By Matt Archer and Nina O'Neal

Archer Investment Management

By: Matt Archer and Nina O’Neal of Archer Investment Management

Whether you’re retired or working, do you really know where you spend your money? These are increasingly important questions today as more people are helping not only their children, but also their grandchildren. This may also be at the expense of their own retirement. Having a financial plan can help guide your decisions now and in the years to come.

Ongoing tracking of your expenses, like stepping on the scale, provides a reality check. The more we consciously focus on our spending, the more likely we will not overspend. Like exercising or dieting, we know it’s good for us, but can be hard to do consistently.

Not all planners agree that tracking expenses in general is enough. Many people who are asked to track all their expenses discover their estimate of money left for saving or investing is frequently off because they often exclude unusual expenditures and average the balance. The focus of some financial plans is on having individuals set up automatic bill-pay and meet specific savings goals through monthly automatic deposits. The budgeting then usually falls in line accordingly.

Today, a growing number of largely free online tools are available to help you track your expenses. Companies such as and Yodlee MoneyCenter can import and aggregate data from your credit card, bank, and brokerage accounts. They break down your spending into categories, such as dining and vacation. Some programs can even track specific items such as how much you spend on coffee. However, these online tools only provide a fraction of the guidance an advisor can give you. So, incorporating both into your overall financial plan may be the most beneficial. Once you know where your money is going, identifying cuts that can make a real difference becomes easier.

You may want to strongly consider having a monthly meeting with your spouse. If you are not married, a trusted confidant is an option. This meeting should include reviewing where you have been spending money and anticipated expenditures, both short- and long-term. It could lead to some very interesting conversations. Having both parties involved, discussing goals and objectives, where you are today and where you want to be in the future, can be helpful.

One of the most important things you can do is save money. A key to success is the ability to delay gratification. Saving is crucial to developing that ability and imperative for anyone who wants to acquire and grow wealth.

The above material was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance.

Archer Investment Management

Archer Investment Management is focused on the enhancement of your life, whether that be helping you to pursue your passions, developing a better plan for your financial future, or developing a better benefit package for your business. The protection of the things you value is our first priority. You work hard for what you have, and we want to help you preserve that. Our passion is educating our relationships about the financial markets, business strategies, and investment opportunities.

Founded in 2005 on the desire to provide unbiased advice and unparalleled customer service, Archer Investment Management works with families and businesses all over the country. Located in one of the best and fastest growing cities in the country, Raleigh, North Carolina, the firm has been positioned for tremendous growth and opportunity. The firm’s dedication to the community is what lead the Triangle Business Journal to identify Matt Archer, Founder and Managing Partner, as one of the 2011 “40 Under 40 Leadership Award” recipients. Each member of the company has a burning desire to help you enhance your life, protect what you value, and educate you on the opportunities available.

Category: Editorial