• Christine Centeno, CFPⓇ

Part One: I’m a Financial Planner. Here’s how I manage my own finances.

I am excited to write this article as the first in a series in which I discuss how as a financial planner I manage and maximize my own finances. What I share throughout this series will be based on the numbers as well as my general philosophy about money and saving. So facts with some with industry perspective and opinion.

First of all, in case you are wondering, I take my own advice. Surprisingly, this is rarer than you would think in the financial industry. I’ve encountered some bizarre examples throughout my career of financial professionals that have spent more than they can afford to keep up appearances.

In order to provide you with some context, I’ve first decided to share how I generally approach my finances. In future articles, we’ll dive into more of the specifics.

I live within my means and I save a lot.

For those of you who know me, I know this comes as no surprise to you. I don’t hide it. If you know me really well, you probably make fun of me for it.

Ten years ago, my husband and I purchased our first home. Although we were both working at that time, we decided to purchase a home with a mortgage payment that was easily affordable on one income. This is one of the smartest decisions we ever made. We knew that at that time it was highly likely one of us would attend graduate school. Both of us did and for four out of these last ten years, we’ve had only one income.

As we continued to make more money, we never really adjusted our lifestyle. We just saved more. Having a manageable mortgage payment allowed us to save. We saved into our retirement accounts, but we also saved into our cash reserve to levels that were more common among retirees instead of late 30 somethings.

Admittedly, I didn't think our diligence would pay off so quickly. However, after almost twelve years as a financial advisor, I had the opportunity to start my own fee-only financial planning practice while my husband was still a full-time student. I also had the start-up capital to do it.

We choose to live our lives in a way that focuses on what we value most. For us, that's not where we live or what cars we drive. I’m not big on material possessions. We haven’t had cable for five years. Yes, we are conscious of what we spend, but we still have fun. We love to travel. Last year we spent nearly 10 percent of our income on travel.

Bottom line, living within our means has given us the ultimate flexibility. We travel as much as we want to. Most importantly we’re able to pursue the careers that we want to in the way that we want to. We aren’t chained to a job and or forced to keep up a lifestyle, and it’s truly liberating.

Interested in learning more? Read more about my firm, and check out my service options.

Christine Centeno, CFPⓇ, MS is the founder of Simplicity Wealth Management. She has over 11 years of industry experience as a financial advisor and is a member of several professional organizations including NAPFA, FPA, and the XY Planning Network. She completed her Masters in Financial Planning. In 2019, after years of working for large firms, she founded her own firm. Simplicity Wealth Management provides clarity to the complicated nature of financial planning and investing by delivering comprehensive advice without hidden fees and unnecessary jargon that leaves you in the dark. The goal is to deliver transparent, easy-to-understand guidance to help clients achieve their financial goals and remain informed every step of the way.


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