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Setting A Realistic Budget

When I decided to budget a little more carefully, I had no idea how difficult it would be. Fortunately, I was able to talk with a few financial advisors who were able to point me in the right direction. One of the best pieces of advice I received was about setting a realistic budget. I learned how to effectively manage my money, so that I didn't have to worry about paying my bills or letting my accounts overdraft. This blog is designed to help people like me who have previously struggled with money. Check out these articles for financial advice that might help you to set a realistic budget.

Setting A Realistic Budget

Should You Encourage Your Parents To Review Their Finances?

by Leo Austin

As an adult child of parents in their 60s, you may think there's no reason to delve into the topic of their retirement or their finances. After all, they're your parents, and they probably have everything squared away. Right?

Not necessarily, according to financial planning experts. Just 60 percent of baby boomers -- the generation that is of the age to retire right now -- have any retirement savings. That means that more and more 60-somethings are continuing to work and are unlikely to have enough money for their later years.

But you may be able to help. With the holidays approaching, there may be more family time where you'll have an opportunity to start a conversation about financial matters. Here's what you can do:

1. Suggest a financial planner.

Most people in their 60s who haven't previously worked with a financial planner may think it's too late for them. But there's always a benefit to starting to plan and to save for the future. 

What's more, a financial planner can help educate your parents on what they need to know about saving, planning, and investing. A study by one financial group earlier this year found that only 17 percent of people in the workforce and 26 percent of retirees had a written financial plan, and that 63 percent of workers had never even tried to estimate how their current savings would convert to a monthly income.

A financial planner can help your parents assess their current status and find investment vehicles that will pay off in the short term. Financial planners can also help older couples find ways to cut back on their expenses so that some savings can happen. Putting a course of action into writing will help them set and stick to financial goals.

2. Be willing to help with the planning.

As your parents age, you may need to step in and assist with decisions about finances. Start by understanding your parents' financial picture and working with them to meet their goals. You can also act as an encouraging force to help them get the mundane details of saving money, opening accounts, and more completed.

With the advice from your financial planner, sit down and work on several steps that your parents can take to make their finances better right now. These might include:

  • Create some savings by cutting back on household expenditures. You can help them decide if cable TV can go or whether they can get a better deal on their phone service, for example.
  • Plot out all of the debt your parents carry -- mortgage, car payments, consumer debt. Help them to work on getting rid of this before they retire.
  • Open any retirement accounts that will provide tax breaks. Your financial planner probably suggested an IRA, 401(k) or other vehicle. Now you can help open those as needed.
  • Evaluate investment opportunities. Your parents may have a couple of options and not know which way to go. You can help them determine what types of investments that your financial planner suggested are the best, given their comfort with risk and what they prefer.

3. Encourage your parents to both have physical exams and watch their health.

As people age, the stresses of the workplace may take a toll. And with retirement nowhere in site -- most people in their 60s will need to work until at least age 70 -- you want to make sure they stay in good health. If your parents have been putting off routine preventative care, now's the time to insist they take time out for their health.

Ask your financial planner for other specific recommendations based on your parents' living and working situations. 

For a financial planner in your area, contact a company such as Global Wealth Consultants LLC.