By Daniel Rodriguez | Dr. Budgets
In this video we show you how to set up your Mint.com account.
By Daniel Rodriguez | Dr. Budgets
When you hire a money coach at Dr. Budgets it is like hiring a personal trainer for your money. As a money coach, I show you how to organize your finances, track the progress toward your financial goals, and hold you accountable. The following tips on how to organize your finances are built into the experience when you hire a money coach at Dr. Budgets, so if you’re struggling with any of them please contact us for your complimentary consultation.
Take a Financial Snapshot. To start, I suggest you become very clear on your current financial situation. Do you have debt? If so, complete a debt schedule that includes all of your debts, your interest rates, and your minimum payments. What do you own? Write down every major item that you own and what it’s worth. Examples include your house, car(s), savings, 401(k), investments, etc. Then evaluate your financial picture – do you owe more than your own? Knowing where you are today will allow you to evaluate your progress.
Track Your Spending. Awareness of where you currently spend your money is a critical next step. Once you are aware of how you spend your money, then you can come up with ideas on what changes you need to make to achieve your goals. You can do this by tracking every single expense, for a month or two, on a sheet of paper or a note on your phone. You can use the tools that your bank and credit card companies provide online to capture all of your expenses. Or you can use online software, such as Mint.com, that aggregates all of your spending in one place. The key is to capture all of your expenses so that you become very clear about where your money is going right now.
Create a System. Money is constantly flowing in and out of your life, so it is not the type of thing you can organize just once – you have to create a system for staying organized. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all system for everyone because people are different, so consider your personality while you build a system that works for you.
Have a Strong Goal. Last, but definitely not least, have a strong financial goal. I’ve written about this in prior posts (How to Set Strong Financial Goals and Why You Need Strong Financial Goals). Knowing where your money is being spent and having a clear picture of your current financial situation won’t do you much good if you don’t have a strong goal. So think about what you want to accomplish, then set out to make it happen! Success doesn’t happen overnight; it happens by doing a series of daily habits consistently.
These are my tips on what you can do to organize your finances. Ultimately a money coach will hold you accountable to your goals and your spending habits, but a big part of that is helping you to organize your finances to get there.
- Published in Organization Tips
In March, we did a Q&A with one of the many professionals in our network – Robert Bennett with Kearny Mesa Tax. This month our theme is “Preparation and Organization,” so we are featuring a Trust, Estate and Probate Attorney who is going to share with us three estate planning tips among other things.
Pablo Palomino has been a Trust, Estate and Probate Attorney for over twelve years. In addition to being an exceptionally knowledgeable lawyer, Pablo has a wonderful, calming personality. He’s exactly the type of person you would want to lead you through a process that many people find difficult. Here’s our Q&A with Pablo…
Name: Pablo Palomino
Occupation: Trust, Estate and Probate Attorney
Company: Legacy Trusts & Estates
Location: San Diego, CA
Pablo, can you tell us what you do in your own words?
The only thing certain in life is death, and death occurs for everyone at some point. My primary function is to help you have a game plan to address the impact for what is certain for everyone. Often, I’m engaged to plan ahead of that moment, and I help people with their will or setting up their estate plan. Other times, I’m engaged to deal with the impact from people who have not planned for that moment, and so I’m helping them through the probate process. In a nutshell: when there is death, there is a ripple effect, and I minimize the ripple effect or address crisis from lack of planning.
Tell us a little bit about how you work with your clients and how are you compensated?
The first step in the process is an interview to ensure we’re a fit. Because of the sensitive nature of what we’re talking about, there has to be fit. It’s my job to know about the family secrets and about all of the resources, and that can get sensitive. I recommend that everyone looking to work with an Estate Attorney interview a few. In estate planning, the relationship is truly “until death do us part” so you want to make sure you’re compatible.
Beyond that, it’s usually a flat fee based on the scope of the project. In 90% of matters, we define the scope and then either establish a flat fee, or a flat fee with hourly. In circumstances where it’s a complicated situation and the outcome is not clear, then it’s an hourly fee.
When matters go to court on probate, my fee is a percentage of the estate (as set by law). This is an important reason why people should have a living trust – to avoid paying the fee set by law.
How are you unique/different from your competition?
I’m bilingual and about half of my clients speak Spanish. Also, I’m a younger attorney, so, statistically, I’ll outlive many of my clients. There is peace of mind that I’ll be there.
Additionally, I belong to a national brain trust of estate attorneys. While I am a solo practitioner, I have the resources of a multi-state law firm. My clients have the benefit of a collective of individuals who have seen virtually every situation imaginable, and we stay current on changes in estate laws.
Finally, as an immigrant to this country, I still believe in the American Dream. Regardless of their time in America, everyone has their version of the dream, and I don’t take it for granted. Estate planning, for me, is about protecting your American Dream.
What’s the greatest impact your help has on your clients?
Because the planning process forces people to confront the inevitable, people procrastinate. But, going through this process, they emerge with clarity because we establish a plan.
In a crisis engagement situation (where there is no estate plan), the biggest way I support my clients is by helping them achieve greater control of the transition process.
What is the one thing you wish people knew about estate planning?
One thing I say all the time is “It’s never too early; it’s often too late.” The clientele I see most often are either young people with new families or the older generation. The mindset of a lot of younger people is that they have lots of time, but it’s never too early to get started. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.
What are three estate planning tips you can give to our readers that will help them get started in planning their estates?
Have a plan for your digital assets. Everything is online now so I recommend that people keep one central place to store passwords for their digital life. Get an app that allows you to store your passwords. Determine a representative of your estate to harvest your assets, and give them the password so they can access your digital life when they need to. You might not realize how much of your life is virtual: online banking, reward points, social media, etc.
Be current on your beneficiary designations. Life happens! People break up, get divorced, pass on… Make sure your beneficiary information is up to date. You may not want to have your designated beneficiary to be an ex or a minor, and you certainly don’t want them to be deceased.
Follow title. Establishing title is very different than a beneficiary designation. For example, with cars or real estate, there is no beneficiary designation. If you’re dead or incapacitated, your family will need to know who has control of title. If you can’t answer this question for yourself, you ought to consider calling someone like me.
Generally, these are all things you can do without an attorney, so you can start today!
Now the important stuff…
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Green tea or pistachio or mint… I guess I only like green ice cream!
What do you love most about living in San Diego?
Its proximity to everything – the beach, the mountains, LA, Mexico – I love it!
What is the last book you read?
The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally
If you weren’t an attorney what would you be doing?
Yoga Instructor. Namaste.
That’s it for this month! If you need an introduction to an estate planning attorney or any other financial professional, please contact us so we can point you in the right direction.
- Published in Organization Tips