The Foundation of Wealth - Savvy Cash Management
Happy New Year! January 23rd, 2012 marks the beginning of the year of the dragon according to the Chinese zodiac; the dragon year is said to bring prosperity and good fortune to everyone. Although good fortune may have something to do with one's wealth, we believe that a solid foundation built on intelligent, efficient cash management is one of the greatest keys to success for all of us. Since there is no better time to work on your new year’s resolutions than now, we'd like to discuss a few cash management tools that you may want to consider using when refining your household budgets for the new year.
First Step Cash Management System
We provide our clients access to a web-based program called "First Step Cash Management" to help them control and fully automate their entire cash management system. Once this system is in place, couples rave about its effectiveness and the sense of ease and empowerment it brings to their family's finances. The system asks clients to think of their cash as being in three different buckets or accounts:
- The first bucket is the static account which includes all the fixed monthly expenses and payments.
- The second bucket is the control account and it is withdrawn every seven days to be spent on life style expenses such as dining, recreation, and variable expenses such as groceries.
- The third bucket is the dynamic account and it is used to fund all future expenses such as retirement, education, trips and gifts.
Our clients use the First Step Cash Management software as a decision making tool by testing out different scenarios and monitoring their on-going progress. Furthermore, we encourage our clients to set up automatic transfers between accounts so that everything is simple, automatic, and seamless. Here is a simple First Step Cash Management Chart that illustrates the basic concepts. Contact us if you are interested in using this tool and we will walk you through the set up process.
Free On-Line Financial Tracking Websites: Mint.com or Yodlee.com
Both Mint.com and Yodlee.com can provide an up-to-the minute view of your financial status and a snapshot of all of your accounts including bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments. The best part is that once you are set up, the tracking takes place automatically with little effort on your part. Many people use these services to simply track their checking accounts. If you do not track your expenses and you are not interested in the First Step Cash Management system, we encourage you to begin using one of these services. To understand how they work, visit Mint.com and Yodlee.com.
"Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
If you are interested in retiring as soon as possible or in taking a deeper look at how you spend money in relation to your values and life purpose, we recommend you read, "Your Money or Your Life". This book explores several concepts that could transform your relationship with money and lead you to three ultimate "FI's"- Financial Intelligence, Financial Integrity, and Financial Independence. Although we don't necessarily agree with all the books investment ideas, their cash management system is excellent.
As the famous Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said, "The present moment is the only one over which we have dominion.” One of the few things in our financial lives that we can fully influence is the decision-making process involving cash management. If you are not 100% satisfied with your current cash management system, we encourage you to consider using these tools to come up with your own game plan for this auspicious year of the dragon! And don't hesitate to call us if you need our help getting things set up.