Treating your savings as another “must pay” bill is more likely to set you up for long-term success,
but still allows you to enjoy life along the way.
Let’s go ahead and get it out there – I don’t like budgets. The concept is great, but in reality, very few people stick to them.
Why, you might ask? Let’s play out a quick scenario.
Why Most People Do Not Stick To Their Budget
It’s the 28th of the month, a Thursday. You’ve had a long week – difficult patients, horrible weather, two team members called out sick, and the biggest case you had on the books rescheduled leaving a huge hole in your production.
You get home and your significant other wants to go out to dinner to blow off some steam. You decide to hit your favorite sushi spot and pair it with a nice bottle of wine.
Finally, a chance to let loose and you cannot wait!
But before you go are you going to open your spreadsheet or budget app to see how much you have left in your “dining out” allocation? Let’s say you do, and you have $27 left.
You know darn well sushi and wine are more than $27, but chances are you go out anyway, and you will likely end up spending closer to $125. You’ve had a long week and you deserve it. So you go, you enjoy, and you come home relaxed and full.
The point of a budget is to balance how much you spend; in this case, you went $98 over your dining budget. What category are you now going to reduce by that amount to make it all work? If you are like most hard-working doctors, you never do.
Budget – officially – blown!
Balancing Saving for Your Future vs. Living Now
So how do we balance saving for the future versus living for the now? It’s simple in concept, but a little more difficult in execution.
1. Quantify Your Goals
First, we need to quantify what you are trying to accomplish over the course of your career:
- When do you want to retire?
- How much income do you need once you do?
- What do you want to do along the way?
- How much will it all cost?
2. Figure Out How You Are Going to Meet Your Goals
Next, what are you doing to help reach those goals? What are you saving, in what types of assets, etc?
3. Figure Out The Difference In What You Need & What You Are Doing
Finally, we need to calculate the shortfall between what you need to save and what you currently are doing and treat that just like your mortgage or student loan payment.
4. Set Up What You Need – to Draft to a Dedicated Savings Account!
Draft that amount from your bank to a dedicated savings account on the same day of each month, and from there allocate it to meet your savings goals.
You can fund your IRAs, 529s, trust accounts, pay insurance premiums, build your cash safety net, and so on.
5. Have Fun with the Rest
Then, and here’s the good part, whatever is left in your primary account is yours to use as you wish.
Whether you want red-bottom shoes, your dream vacation, or more toys, you don’t have to worry if you can afford them because you have already saved to meet your financial goals.
If there is money in your primary account it is yours to spend as you wish. How does that compare to being restrained by a budget?!?
At its core, budgeting is meant to help align your desires, actions, and priorities.
Treating your savings as another “must pay” bill is more likely to set you up for long-term success, but still allow you to enjoy life along the way.
Keep Reading: Shifting Your Financial Mentality
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio