Why You Should Forget About Budgets

Here’s a better way to build financial security.

Why You Should Forget About Budgets

Budget. That dreaded “B” word. Everybody thinks they need one. Many try to make one, and a few actually manage to follow it.

But here’s what I want you to do: Throw it away.

Forget budgeting. It just doesn’t work. In my bestselling book Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth, we surveyed 5,000 financially successful Americans from all different backgrounds — from a secretary to a naval officer — and one thing they had in common was this: They don’t use budgets.

Budgets fail because they are merely promises about how you will spend your money. But life happens. Somebody will get married and you’ll have to buy a present or airline tickets. Or somebody will suffer an injury or illness. Or the car will break down, or the roof will spring a leak. Budgets don’t prepare you for these expenses.

So instead of a budget, do this: Identify how much you need to save each month to achieve your long-term financial goals. Once you save that amount, feel free to spend the rest of your money however you wish.

If you don’t know how much you should be saving, ask us. That’s what we do as financial planners. You might be shocked at how low that number is, and you might be further surprised at how much of it you’re already doing.

Thus, all your worrying about budgeting is for naught.

See? Financial planning really can be fun!

Originally published in Inside Personal Finance October 2016

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