Welcome (back) to our Six Stones series. Our financial adviser, Jordan, is sharing as many tips, ideas and advice for people going through a divorce as a humble blog will allow. He’s staying away from specific financial advice – it’s all general advice over here, be sure to get personal financial advice before doing anything – but we hope you find some useful information in here as you navigate through/out of your divorce.
We talked last post about the difference between budgeting and money management, why budgeting sucks and how we’re not your parents – so won’t tell you how to spend your money.
This one’s all about how I believe you should categorise your expenditure.
If you only take one thing away from this chapter – I hope it’s this:
Your confidence in your money – your financial self-esteem – is a direct result of your willingness to honestly categorise your expenses as Needs, Wants and Worries.
By dividing your net income into these three big categories – or ‘buckets’ as they’re commonly called – you have the beginnings of a money management plan.
It helps you make better financial decisions, and it gives you a framework to build your financial future upon.
These three headline categories capture everything you could spend your money on.
There is some flexibility in what goes into each buckets, because your situation is going to be unique to the person sitting next to you on the train, or that annoying neighbour with the dog.
Mis-categorising expenses – thinking of an optional indulgence as a Need, for instance – is a leading cause of financial stress.
It’s how people on mid-six figure incomes can be living week-to-week.
It’s how people can feel intolerably guilty when their bank balance is $0.
And it’s why the existence of new toys or a shiny Instagram feed is absolutely disconnected from Cash Confidence.
This process – and it’s an ongoing series of decisions, lessons and improvements – is how you build, bit-by-bit, confidence in your own abilities as your own money manager.
So what goes in which bucket? We’ll go through what lands in each bucket over our next few posts.