The Anti-Budget: Why to Pay Yourself First

Richard Irwin |

In today's busy world, there are many conflicting demands for one's financial resources. Meeting the ever-rising cost of food and utilities, paying down debt, setting aside funds for discretionary spending, insuring against risk and achieving education and retirement savings goals all compete for your paycheque's attention. Given these competing demands, it's no wonder that many of us adhere to a strict budget to make it all work. For sure, it's a healthy exercise to track your expenses for a few months to determine a reasonable budget level and see areas where you might be able to curb some costs. But for many, monitoring and adhering to a strict monthly budget on a long-term basis is something like being on a permanent diet. 

For those with sufficient financial discipline, the "reverse budget" may be a better route. The reverse budget is simply this: if you set, and stick to, strict debt pay-down goals and set in place specific retirement and other savings goals such that, if followed, you will be financially independent and debt-free by your target date, there is no reason to budget at all! The concept is "paying yourself first," meaning that your debt repayment and savings goals happen automatically before any spending occurs.  It sounds easy, but it takes discipline to stick to this month in month out, but the results are that investment and debt freedom goals happen on auto-pilot, without careful ongoing budgeting. 

Like any plan, the reverse budget needs regular monitoring to ensure that the debt and savings plans are on track. This approach may not work for everyone as it takes great discipline to pay yourself first and stick to that 100 percent of the time, but doing so will allow you to spend the rest if you choose to, knowing your financial future is secure according to plan.

The comments contained herein are a general discussion of certain issues intended as general information only and should not be relied upon as tax or legal advice. Please obtain independent professional advice, in the context of your particular circumstances. This article was produced by Advisor Stream for the benefit of Rick Irwin, Financial Advisor at Trinity Wealth Partners, a registered trade name with Investia Financial Services Inc. The information contained in this article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Investia Financial Services Inc. and comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities.
Mutual Funds, approved exempt market products and/or exchange traded funds are offered through Investia Financial Services Inc. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the simplified prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed and are not covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or by any other government deposit insurer. There can be no assurances that the fund will be able to maintain its net asset value per security at a constant amount or that the full amount of your investment in the fund will be returned to you. Fund values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated. Investia is not liable and/or responsible for any non-mutual fund related business and/or services.
Life Insurance related services and products are provided through PPI.