We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Things are way too complicated these days. One of the reasons so many struggle with finances is because they try to over-complicate things.
It’s not hard to do these days with all of the distractions, talking heads, financial “gurus” with books and radio shows and podcasts, etc.
Some of these people are really smart and have developed elaborate financial plans. Far be of it from me to challenge those ideas.
However, as the blog name implies, I am a simple man. I don’t like complication. I don’t do fancy. Heck, I drive a 20 year-old old truck!
What I am an expert in is how not to do financial plans. Those lessons learned have all led to the development of The Simple Man Money Plan.
Step 1 – Build a “Simple Emergency Fund”
Forget all the crazy formulas, arguments over whether or not we should save for income or expenses, three months, six months or a full year.
For now, just apply the following Simple Man Emergency Fund Formula:
- $1,000 per family member
- $1,000 if you own a home
- $500 per vehicle owned
In our house that works out to $6,000 – $1,000 for each of us (4), $1,000 since we have a home, and $500 for each car (2).
Your goal for funding this Simple Emergency Fund is 90 days. Sell stuff on eBay. Have a yard sale. Donate plasma.
Do whatever you have to do (that’s legal, no Breaking Bad stuff here) to get that Simple Emergency Fund in place.
Step 2 – Hide Credit Cards from Your Wallet
At this stage a lot of people argue for cutting up credit cards. I disagree.
Credit cards, and all debt in general, are like power tools. They can make jobs much easier. They can also amputate a limb in untrained hands.
We are all adults here. We should be able to take the credit cards out of our wallet and stash them somewhere safe.
If you can’t, give them to a friend or family member to hold for you, or just cut them up (you can request a replacement card later).
Step 3 – Consolidate Debts To The Lowest Interest Rate Possible
Interest rates are not everything, but when you are trying to repay debt they are important.
Chopping down a huge debt with a high interest rate is like swinging a tiny axe at a Redwood tree.
The lower you can drive down that interest rate, the bigger the axe you are swinging with each payment.
If your credit score is good consider signing up for a zero-percent balance transfer offer. There are a few still around.
We signed up for the Discover IT Card which offers 0% interest on balance transfers for the first 14 months.
Another good option is a consolidation loan with SoFi. They offer good interest rates, too, and longer repayment terms which will lower your minimum monthly payment.
Just remember to keep those credit cards hidden if you pay them off with a balance transfer or consolidation loan.
Step 4 – Get Rid of Your Monthly Spending Plan and Adopt a Simple Budget
The Simple Man Budget is…simple. There are only three percentages to remember: “15/15/70.”
- The first 15% goes towards retirement
- The second 15% goes towards short-term savings
- Live on the remaining 70%
For more details on the Simple Man Budget read the article Why I Gave Up Budgeting.
Step 5 – Protect Your Cash Flow
Monthly cash flow is king.
If you keep that in mind it will help you resist the temptation to sign up for things like car payments, overly expensive houses and expensive memberships.
All of those recurring payments eat away at your income and limit your opportunities to build wealth.
Step 6 – Diversify Your Income With Side Hustles
Officially, we have been a one-income family for the last 15 years. One “W2” income, that is.
We have always had various side hustles going. In just the last year I have:
I hate the idea of relying on one source of income. Having multiple incomes softens the blow of a layoff.
Step 7 – Invest In Income-Producing Assets
For us the plan is to invest in real estate once we are debt free. My retirement savings are going in the stock market, but my other savings will go towards rental real estate.
We plan to start small by purchasing a few small, single-family homes that cash flow and will appreciate over the next 20 years.
From there I would like to invest in small multi-unit complexes.
Keeping It Simple
Above all else keep things simple. Don’t open 10 credit card accounts, four bank accounts, a credit union account and have stuff spread out everywhere.
That strategy causes stress. It makes managing your financial life a real headache.
You will find yourself spending precious life energy poring over financial spreadsheets.
Life is short and is to be enjoyed. Stop and smell the roses.
Get close to nature with long walks in the woods or on the beach.
Spend time with your family, friends and loved ones.
Create memories, not bills.