Which of the 3 Financial Phases Are You In? – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Every year we see the same months, holidays and seasons – it’s all pretty predictable. While you may not know when a winter storm will hit, you can usually count on chillier weather come winter. The same can be said for financial phases. While not always easy to predict, you can find patterns if you look for them.

But how does knowing a financial phase pattern help? When it comes to financial planning, the answer is a lot.

What are financial phases?

There is a natural ebb and flow to money habits throughout the year. For example, most of us tend to spend more around the holidays because of gifts and parties. When January hits, people take a look at their budget, set goals for the year and attempt a financial diet. The same can happen in the summer as people splash out on vacations or enjoy a plethora of activities with their families.

Patterns can also occur throughout, showing up in spending and savings habits. Recent college grads probably live on a tight budget with less savings, whereas an established professional might be more focused on long-term goals, such as buying a home or saving for retirement.

Is it the same for everyone?

While the year can offer similar periods of spending and saving, each individual has their own plans, priorities and habits that make them unique. If you enjoy saving, maybe you take vacations during shoulder seasons to take advantage of lower hotel and airfare prices or you sign up for a credit card (of course, paying it off every month) that supports your travel habit – think free rooms, reduced flights, etc. Or if you always go big on your birthday each year, you create a plan to automatically save money every month into a “birthday fund” so when the time comes each year you’re ready.

The same is true when looking at life patterns or saving and investing. If you land a well-paid job out of college, perhaps you spend more lavishly than the average early 20-something would. Or someone who joined the FIRE movement would contribute to their retirement and save differently since they have a different goal. It’s important to understand that each person has their own goals and priorities, and sometimes life gets in the way with unexpected obstacles.

How does knowing this help?

Knowing the patterns can help you plan for the future. If flying home for the holidays with a Santa sack of gifts is your pride and joy, you can plan ahead by only eating in or cutting back on entertainment a few months in advance. When you …….

Source: https://www.kiplinger.com/personal-finance/604519/which-of-the-3-financial-phases-are-you-in

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