blogPg02_curAsmnt.html Money: A User Guide

You Are Here

Sometimes you go to the mall with a specific purchase in mind, and sometimes you go to the mall just to hang out and have fun. Life is like going to the mall.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the maps they have at the mall, with the stores all numbered. Typically there’s a big red X or an arrow labeled “YOU ARE HERE“. Mall designers put those maps there to help you find where you want to go.

I suppose, if you knew what you were looking for you could just stroll around until you stumble across it. That might be fun; looking at all the stuff. However, you might get lost in what you find. Or, the mall could close before you get what you need. Life is pretty much like that. At the mall, or in life, things seem to work out for those who know what they want and take a direct approach.

In this first step, you’ll figure out where you are. Then, once you know where you want to be, the rest of the blog is like a mall map; it'll show you the quickest way to get there - so that, before the mall closes, you will have gotten everything you went for. And by the time you leave, you will be eminently satisfied.


Income Allocation

Every cent you earn should be earmarked for a specific purpose - allocated. The process of setting funds aside to cover upcoming expenses is called Income Allocation.


Exercise 1

The purpose of this exercise is to acquaint yourself with the type of tables you will be working with.



The SUMMARY table (seen below) shows whether you are living within your means. It is not a data entry table, but merely displays an analysis of information you will have entered elsewhere.

In the example, as in all other tables in this guide, column and row headings, as well as labels, are shown in black (blue) font, income in green, and expenses in red. Totals and Subtotals are either black or red, depending on whether the result is positive or negative.

This SUMMARY table tells us that after subtracting Expenses from Income, a positive balance of $581.09 remains.






Read more, or proceed.



MORE

The SUMMARY Table

The SUMMARY Table is not a data entry table. It simply summarizes information you will have entered elsewhere.



INCOME

    Income, displayed in green font, is the amount of money you have to work with. Typically, it includes Net Pay, plus deductions over which you have control; health insurance premiums, IRA contributions, etc.



EXPENSES

    Expenses, displayed in red font, refers to the amount of money you are currently spending (obligated for). When Expenses exceed Income, misery follows.



BOTTOM LINE

    The BOTTOM LINE tells whether Income exceeds Expenses; whether it is possible to make ends meet; whether you are living within your means. Only when you are living within your means is it possible to make ends meet.



HOW TO INTERPRET THE SUMMARY TABLE

If the  BOTTOM LINE  is a negative number (less than zero), further reduction of expenses is required.
If the  BOTTOM LINE  is a positive number, you have surplus income to allocate.
When the  BOTTOM LINE  is zero you'll know you have a Sound Spending Plan.


WHAT TO DO

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to
1) Download the Sample Workbook and save it to an appropriately titled folder (i.e., Spending Plan Templates), and
2) Save a copy to a separate folder named, "Personal Spending Plan".

You'll use the copy to create a Sound Spending Plan, and save the original - just in case.

View the Sample Workbook here. When the blog goes live, this link will be replaced by a download link.



RECAP

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"Success is measured not by the scale of our possessions but rather, by the extent to which we are free to live life on our own terms."



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MONEY: A USER GUIDE

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