Financial Balance and Creating a Real-Life Budget

Financial Balance and Creating a Real-Life Budget


By: Erin Hoffman and Jill Van Nostrand

In our busy lives, feeling financially balanced may seem like a pipe dream. Things like changing careers, education, and unexpected life events can be a challenge to manage, but taking these steps to organize and optimize our finances can make a big difference in how we feel and behave around our money.

Write down and commit to your financial goals. Keep a notebook or make a vision board to bring those goals to life. Know your real-life budget and stick to it. This includes not just daily living expenses but also saving for an emergency fund, retirement planning, college planning, and life events. Develop wealth building strategies for now and the future. Paying yourself first is critical to financial balance, and we recommend saving between 15–20% of gross income. If that seems daunting, begin saving 1% and increase that over time.

Review your protection strategy, including life, health, disability, long term care, and umbrella policies for you, your family, and your business. Consider whether the current coverage is optimal, or if there are gaps that need to be addressed.

It is important to remember the old adage that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and improving our finances is a process that takes time. Stay positive and reward yourself for your wins no matter how small they seem. Taking the first step is the most important part of any journey and we wish you well.

Developing a budget may seem daunting, but we can show you how to be successful. Here are 5 budget tips to help you get on track.

Number 1: A real-life budget needs to give a realistic picture of where our income is going because understanding the money flow is going to put you in control. Take a look at your credit card statements, your checkbook, and write down cash expenditures

Number 2: Start with fixed expenses like rent, mortgage, savings, and insurance payments.

Number 3: Add in common monthly expenses like gas, groceries, and utility bills.

Number 4: Remember to factor in expenditures such as vacations and medical expenses. Anything that we spend money on needs to be in the budget.

Number 5: Compare expenditures to income and see if you are where you would like to be. If you aren’t, some changes may be in order.

That's it! Writing the budget down and committing to it is a commitment not just to your financial goals but to your overall wellness.

For more information, please contact: Erin Hoffman at (201) 843-7700 x230, or Jill VanNostrand at (201) 843-7700 x321,

Jill Van Nostrand is a Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Jill Van Nostrand and Erin Hoffman are Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Certified Financial Services LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. OSJ: 52 Forest Ave., Paramus, NJ 07652, 201-843-7700. Erin Hoffman CA Insurance License #4029326. 2020-96286 Exp. 3/22

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