Top-producing real estate agents don’t need a budget. And here’s why.
All right, so I’m going to start off by saying there isn’t anything wrong with having a budget. And in fact, that’s actually a great thing. But I will argue that for top-producing real estate agents, there comes a tipping point to where I truly don’t believe that you need a budget to be financially successful when it comes to building your net worth.
What I want to go over today are three extremely effective habits that allow top producers to be successful in their finances without having a budget.
Habit number one is backwards budgeting. Now, at its highest level, backwards budgeting means that as long as you’re getting the things done that need to happen to get you to where you need to be in the long run, everything else doesn’t matter. Now, obviously, in order for the strategy to work, you have to know what needs to be done today to get you to where you want to be in the future, in the first place.
That being said, here’s a couple of super common answers for actions that you could take today that will lead you to success in your financial future. Things like maxing out your solo 401(k); contributing to a backdoor Roth IRA; contributing to a sinking fund for a future vacation place—maybe it’s a lake place that you have a goal to purchase sometime in the future; and college planning for your kids.
All of those things that you want to do in the future that require capital, making sure that you’re funding those things now allows you to not have to worry about all of the other expenses and where every single dollar in your budget is going after the big things are taken care of.
To put it another way, once you know that all the big stuff is taken care of, you can release yourself from stressing out about where every single penny is going in all the areas of your budget. Take care of the big stuff, and the little stuff doesn’t really matter.
Habit number two is just using your time on its highest and best use. Doing a budget’s actually really hard, and especially keeping one up. People that successfully budget typically do this on a monthly basis, and they track every dollar. If that’s something that gives you energy, awesome. There are some great apps out there. EveryDollar is the name of one of them. Or if you like an envelope system, that works great as well.
But for most of us, it doesn’t give us energy. It’s actually super draining. If you can redeploy that time that you were spending on a task that maybe drains your energy, like budgeting, and instead focus that energy on your business and creating more GCI in your business, that’s a much higher and better use of your time.
And habit number three is to live with intentionality in your finances. I’m backtracking on what we talked about in item number one—but it is different. Just because you don’t have a budget doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know where your money’s going.
And where I’m going with this is technology’s come a long way. You can actually automate this. There are several apps out there that will do it. Mint is probably the biggest one. EveryDollar has a paid version. Or your financial planner should have one they can provide you with as well.
But tracking where your money is going is still super important. And the reason for this is that we want to align our use of capital with our values. Carl Richards is a financial planner that has spoken about this at length. Living with intentionality, aligning our use of capital with our values is still super important but can be achieved without budgeting every single dollar.
If we can leverage technology to do the heavy lifting for us and then review where has our money gone for this last month, and then adjust those different categories and say, “Hey, you know what? It looks like we spent a little bit extra here. That’s something that’s important to me. I’m OK with that.” Or the flip side of that is, “Hey, it looks like we spent double what we were expecting in this category this month. That’s something that’s not important to me. I’m going to make sure that we turn off this subscription or stop doing that action because that doesn’t provide value for my life.”
Anyway, I know I’m backtracking a little bit, but the key here is that we’re not spending time doing it. We’re leveraging technology to get the same output and the same benefit for your overall life.
There it is. I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and I don’t believe that top-producing real estate agents need to have a budget. Instead, I think you should practice backwards budgeting, make sure you’re doing the big things first, and then you don’t have to sweat the little stuff. I think that you should shift your focus to your highest and best use of time. Don’t waste energy on things that you don’t enjoy. And then thirdly, live with intentionality. Make sure that your hard-earned GCI is going toward things that you really enjoy and bring value to your life.
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