As people move through different phases in their careers, their attitudes towards spending evolve. Regardless of whether it’s a frugal student or a high-earning professional, each life stage, each step towards a more gratifying life, requires balance and accountability. That’s why you need your clients to recognize the tie between spending, budgeting, and saving.
Crafting and then sticking to a budget is difficult. Almost every couple who attempts one has a budgeting war story. And the moral is nearly always the same: micromanaging using a budget is not sustainable.
Helping your clients shift their attention towards savings rather than budgeted spending is often referred to as “reverse budgeting.” With reverse budgeting, you outline the necessary savings and then have your client automate those contributions. A portion of their pay is channeled directly into retirement, into emergency savings, and into other liquid accounts. This happens prior to the money ever reaching their checking. Implicit in this strategy is the fact that an increase in savings naturally reduces available spending. Clients then retain the freedom to spend how they please, without the difficult restraints of a budget.
Compare the ease of automated savings with a conventional budget. Whether tracked in a spreadsheet or a financial app, a budget demands constant reconciliation of transactions, which is often the source of stress. It is said that you can’t out-earn bad spending habits. While budgeting often seems to be the quick answer, the discipline of a good savings plan brings both spending freedom and accountability.