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One of my passions is budgeting

September 18, 2009

I was reading a back-post of The Simple Dollar in which Trent writes about finding and monetizing your passions. And I was thinking about what I’m passionate about, what really gets me up and going in the morning, and one of those things that came to mind was finances. More specifically, budgeting.

I know it sounds strange, but I really enjoy budgeting.

But more than that, I love setting up a budget, and working through the nitty-gritty of it to get everything figured out.

I also love explaining things to people, and helping them excel at whatever they’re trying to do.

In thinking about this, I hit upon the idea of creating a business wherein I set up budgets for people. I would take their last bank statement (account # blacked out, or whatever), input all the data into excel, and create a running check register for them.

Then I would help them figure out, based on their average monthly income, and their bills, how much they had to spend and where they might be able to save. I could help them figure out how to start paying down their debt (if they had any), and educate them on a variety of methods to do so.

I could also help them with the steps to setting up automatic savings or whatever to get the ball rolling. Then they would pay me for my time, and I would move on to the next client.

I really like the idea of helping people get their financial houses in order.

The only problem is that, in general, people don’t like to talk about money, and they don’t like to share their financial information with others (with good reason). They tend to see it as an invasion of privacy, if not just outright dangerous. I don’t yet know how I would over come that.

But I know I have a wealth of resources at my finger tips:

  • I already have a simple, straightforward spreadsheet check register which I set up for myself before I started using the software from YouNeedABudget.
  • I could create a simple spreadsheet for listing income, expenses, debt, savings, etc.
  • I have many resources in the form of blog posts and books I’ve read on which I could draw (with the permission of the authors, of course) to explain to others what I’ve been learning over these last seven months.
  • It might also be interesting to put together a presentation similar to the one described by Seth Godin in his blog post, “The modern talking pad”:

    Here’s how it works:

      1. Create a presentation. A good one, not one filled with bullet points. Instead, graphs, images, a few words to anchor a discussion. A page might be nothing but a blank 3 x 3 grid.
      2. On every page, remove some of the information.
      3. Print the presentation out (horizontal, not portrait).
      4. Bring it to Staples and have them spiral bind it with covers. (Not that cheap plastic comb, though.)
      5. Get a good pen.

    Now, when you make your presentation, sit next to the person you’re meeting with and go through the booklet page by page, writing directly on each page. As you work your way through the ideas in the booklet, the two of you can talk about what’s in front of you and mark it up.

    It’s not a brochure, it’s the outcome of a working session. Leave it behind when you go.

    I love that idea, just in general, and it may be a useful thing to leave behind for people who need a quick reference for what I’ve done to help them.

    I think the key will be to start with people I know, who already trust me. Family, close friends, the like. People who want to have a better grasp on their financial situation, but don’t know–or care to learn–how to get there. But if someone were to come in and get them started, do all the heavy work to get the momentum built up (as we all learned in physics, it takes more energy to start an object moving than it does to keep it moving), and all they had to do was keep it going… maybe that would be worth something?

    It’s worth considering.

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