Each year we set off with the best of intentions. As well as promising to do more exercise and cut back on fast food, we invariably say that this will be the year we finally put our financial lives in order. So it’s almost two months into the new year and just how many of us have managed to stick to that resolution?
Greg Bell has an idea. The certified financial planner with more than 20 years’ experience organising other people’s money has recently developed a money-tracking scheme called ihatebudgets.
“It has taken me about three years researching as a financial adviser why people don’t do budgets; and those that do, why they fail,” he says. “What I did was design a program whereby they do a workshop, have some software they can use and they also get a budget coach that will help them throughout the process.”
Clients attend a 2 1/2-hour workshop where they set themselves financial goals. They discuss the psychology of money, why some people budget and others don’t. Clients are also assigned a budget coach for 12 months.
Bell says most people have trouble budgeting because they don’t set themselves financial goals and they don’t keep track of how much money they spend each year.
“People are frightened to budget.” he says. “It is the fear that they will have to give something up. Budgeting is about getting what you really want and ihatebudgets is about helping them achieve this.
“I started working with some young couples that were earning considerable incomes and at the end of the day had no money, and they couldn’t work out where the money was going.
“So ihatebudgets is a tracking program designed to help you keep track of what you spend.
“A lot of people don’t budget because their parents never budgeted. And those who are really good at it had parents who did it and it has been passed down.”
“If we can get the kids to start using it then when they come to their adult life, budgeting becomes second nature,” says the former life insurance agent.
How to be … a financial planner
You will have to complete a commerce, accounting, finance, economics or actuarial studies degree at university. For more information, contact the
Financial Planning Association of Australia on (03) 9627 5200 or www.fpa.asn.au
By Erica Watson, The Daily Telegraph, February 25 2006.