“The person who doesn't know where his next dollar is coming from usually doesn't know where his last dollar went.” — Unknown
The wealthy—besides having a lot of cash—also know how to budget in order to keep their wealth. Think of your budget as your compass. If you mess it up, you will never get to where you want to go.
Listed below are the first steps that you need to take to set up your budgeting tool, see your average monthly income, and how to find your average monthly spending. Once you have these numbers, keep them in mind. Better yet, write them down.
Step 1: Sign up for Personal Capital
Think of Personal Capital as your personal financial assistant that automatically takes care of your budgeting, retirement planning, and wealth management.
After linking your financial accounts, Personal Capital analyzes where you are spending too much, too little, and more. And unlike its competitor Mint, Personal Capital is ad-free!
The options you pick while setting up your Personal Capital account don't matter. The age you are at, the date you plan to retire, and everything else will not change the steps you take to become a millionaire.
Note that while Personal Capital has a paid version that provides additional features, none of them will be used for the purpose of this guide. Likewise, there is no recommended product in this guide that requires you to spend money on it.
If you have any questions on how to set up your account, check out the
Step 2: The Personal Capital Overview
First, make sure that you have all of your bank, loan, and any other financial accounts linked to Personal Capital. Connecting all of them is necessary so that the numbers on your Personal Captial account are up-to-date!
Now that you've connected all your financial accounts, head over to the main page of your Personal Capital account where you'll see a page like this one:
Your Net Worth tab calculates your net wealth, your Budgeting tab shows where you're spending your money, and your Cash Flow tab determines your total income for the month.
As a side note, this screenshot was donated by one of the alpha-testers "John". We'll showcase his progress step-by-step as he goes through the guide.
As you can see under John's Net Worth tab, he has a positive net worth but is struggling with his Budgeting and Cash Flow.
We'll fix all of John's problems in the upcoming pages, but for now, follow along to get your additional essential information. Namely, you'll find your average monthly spending and your average monthly income.
Step 3: Find your average monthly income
First, click here to go directly to your "Income" tab on Personal Capital.
To get there manually, hover over the "Banking" tab and then click "Cash Flow" from the drop-down menu as shown below:
Next, click on the "Income" tab in the middle of the three tabs on the top-right corner of the page. It's marked by the black arrow in the picture below:
Now that we're all on the same page, change your timeline from "This month" to "1 Year" as shown below:
Everything on this page will look new and shiny to you, but focus on the bottom right corner: Your average monthly earnings per month. For John, that number is $1544.66.
Don't worry about your income right now, we'll go over the tips and tricks to increase it on another page. Just keep your current average monthly earnings number in mind and continue.
Step 4: Find your average monthly spending
To find this number, click here to go to your "Banking" page on Personal Capital. Then, click the small pencil icon (✎) to see your average monthly spending.
To get there manually, hover over "Banking" at the top of your Personal Captial home page and then click the "Budgeting" tab as shown below:
Once you're on your "Budgeting" page, you'll see a page similar to the one below. Again, lots of good stuff to look at, but keep focused. We're trying to quickly extract only the most important pieces of information needed.
Now, click the small pencil icon (✎) within the circle on the left-hand side of the page to see this pop-up:
You can try changing your monthly budget a few times to see how much money you could save per year but the most important number is at the top: Monthly spending.
In John's case, he spends on average $801 per month. Your number will be different, so keep in it mind as you progress to the next few pages.