I am Jamin Armstead and I have been a “practicing” financial advisor for 10 years. During my career, I have worked for a few major investment firms, and along the way, have discovered that my true passion is to work exclusively with Generation X, Y, and the minority community.
By starting J. Dishon Financial, I am able to have my own business doing what I love, which is to educate, by providing discussions and posting blogs that are practical, informative and fun, offering creative ways to be more financially efficient and disciplined over a variety of methods and topics. What I won’t share on this platform are investing techniques, trading analysis, portfolio creation, or complex algorithms that will bore you out of your mind. So, without further ado, let’s start discussing Everything Cha-Ching!
Several people have asked me, “Jamin, what are you doing or investing in that I should be doing or investing in?” Most of my clients hate my response which is “everyone is different. What may be suitable for me may not be suitable for you.” I also tell them, “There is no magic bullet, no secret potion, recipe or product that gives me the upper hand. I navigate the same markets and work with the same options as any other investor.” That doesn’t receive a standing ovation either!
Truthfully, even though our income levels and goals may vary, we are all essentially cooking in the same kitchen and dealing with similar life stresses, such as debt concerns, tight budgets, high medical and education costs, taxes, etc. All of these are legitimate factors that influence our ability to invest. However, before one dives into the glamor of investing, it’s important to have saved an emergency fund, at least 3 to 6 months of monthly living expenses. Anytime one invests, loss is possible and you don’t want to risk money you can’t afford to lose!
I have worked with clients that tell me they don’t have the emergency funds in reserve and aren’t sure how or where to start saving. So, here are 4 ideas I call my Cha-Ching fundamentals for you to ponder. They highlight what you are actually spending so you can see where you can start saving for that emergency fund. Be honest with yourself and start tracking and saving your Cha-Ching!:
They still make checkbooks? Balance your checking account, literally! When I sat down and started doing this, actually itemizing each transaction, it became more meaningful. Literally use a check register or accounting paper and balance your checkbook every day. I couldn’t believe how much I was spending on stuff like concerts, golf and my fav, Buffalo Wild Wings!
Put your debit card on ice. The convenience of swiping our cards makes it harder to track how much we are actually spending. So to avoid that problem, use cash! For me, it is much harder to hand over the last two $20 bills in my wallet than it is to swipe my card for a $27.95 purchase. The cash in hand makes me think twice if I really need more golf balls right now!
I spent how much…...on what?? It is very important to know what your expenses are. I created two categories; set expenses (with debt expenses as a sub-category) and variable expenses. Set expenses are fixed, never change (mortgage, auto payment, etc.). Although debt expense is generally set, it is good to separate debt so you can track how much debt you have and the progress you’re making on paying it down. Finally, variable expenses which are subject to change monthly (groceries, clothing, etc.). Detailing this information will help you with the next habit.
Budget?? As the old saying goes, we all plan for vacations, but seldom plan our finances. As boring as it may seem, budgeting is super effective. Write out your household income and all of your categorized expenses. One of two things is bound to happen……. you’ll either be shocked because there’s more left over than you thought so you’re wondering where the hell your money is going, or that there simply isn’t enough and you need more income. Regardless, writing this all out confirms your situation and definitely brings clarity.