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I would like to take a moment to introduce myself – I am Karla Leonard-David, CEO of IMI Asset Management Company. I hold a double B.A. in Business Economics and Art History. IMI Stands for Investment Management International and was originally founded in 1995. In 2012, IMI went through a complete transformation. That transformation included implementing a complete social media presence. I have designed and write an educational blog that is posted to my personal and company Facebook and LinkedIn pages. These articles are a tool to inform and educate on financial planning topics. The biggest part of that transformation occurred when IMI became a full service asset management company. IMI has partnered with Jerry Vines, MBA, EA and the Law Office of Sharon Morff, to offer a fully engaged estate planning package, designed specifically to your goals. Most people do not have a solid financial plan. A reason for this is that most lack insight into what is going on in the financial industry. I realize that the process of creating a strategy for retirement can feel pretty intimidating which is why I am constantly searching for new materials, whether they are videos, articles or just questions and answers to share with everyone. IMI Asset Management Company is focused on the belief that our customers’ needs are first. I am committed to meeting those needs. I am a firm believer of the personal touch, which is so lost in today’s world. As a result, a high percentage of IMI’s business is from repeat client business and referrals. IMI Asset Management Company was selected in 2012 by the USCA as the recipient of the Best of Rancho Cucamonga Awards in Financial Planning. We want you to be able to assess, from these insights, your financial portfolio to ascertain that it is aligned with your ultimate goals for your retirement and passing your estate probate free down to your heirs. We strive to make sure you evade the costliness that can result from poor planning. We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best individual and personalized service in the industry in helping you obtain your goals. We invite you to come “join” our IMI Family.
Resolutions 2014: 6 Steps to Budget Your Way to Your Financial Goals
IMI Asset Management, CA, Budget your way to savingsAre you part of the 54 percent of Americans who are making financial resolutions in 2014? According to the Fidelity 2014 New Year Financial Resolutions Study, more than half of Americans will make financial resolutions and of those, these are the top goals:
  • Save more money — 54 percent.
  • Pay off debt — 24 percent.
  • Spend less money – 19 percent.
  • Develop a long-term-goal plan — 13 percent.
  • Make/stick to a budget — 12 percent.
  • Pay down credit card debt – 8 percent.
While only 12 percent of those making financial resolutions are planning to make and stick to a budget, I have a little secret for you. Making and sticking to a budget can help you achieve any and all of the above resolutions. Regardless of whether you want to save more, spend less or finally take that trip to Tahiti, a budget can get you there.

Step 1: Set your goals

The first step in the budget process is simple. Ask yourself: What do you want your money to do for you? Here are some ideas to get the wheels turning.
  • Do you want it to buy you a vacation?
  • Do you want it to buy you a house?
  • Do you want it as a security blanket in the bank?
  • Or would you merely be happy if it would pay the bills each month with a little left over?
Budgeting can help with each and every one of these goals. In addition, by having a concrete goal, you increase your chances of sticking to your budget. Some people even create dream or vision boards with photos representing their goal to motivate themselves.

Step 2: Track your expenses

Next, you need to get a handle on where you are already spending your money. This step is important for two reasons.
  1. It can help identify leaks in your budget, such as the $100 you’re spending on fast-food breakfasts each morning.
  2. It can help you make a realistic budget. If you are currently spending $800 a month on groceries, budgeting for $500 is probably setting yourself up for failure.
The old-fashioned way to track expenses is to collect your receipts and keep a log of every penny you spend for the next month. However, you can make the process much simpler by signing up for a free account with our partner PowerWallet. This service tracks your expenses automatically and neatly categorizes them for you. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a dime.

Step 3: Write it down

Now that you’ve tracked your expenses, you can use those amounts as a guide to create a written budget. Whether you use an online tool, Excel spreadsheet or a notebook and pen is up to you, but you want to have your budget recorded in a location where it can be easily accessed and changed as needed. My personal advice is to always estimate your income low and your expenses high. It’s better to reach the end of the month and find you have extra money in the bank than to come up short. In addition, make sure you put a name to every dollar. Maybe you finish with the monthly bills and have $200 left over. Don’t leave that as a catch-all slush fund; decide what you’re going to do with it. Maybe $100 will go into an online savings account, $50 will be an extra debt payment, and $50 will be mad money.

Step 4: Monitor your progress

Once you have it written down, don’t ignore your budget. Make a point to compare your actual expenses with your budget on a regular basis, such as each payday. If you’re using PowerWallet, it’ll be easy to quickly see how much you’ve spent so far in each category for the month. Then, you can make adjustments as necessary. For example, if you’re budgeting $50 for clothing and have spent $75, you’ll need to not only stop buying clothes, but also make an adjustment elsewhere in your budget to make up for the extra $25. On the flip side, maybe it’s the last week of the month, and you haven’t spent a dime of your entertainment budget. In that case, it’s time to make a date and go have some fun!

Step 5: Get a coach

Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed. A budgeting coach can help. You can start with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. But never deal with any credit counseling organization without checking the Better Business Bureau and your state’s attorney general’s office for consumer complaints, as well as online complaint sites. Find out if a fee is charged. You should be able to get budgeting help for free. As an alternative, you can ask a money-savvy friend for help. In either case, having someone walk with you step-by-step through the budgeting process can help make more sense of how to create a realistic spending plan for your money.

Step 6: Stay flexible

Finally, your budget is a living document. Unlike your rotisserie oven, you shouldn’t set it and forget it. You should be regularly evaluating it and making changes as necessary. Always blowing through the food budget? You may need to increase that and consider where else you can cut back. In addition, as your income or expenses change or as you meet goals and identify new ones, your budget should be adjusted to reflect your new circumstances. Ultimately, your budget is not about restricting your money; it’s about empowering it. A good budget finally puts you in control of your dollars and allows you to dictate where your money is going rather than letting your bank account get nickel-and-dimed by what may amount to silly, incidental purchases. Do you have a budget? If not, what’s stopping you? Content provided by: http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/01/01/resolutions-2014-6-steps-to-budget-your-way-to-your-financial-goals/#VgVApVd4EmFZEosI.99

 
Karla Leonard
Other articles by: Karla Leonard
Categories: About Us, Money Management, Ways to Save Money, Tips and Advice, Blog, IMI Asset Management Company
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