Welcome to Day Twenty-Eight of the “30 Day Financial Transition Challenge.” The purpose of today’s article is to help you focus on your budgeting and cash flow.
Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)
Throughout the challenge, you’ve had the opportunity to identify opportunities to cut waste from your financial life, or concerns that need additional investment. By now, you should have a good idea of where you’re feeling financial pressure, and you might have some ideas of how to redirect your cash flow to support your goals. Today, you’re going to take some time to put it all together.
We’ll answer this with three questions:
- What good is identifying ways to save money if you don’t use that money to support your goals?
- If you put your money toward the wrong goals, how do you expect to achieve satisfaction in your progress?
- What happens if you overlook something that you should be investing in?
When you find opportunities to cut waste out of your budget, it’s important to make sure that you properly redirect that cash flow to support your goals.
Today’s focus is to:
- Take stock of the cash flow opportunities, goals, and priorities that you’ve already analyzed
- Determine whether you are able to put it all together yourself, or if you need someone to help.
- Schedule time to either put together your plan or for an appointment with either your installation’s financial counselor or a financial planner.
What you need
You’ll want the notes that you’ve accumulated so far during this challenge. The following days’ efforts may come in particularly handy:
- Day 1: Pay Yourself First
- Day 2: Have Sufficient Liquidity
- Day 3: Pay off Consumer Debt
- Day 10: P&C Insurance Policies
- Day 11: Retirement Accounts
- Day 13: After Tax Accounts
- Day 14: Amended Return/Tax Planning
- Day 16: Survivor Benefit Plan
- Day 17: Life Insurance
- Day 21: Long Term Care
- Day 22: Disability Insurance
This exercise consists of a simple checklist of questions to help frame your approach.
1. Take a look at your goals from previous days.
- Does it feel like you can meet these goals?
- If not, are you confident that you can meet them with some adjustments?
- If not, then take some time to evaluate where you are and where you need to go. You have some big decisions to make.
2. If you’re uncertain as to your post-military income, take the time to evaluate your cash flow priorities.
- What are your ‘must pays?’ These include mortgage, utilities, and other non-discretionary payments.
- What is left over? Is this enough to ‘Pay Yourself First,’ pay down debt, and save at least SOME money?
- Are your saving & investing in the right priorities?
3. If you’re still stuck and don’t feel like you’re anywhere close, you need to set up an appointment with your installation’s financial counselor.
- If you’ve already seen your financial counselor and feel like you still need help, you might want to consider hiring a fee-only financial planner.
By the end of today’s exercise, you should have a good understanding of whether you can plan your post-military cash flow & budget for yourself or if you need help.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at community involvement. Becoming involved in the local community is a great way for military folks to transition to civilian life.