Operation: TRINITY by IKC (2 of 4)

Operation: TRINITY by IKC - Journal on Personal Finance Thoughts
Before the talk on investing and trading even begins, we need to first address the elephant in the room.

Elephant in the room

Most hoomans foolishly try their hand in the market without having a thorough and (more importantly) an HONEST discussion on personal finance.
Being an Accounting Professional myself (and a CPA, MBA), personal finance is taught to us as second nature: afterall, we’re expected to do that on a corporate scale and managerial level. :sweat_smile:

Before any talk of investments or trading, we need to have a BUDGET for it. That’s right, i said the B word.

Oftentimes, people claim to do it or pretend to be good at it but more often than not, people DON’T budget.
People see it as a burden. However, I kitty invite you to shift your mindset from “this budget restricts me from getting where I want” to “this budget directs me to where I need to go”.
Also, your budget HAS TO BE IN WRITING, not in your memory. By “in writing”, i don’t strictly mean pen and paper - it can also be written in digital format such as in a spreadsheet or document file or even an app (whatever floats your boat). The point is, there is an actual archive or record that you can retrieve and analyze for later and that the data inside is safe and secure for use at all times.
You really need to record your income and expenses and have an overall plan for them - no shortcuts here, sorry.

If you really want to get serious about budgeting, look up ZERO-BASED BUDGETING.
In layman’s terms (oh this cat has to make it simple for you hoomans), a zero-based budget simply means you give every cent a job. You allocate every cent into where you need or want to spend them. All your earnings are allocated (budgeted) onto every expense category with the proper prioritization (of course) until you arrive at zero (0).
It is simply done this way:

  1. All your earnings, net of deductions listed at the top of your budget
  2. All the mandatory deductions will be below that (social security, taxes, insurance, etc)
  3. All the obligations you need to pay (salary loans, tithes and giving, personal and other obligations) will be below that next
  4. Your 4 walls: Rent (or mortgage), Utilities such as your usual water and power bills, Food, Transportation (to and from your job or business)
  5. Savings and investments
  6. Play money (for wants and other expenses)

On the more modern approach (which I use), number 5 (Savings and investments) is actually put near the top of the list (possibly 3 or 4). We do this because we want to prioritize allocating for it.

Say you want to invest 10% this month? Take that at the top of the budget first and then the rest of the line items will have to adjust instead.

Do this zero-based budget and do your best to implement it. Stick to it like glue!
glue
You need good ol honest discipline to follow the budget you set.
After a month, adjust as needed. It ain’t gonna be perfect on the first run but you’ll get there!

The adjustments will come next. As you see yourself stick to the budget more consistently, you now gotta trim the fat off the meat. See which expenses you can cut down on so that you can have more savings for investments. Do you really need to take 5 Starbucks Iced Coffee Jelly every week? How about 2 or 3?
Do you really need to eat at high en restaurants for dinner 3 times a week? How about 2 or just 1?
Do you really need to fly Business class? Maybe Economy might not be too bad?

Try to get as much of your monthly income from ending up at the expense categories to the savings and investment categories.
Don’t be disappointed when you can only trim a little bit from your expenses - it counts too!
As my grammpa Emperor Kitty Cato I once said:
“Every Denarius counts to an Aureus!”
Denarius

Keep saving. Every bit counts.

May you break resistances and reach new highs!

1 Like

Hi Imperator KittyCat,
This post is much more easily understandable than your Paperclip post. Keep it up. Welcome to Babypips. There is a lot of sense in what you say. Trying to get hoomans to follow this simple but effective way of dealing with their finances is a lot easier said than done. In the past I was a school governor and asked the head of senior school to point out to me the content of personal finance that was covered in the curriculum. There was a total of five pages that were supposed to be taught over 2 or 3 days as part of general education. Fortunately, I was educated in Australia and missed the UK paucity of real life education. I fully support your approach to “writing it down” and incrementally improving the budget product as you go. :star_struck:

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Thank you for the warm welcome, my good hooman! I shall strive to do my best to contribute to this community / family of Babypips. :smiley_cat:

Oh wow… It’s not very high in the priority for them, i guess? I would say the same for me. I am mostly learned on financial literacy through self-study or my own research. They never brought personal finance into the curriculum (at least during my time) but recent years have shown the administrators putting Financial Literacy as a full fledged subject in Senior High. That’s something good to look forward to with the future generations. :smiley_cat:

Yesssh! This is key. No one gets it right or optimized the first time and it’s proof of our humanity. We ain’t perfect but we can get better and better as we try again and again. :smiley_cat:

May you break resistances and reach new highs!

1 Like

Operation: TRINITY by IKC - Journal on Personal Finance Thoughts

EXECUTION

Now that we’ve gotten BUDGETING out of the way, let’s talk about the more practical side of personal finance (specifically Budgeting) - EXECUTION.

You’ve created a zero-based budget and you’ve allocated your expenses with the right prioritization in mind - You are now INTENTIONAL with your spending.


But that’s just on paper. Now, we have to translate that paper plan into the REAL WORLD.

This is where most people encounter failure. Somewhere down the road, their budget and spending plans get thrown out the window… just like those beach vacation plans you and da boyz have been talking about.

Everyone loves to pitch in on the idea and planning stage. Everyone loves to think about the food and activities you’ll do once you’re there.
But who will handle the reservations? Who will drive us there? Where will we get our food? Who’s in charge of groceries? Who’s in charge of common expenses?

Oftentimes, we love to plan and dream about being there but it’s TAKING ACTION and actually working to get there where we experience a bottleneck!

It’s the same thing with our budgeting. We got a budget, we can record our expenses and income, we even got an app to manage it all!

But why doesn’t the budget stick?
We aren’t HONEST with ourselves. Experts can point out a lot of behavioral and sociological factors but I want to keep it simple: You need to be HONEST with yourself. If you can’t do that, you need to ADOPT MEASURES that FORCE you to be honest. :smiley_cat:

Ideally, once we make a budget, we stick to it like glue. But I understand cats and hoomans aren’t created equal.

We aren’t always in the ideal scenario.

So here are some tips and measures you can adopt to enable you to EXECUTE your budget correctly:

  1. Break down your budget to a SMALLER time interval. If things are big, there is a chance we OVERESTIMATE how far our budget allocation can still go. Early during a month, we tend to see a big figure and incorrectly assume it’s still gonna last till the end of the month whereas if we break it down to a weekly or daily allocation, we can detect overspending earlier and take corrective measures earlier. Say we take it weekly instead of monthly, it’s tuesday and we see the allocation left is good enough for only friday, we can take corrective measures earlier than that of a monthly monitoring.

  2. Have physical restrictions on your budget allocations. If you have a hard time controlling impulse, try to limit the amount of cash you can easily access. If you’re going to the mall with a $1,000 purchase in mind, there’s no need to bring $10,000. You’ll only provide yourself with the means of falling for impulse buying.
    If money is set aside for utilities, maybe it should physically be in a different place than where the money for groceries is: It could be a separate wallet, a separate account (if you want) or maybe stuck on a magnet on the fridge! :rofl:
    Whatever works!

  3. Have practical restrictions on your spending. If it’s in cash, you tend to “feel” the money leave but if it’s just a card you swipe, there’s a bigger chance you’ll overspend because you feel like you have all the money in the world to spend using that 3 inch plastic in your hand.
    If you’re using cash, ask yourself questions like this: You usually spend $700 to $800 on groceries. Is it necessary to bring $3,000 with you on the next trip?
    If you can’t avoid using a card, say you’re on the process of building credit, that’s understandable. But ask yourself this: You plan to spend $4,000 on your out-of-town weekend with the family. Is it necessary to bring a card with a $50,000 credit limit? Maybe we can keep the temptation to overspend at bay?

  4. Have an accountability buddy / group. Coz you know…


    It helps motivate you to stick to your budget if you know you got people counting on you and watching your back.
    You’re on the same boat as your family and loved ones. It’s also a great thing to have your partner / family row in the same direction as you. :smiling_face:

These tips have sure helped me and I hope they help you too. Cheers! :smile_cat:

May you break resistances and reach new highs!

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Hey reincarnated cat! I’m following your Trinity thread and maybe you can help shed some light on other parts of your thread where you speak an alien language — they’re strange to us here hoomans, catty.

1714300502055

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Glad to have you aboard, trader hooman! Yes, i’ll do my best to speak in this language you hoomans call english.
As always, im happy to share and help. I’ll keep posting pawesome stuff that will make even those aliens go “wow! This cat is aMEOWzing!” :smile_cat:
Stay tuned and happy learning and earning! :smiley_cat:

May you break resistances and reach new highs!

2 Likes

Operation: TRINITY by IKC - Journal on Personal Finance Thoughts

TACKLING DEBT
How difficult is it to deal with debt?

For one, it IMPAIRS your income which is your greatest tool for investing and wealth building.
Debt is a robber that steals from your future, making you pay for the past!

It’s difficult to talk about investing or trading when you’re barely scraping by month-in, month-out.
You can’t out-invest your debts!

Sometimes DEBT feels like a STEEL CHAIR that hits you on payday:
VinceMcMahonSteelChair

It leaves you disoriented, confused, and wondering what the flip just happened.

Thanks to loan deductions, this is a common scenario:
AaaandItsGone

So now the question is, WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

I’m not gonna regurgitate the 20 to 50 tips you can see out there on the internet about earning or saving a buck or two here and there.

That’s up to you to research and think about.

CatsResearch

But the tips and tricks out there fall on only two categories:
(1) Increasing Income
(2) Decreasing Expense

You can do either or both and they can help you raise that bottom-line figure so you can have some extra funds to use to pay down your debts. I’m not leaning towards anything coz i believe if it helps you, your method is of no concern to me. Just deal with it! (the debt)

What my concern is however, is the METHOD by which you pay your debts.

There are currently TWO methods on how to go about settling your debts


The DEBT AVALANCHE and the DEBT SNOWBALL

The DEBT AVALANCHE is done by:

  1. Sorting your debts by INTEREST RATE (Highest to lowest) regardless of principal or payment term
  2. Pay the most you can pay (including any extraordinary income) on the debt with the highest interest rate
  3. Pay minimum required payments for all other loans
  4. Once the 1st debt with the highest INTEREST RATE is paid off in full, move to pay the 2nd debt with the next highest interest rate. Any amount that used to be allocated to the 1st debt (which was already paid off in full) will now be allocated for paying the 2nd debt.
  5. Repeat until all debts are paid

The goal of the DEBT AVALANCHE is to pay less in interest and put more money towards paying off principal loan amounts. Over the long run, we have less interest expense and this is the MATHEMATICAL SENSE of the Debt Avalanche

The DEBT SNOWBALL is done by:

  1. Sorting your debts by REMAINING BALANCE (Lowest to Highest) regardless of interest rates or payment term
  2. Pay the most you can pay (including any extraordinary income) on the debt with the lowest remaining balance
  3. Pay minimum required payments for all other loans
  4. Once the 1st debt with the highest REMAINING BALANCE is paid off in full, move to pay the 2nd debt with the next highest remaining balance. Any amount that used to be allocated to the 1st debt (which was already paid off in full) will now be allocated for paying the 2nd debt.
  5. Repeat until all debts are paid

The goal of the DEBT AVALANCHE is to pay off and decrease the number of loans quicker and build motivation through a sense of accomplishment by paying off the small debts. Over the long run, we lump more and more payments intended for the small debts towards the bigger debts and develop the habit of paying back and this is the BEHAVIORAL SENSE of the Debt Snowball

Whatever method you choose is entirely up to you and I wish you good luck!

Go finish that debt with an RKO! Cheers!

May you break resistances and reach new highs!

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Operation: TRINITY by IKC - Journal on Personal Finance Thoughts

PINCHING PENNIES

In the grand scheme of our Personal Finance Journey, there is no primordial concept greater than the Net Income Formula. It is through this formula that a LOT of financial concepts have stemmed out.
Herein is the formula

Income
Less: Expenses
Equals: Savings

or as modern financial advisors put it:

Income
Less: Savings
Equals: Expenses

The above modification simply implies that Savings must be prioritized and that it is the expenses that will adjust to what the Savings target is.

When it comes to building wealth, a lot of people have the first instinct of reducing expenses.
One way would be reducing the frequency of expenses such as taking one less Starbucks this week, one less taxi ride this week to commute by using the cheaper train, one less cafe snack this week, etc.

Sometimes looking for alternative (cheaper) products is the way to go. Eating at fastfoods or the cafeteria instead of restaurants is one way to do it. Taking the off-brand or generics version of medicines or cosmetics is another. Taking a low-end brand for fashion instead of designer clothing or bags could work too!

Paying cash will also help sometimes when you have the option of taking cash payments or installment payments as sometimes, the cash payment offers a discount.

Buying in bulk and applying Economies of Scale is also another way to do it! Buying more of any goods or produce reduces its per-unit cost and will help you save in the long run.

There is nothing wrong with minimizing your daily expenses as the basic mathematical premise of the Net Income Formula is that if Expenses were reduced, the Savings would increase.

That’s a good step. However, it can only go so far.

If you keep pinching dimes and quarters, you can only accumulate so much from small savings here and there.

Coupon

If you wanna take it to a higher level, the Big Leagues, pinching pennies won’t push you to that level. It’s only taking action to INCREASE YOUR INCOME that you get to play on the Big Leagues.

Yes, managing and minimizing expenses is good and is actually very important. But pinching pennies alone won’t get you very far (unless your income is already GINORMOUS :wink: )

Of course there are some who made it “big” by pinching pennies but not to the level of those who made generational and lasting wealth.

Even the notorious WITCH OF WALLSTREET (Hetty Green), though notorious as a miser and eccentric, had to have an investing career and business (to increase her income).

HettyGreen

P.S. Read up on her life… and see if you’d love to live the way she lived. It’s an interesting read to say the least. There are always two sides to a coin. :wink:

The bottom-line is, minimizing expenses is important to create more savings, but it shouldn’t be treated as the cure-all to poverty. At the end of the day, we have to work harder and smarter to increase our income.

One of the ways we can boost our income is through trading.
That’s why we’re here on this site. :wink:
I believe trading is my way to go - my destiny as a trader kittycat! :smirk_cat:

If you’re interested in trading concepts and trader / trading system development, here’s another Journal I made focused on those subjects

Cheers!

May you break resistances and reach new highs!