Today, we look at the major barrier in the way of getting on top of your finances –apathy –and what you need to do in order to get the apathy monkey off your back.

You may or may not have downloaded the free budgeting spreadsheet from this very website. In fact you may have downloaded many such spreadsheets but never got much further than that. Why?

I think I know why. You work hard to earn money to fund your lifestyle and your family’s. The last thing you want to do is sit down of an evening to do more work, this time on your finances. However, our wise parents used to say “You get nothing without a little hard work”. Are you prepared to put in just a little bit more hard work to get great results?

Who plans their finances anyway?

Only OCD people like Monica from Friends have household budgets, surely. Who knows how their outgoings look versus their income every month of the year? Who knows when the outgoings spike so that they can plan around it to avoid dipping into the overdraft or sticking it on the credit card? Who knows exactly how much their income will be in retirement? Who is 100% happy that they have the best savings account for their circumstances? Who even saves?

If you don’t, and, in fact, it all seems beyond you, keep reading. It’s very much within your reach to have a full understanding of your finances and to be able to control them. You just need a helping hand and that help is available in the form of financial planners such as The Money Advisers. You also need to lose the apathy and get interested. It all starts with a household budget.

I would save if I could afford to

It’s a common reaction to the question of setting up a rainy day fund, but it’s a lazy response. It says, “I seem to spend my entire income and sometimes more, therefore I mustn’t have enough money to save”. It means you can’t be bothered to even begin to review your finances. Closer examination, with the help of the likes of The Money Advisers, will often reveal how much of your income is wasted or even unaccounted for, and how much you could therefore save, if you want.

You see the process of budgeting enables you to take a helicopter view. There is a little work involved at the outset while you put together your household budget, but after that, it’s a case of just keeping track.

It’s like what happens when you’re watching a film or TV drama and a character says or does something that makes the plot crystal clear. You get it, and that makes you feel good.

Get started and keep going

We will sit down with you and over a two-hour session will plot your income versus expenditure over twelve months. To do this accurately, we do a very detailed analysis of your outgoings under seven headings. Our first objective is to ascertain if you are posting a deficit or a surplus. Indeed, you may finish the year with a surplus but encounter some periods during the course of that year when money can be tight, in which case we will suggest ways to bridge the gaps.

Whether you post a surplus or a deficit, together we draw up a workable budget for twelve months, based on your priorities. We don’t just ride off into the sunset and leave you to manage. Because we know that getting started is hard, but keeping going every harder, we check in with you every couple of months to see how you are getting on.

So, lose the apathy for just long enough to make the call to us, and then it’s over to us to do the hard work. Repeat after me: Monica Geller is a good person.