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Dollars & Sense – Budgeting

A great financial plan begins with, drum roll please ... YOU!

Reviewing your own personal cash flow process – how resources come to you and then depart – is invaluable information. Often, you can see your principles or values as they are lived out in your budget (or lack thereof).  But most times, you can see the disparity in how you want to be living, instead of how you are currently living your financial story. If you’re not happy with the way you’re managing your resources, ask yourself: What would I like it to look like – and be – that it is not already? How could I get there?

When working out your budget, go easy on yourself. We may like to imagine that we are in absolute control of how our finances are playing out, or we may be tempted to believe that we have no capacity to change any significant factors. The truth is between these two extremes. Numerous components can be layering some extra ‘push and pull’ onto your personal finances – noisy markets, a family member in distress coming to you for help, getting laid off, divorce, needing new tires, etc. In short, there is a multitude of things that ‘encourage’ us to react more than they allow us to plan.

Getting clear and accurate information about your resources and spending patterns, when done objectively, and without judgment, can be incredibly liberating. The unknown factors are like blind spots when driving at night; they are vulnerabilities to those of us who feel we are operating at our very best. Eliminating, or at the very least, becoming aware of the blind spots can add significant control and flexibility. 

A great financial advisor will want to get to know you and how you got to your current financial state before discussing where you’re headed. You, having explicit firsthand knowledge about how you utilize money in the day to day, from month to month, is empowering! It makes excellent sense to sit down and get a handle on your expenses and savings with a personal budget because the facts can be freeing and informative. And once you know, then you can do something about it! So make time for this incredible first step in your financial plan that only you can understand and do!

Remember, everyone is allowed to be a beginner at all stages of life. The key is just to start. If this process speaks to you and you realize that you might need a worksheet to sort out those budgeting details, just let us know, and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction with the right material.

DISCLAIMER: Past performance does not predict future results. This report is based on data obtained from sources we believe to be reliable. Hefren-Tillotson does not, nor any other party, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this report or make any warranties regarding results obtained from its usage. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the firms judgment as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities herein mentioned.

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Hefren-Tillotson Inc. is a leading diversified financial services firm providing investment and retirement plan management and comprehensive, financial planning through MASTERPLAN® for individuals and businesses. The firm’s wealth management services are administered by Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professionals, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter holders, attorneys, Chartered Life Underwriters, and CPA/PFS’s. Hefren-Tillotson offers corporate services including 401(k) retirement planning, executive financial counseling, fiduciary reviews and workplace financial planning seminars. Founded in 1948, the firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh and has offices located in Pittsburgh, Butler, Greensburg, North Hills, and South Hills. MEMBER SIPC.