very important to help us stay on track towards our financial goals. Since we’ve recently gone through this process, we created a list of tips we’ve utilized to create our own personal budget. We hope the four simple steps below will help you as well!
Set Priorities. Make a list of all the things which hold a place of importance in your life. If tithing to a church or donating to charity is a priority, make sure to include it on the list. Is saving for your (future) children’s college fund or paying off your own student loan debt important? If so, add those to the list as well. Maybe you’re are an avid shopper, an amateur golfer, or a full of wanderlust. Don’t forget to include your hobbies on your list of priorities. Once your list is complete, you can allocate portions of your monthly income toward those passions.
For example, if your income is $5,000 and you have $3,500 in expenses, you have an additional $1,500 to apportion to other areas. Maybe you set aside $500 for entertainment, dining with friends, and lunches out of the office. Then $500 goes toward savings, $250 goes into a travel budget, and the remaining $250 is donated to an organization of your choice.
Track Your Spending. Once you’ve made a plan for your spending, stick to it. The best way to do this is to track what your spending money on. There are tons of budget templates that you can download to help you watch where your money is going. Ty and I use our banking apps to keep track of money. We also sit down twice a month to go through our spending. This helps us to see where we need to adjust our spending to stay within our budget for the month.
Start Small. If you are the type of person who has lived on a budget your entire life, then the thought of doing so while in the working world will be a smooth transition. However, if you have lived paycheck-to-paycheck or with help from your parents, you need to take baby steps. Set small goals and once you have those mastered, expand to include more areas of your life. One small goal we set was making our lunches at home. We knew it would help us to save money, and ultimately be healthier than eating out every day.
Ask for Help. Professionals of all varieties seek the counsel and guidance of other professionals. There is no shame in reaching out to a finance expert to help you establish a better understanding of investments and budgets. If you live in Atlanta, consider seeking the guidance of a financial advisor like those at Benedetti, Gucer & Associates (BGA). BGA is a well-respected boutique wealth management firm. Benedetti, Gucer & Associates has grown their firm through an expert combination of dedication, ingenuity, and resilience. They have demonstrated an unwavering set of values through a period when the financial industry faced tumultuous public distrust. Because of this, they have differentiated themselves from their competition. They also set themselves apart by operating as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).
An RIA is obligated by law to disclose any possible conflicts of interest. They are always required to put the interests of their clients above their own. This role is also referred to as a fiduciary.
Adulting is already hard enough. Make your finances a little bit easier by trusting a financial expert to guide you through investment and budgeting options. By weighing your risk tolerance, time horizon, and short- and long-term objectives, financial advisors like Benedetti, Gucer & Associates will ensure you are adequately prepared to move forward in the professional world with an ally in the financial space and a clear plan for the future.