Secrets of a Financial Planner: To Staying on Track and Achieving Financial Goals

Photos of Financial Advisors at Pinnacle Wealth

Looking to start new financial habits this year? Here’s a quick overview of a few things our financial advisor team do in their everyday lives to meet their goals:

Ethan Brouwer, NSSA®, Associate Wealth Advisor: The biggest financial habit that Lauren and I practice is saving first. Based on our giving and saving goals, we set up automatic transfers to work towards those goals. Then we learn to live on the rest.

Luke LaRock, NSSA®, Associate Wealth Advisor: Block out 30 min on the same day each month to have a budget meeting. If you have a significant other: have it together.

If you track a budget through an app, Google Sheets, or even just with pen and paper, go through your bank/credit card transactions for the prior month. Establish categories for spending (housing, saving, giving, groceries, etc).

I like to track and benchmark with percentages of monthly take-home pay. For example: If your monthly take-home pay is $10,000, and your rent or mortgage is $2,200, that is 22.2% of your income, and if you spent $500 on groceries for the month, that is 5% of your income.

Track for a few months, then come up with benchmark percentage goals for each category where your dollars flow. Having this data will allow you to see where you can free up cash in the future if you feel you are spending too much in a certain category. Get creative and create categories for your saving goals! However, if you have a significant other, the most important part is that you do it together.

Nik Aamlid, CFP®, CAP®, Wealth Advisor: We automate our savings and we stopped automating our giving. I feel saving and giving are two important parts of one’s financial plan. We have found it helps to automate our savings because we can set it and forget it.

We tried that with our giving too, but found it reduced our connection to the organizations. It also was too easy for me to say “yes” to every monthly request and not be intentional about talking to Stacie about it. Now, we talk through each request together and are intentional about how we give.

Ryan Ovenden, CFP®, Wealth Advisor: Choosing to live a simple life has been the best financial choice we’ve made. We’ve observed that the more stuff we own, the more the stuff actually begins to own us.

This “big picture” concept of living simple means that we buy used/clearance items whenever possible, drive used cars, minimize eating out, avoid really expensive or extensive vacations, plant a large garden, fix what we have vs. just buying a new one, and try our best to “use what we have available” rather than buying all new materials for a project. It’s a lifestyle choice rooted in where we find True Wealth, which is in doing life together as a family. It involves saying the dreaded word “no” a lot. We are careful about what we say “yes” to. We try to keep our “wanters” under control and to choose to be content with the daily bread God has given us (which is a daily battle!).

Want help establishing your own financial habits for the year ahead or just need an accountability partner? We’re here to help!

Email any of us individually on our profile pages or reach out here!

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