Personal Fiscal Responsibility; Or: Budgeting and Paying Your Bills by Abba

By Markets Fool.com

"I work all night. I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain't it sad? And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me. That's too bad."
-- "Money, Money, Money," Abba, from the 1976 album Arrival

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In this clip fromIndustry Focus: Financials, Gaby Lapera, Mark Reeth, and Jason Moser talk about Abba's hit song "Money, Money, Money," and how listeners might avoid such a sorry situation. Also, they explain the importance of a solid 401(k) plan, some rules of thumb for budgeting, and more.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This podcast was recorded on Aug. 1, 2016.

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Gaby Lapera: So the next song we have on our docket is an oldie but a goodie. It was once popular and maybe will be again. It's "Money, Money, Money" by Abba. Anyone?

Mark Reeth: Speaking of an oldie but a goodie, Jason Moser, would you ... Do you have the lyrics in front of you?

Jason Moser: I do, yeah.

Reeth: Give it a shot.

Moser: "I work all night. I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain't it sad? And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me. That's too bad."

Reeth: That is too bad.

Moser: Isn't it? It's kind of a sad story there.

Reeth: How can we prevent this this situation?

Moser: I feel like I've been there before at least once or twice.

Reeth: Been there, done that.

Moser: It seems that way sometimes though, doesn't it? I guess it definitely can feel that way. We were talking to the areas where the rent is particularly high and living expenses can take up a lot of paycheck and obviously you are paying taxes and insurance, and all sorts of other things that you have no real control over whatsoever. It can certainly feel like at the end of the day that there is no money left for you in the check.

I think the one thing I would take out of this is because you get that check and all those things already taken out before you really have anything to say about it, go ahead and just pile on there and make sure you're contributing to your 401(k) plan or whatever retirement opportunity your employer is offering because it's very easy to get that paycheck in then say: "I just don't have enough to contribute to my savings account or whatever." Have it done for you automatically. You really ... I feel like if you get a job then you should be required to opt out of the 401(k) as opposed to opting in.

Lapera: That makes a lot of sense.

Moser: I think that would be better for everybody. It's not about the freedom. I think you should have the freedom to choose, but I think from the perspective of the employee, it's a far easier decision to make. I think they typically don't opt in because they're kind of lazy and don't want to deal with it.

Reeth: No, absolutely.

Moser: Opting out would be the same thing. It would require some work and initiative on the individual's part and they're probably just going to be like "Eh, I'm good. Whatever." It's still your money. It's just being put away for you to save your from a rainy day.

Lapera: There's that obscene figure floating around that one in three Americans have $0 saved for retirement.

Moser: Yeah, that's really scary. I don't even understand how that is possible.

Reeth: There are three of us at this table. Who is it? I'm just going to say, it's me. It's clearly me. Look at my outfit. It's clearly me, guys. I'm spending all my money on clothes.

Lapera: It's hobo chic. You and Mary Kate and Ashley can all hang out.

Reeth: Yep, me and the Olsen girls get together, talk about our fall line.

Lapera: I will say that that if the ladies of Abba were dating Pitbull and Ne-Yo maybe they wouldn't be going out to the club and spending all their money.

Reeth: Mm-hmm

Moser: Perhaps not.

Reeth: Yeah, no. To Jason's point, I think paying yourself first and foremost makes a lot of sense. Another take away from this I had was budgeting. Budgeting is hugely important. It was something I absolutely struggled with for a very long time. You know we talked about rules of thumb earlier, or rule of thumbs, if you're Gaby Lapera. One of them is the 50, 20, 30 rule of thumb. It's a common way of looking at your budget every month. 50% of your income every month goes to fix costs like rent. 20% goes to your financial goals like a 401(k) or retirement or even maybe a vacation and then 30% is more flexible spending so gas, groceries, whatever comes along that month and whatever you have left over, you put back into that 20%, those financial goals. So I absolutely agree Jason. First things first, you've got to pay yourself and budgeting is an easy way to make that happen.

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