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The Insanity of the Financial Services Industry2/1/2016
Itís true, 70% of American household donít track their expenses by using a written budget. The 2013 Gallop survey concluded only 30% of household use a written budget spending plan. This percentage changed modestly based on income and education. As expected a higher percentage of affluent used a budget of some type. Armed with this information a logical question to the financial services industry is: If 70% of households donít use a budget, and you canít convince them to use a budget, then why are you still basing all of your formulas and financial rules of thumb on a budget?
Budgeting advice is prudent, sound advice that still needs to be given. The 30% that do use a budget spending plan, for the most part donít need financial advice. What can the financial services industry do different to reach the 70%, so households are not continuing to repeat the same mistakes over and over, yet expecting different results; which is, ďinsanityĒ?
There are many different approaches to helping households increase their odds of financial success. The first step is making things simple, so theyíre repeatable, so people will actually use them. For decades the financial services industry has done the opposite, they have continued to make finances more complex and difficult for the average household to understand and use. This is by design to support their agenda of making money. They use five page financial schematics that only they can understand and interpret, more insanity. Budgeting software pushed by the finance industry, they say itís so easy (for the 30%) to use, which is far from the truth, as again, simple is better. People will do simple, but lets be honest, technology is great for only 30%.
Helping people set simple repeatable goals. Start by basing your goals from income, not expenses. Without income, and proper cash reserves the bus stops, literally, so income is the engine and main foundation, not expenses. Set top priority goals of building savings first, an Emergency fund based on income, not expenses, simple. If you donít use a budget you wonít know your true expenses anyway, but you know what your income is. Pay all monthly expenses first, set your savings goals as a monthly goal to achieve, use six months gross income as your goal and divide by seven years. If you want to make a purchase of anything, short-term, or on a long-term contract, and you wonít use a debt-to-income ratio to see if you can afford this item, then you should simplify. The Key: If you canít afford to still contribute to your savings and investment accounts after adding this new expense, then you canít afford it, simple. All plans take discipline and maturity with or without a budget.
To say you canít succeed without a budget is silly, millions do just fine. Using sound common sense rules, and goals will help you succeed with your finances. These ideas are examples to help households succeed with their finances. 70% still need ideas on how to win without using a budget. The financial services industry can do a better job, because doing the same thing over and over for decades expecting different results, is insanity.
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