What’s on your wish list? A bigger house? A new boat? An exotic vacation? As your career advances and your earning potential grows, it’s tempting to want to “upsize” your lifestyle. But before you go all in with increasing your spending, prioritize your goals and focus on what’s essential for a successful financial future.
Wants Versus Needs
It’s fun to imagine yourself in a new home. Extra bedrooms, a home theater, and a pool all sound great until you consider the real cost to your savings. Think about how much more you could end up spending in monthly mortgage costs and taxes before you make a decision to buy more house than you really need. Instead of upgrading, add the money you would have spent on higher mortgage payments to your retirement savings. Having enough money once you retire is a worthwhile objective.
Of course you want to give your children the best possible life experiences that you can afford. But before you spend thousands of dollars on a family vacation at an expensive distant getaway, consider whether your children would have just as rich an experience camping in the mountains or taking a road trip through several states. The money you save by scaling back the expense — but not the fun — could be used to boost your child’s college savings. And that goes for other activities, too. Shop around for the best deals on your child’s music, dance, or sports lessons, and add the savings to a college fund.
Review Your Plan
The success of any spending plan rests with your commitment to the goals you’ve set for yourself. When you conduct your annual financial review, make sure that you’re not only on track to reach your established goals but that any new goals you’ve incorporated into your plan are realistic and affordable. An increase in your income shouldn’t inflate your lifestyle if doing so would thwart your objectives or make them harder to achieve.