WALT: When you’re a single guy, as long as there’s a few dollars in your bank account, that’s probably all that matters, you know? You can always eat ramen noodles or whatever, but when you get married, you get engaged, and then having hopefully kids, there’s a lot more pressure to have everything right and really know what you’re doing with your finances.
GREG: Walt’s in a very common situation. He’s recently engaged. He’s a college graduate, has some student loan debt. He’s a homeowner, so he has a mortgage. And he’s looking at some big expenses down the road. Not only wedding expenses, but he’s eventually going to need a new car. He’s going to need a bigger house in a few years, and he’s wondering how to best tackle these problems.
WALT: My honest answer is I don’t budget. This is when I should be paying close attention to putting my money away to where it could work for me, hopefully.
GREG: My advice to him was start with a budget. Really get a handle on where your spending is going. Make some investment allocation changes to his retirement portfolio, just to keep him on the right track there. And finally, ramping up savings — not only for short term, like emergency savings, but the longer term — doing what he can to increase retirement contributions each year.
WALT: There’s a fear there. Am I not doing what I need to do? I don’t want to wake up when I’m 65 or 70 and say, “Why did I do that? Why did I not pay attention and really do all that I could have done?”