Tag Archives: budget

economic development - 8 honored

$2.2 billion Maricopa County budget advances

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has advanced a $2.2 billion budget proposal that would lower spending, reduce taxes and increase employee pay.

Arizona’s most populous county plans to decrease its spending by $82.4 million next year. The proposed budget also includes the first employee pay increase in five years. The county employs about 13,000 people.

County officials say the budget will likely result in a modest property tax decrease for local homeowners.

The largest share of the budget will continue to go toward Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Create a Budget

Cash Flow Management: Creating A Budget To Reach Financial Success

Tracking of cash flow dates back more than 3,000 years. Before currency existed, people would use cattle, grains, silver or other items of value as trade. These transactions, tracked on tablets or sometimes counting tokens, were used as a tool to track financial dealings. This tells us that managing trade or cash flow has been around for decades and is a critical factor when it comes to managing finances. Some important elements are creating a budget, emergency fund planning, debt management and savings strategies.

When it comes to planning for future goals, a budget can be a very useful guide to help reach financial success. A budget helps project future cash flow needs and can be a great tool to assist with preventing financial problems and increasing net worth.

Before putting a budget together, one will need to gather data on past spending and income. The budgeting process should include: estimating income, estimate of spending, and planning for savings. Begin by putting a preliminary budget in place which will include goals and priorities for each goal. Track these goals on a regular basis and make necessary changes when needed.

One of the top priorities of a budget is having an emergency fund. This is critical and is often overlooked. Many planners recommend having at least three to six months of expenses, but with the increased cost of goods and services today, many feel that six to nine months is best. Expenses should include fixed cost and variable cost. Emergency funds should be in a high liquid type of account, such as a savings or money market account.

Debt management has become a very challenging issue today. Hopefully, with the degree of issues we’ve seen in the last few years, people will see the importance of managing their debt closely.

Three common rules of debt management are: total monthly debt should not exceed 36 percent of gross income, mortgage payments should not exceed 28 percent of gross income, and consumer debt should not exceed 20 percent of gross income.

In our fast-paced society and with the current availability of credit, it can be difficult to stay within these parameters. However, using these rules as a guide and implementing them can help us get back to managing our debt within a reasonable level. Financial debt will eventually catch up to us, but before it does, we can take responsibility now to control it before it controls us.

Many people who begin to think about saving usually consider it only when they have excess or residual income. Saving should be planned as part of a budget sooner than later, not just when it’s convenient. Delaying saving usually ends up never happening or may be too late to be beneficial. At a minimum, it is recommended to save five to 10 percent of income annually. I also suggest to increasing the saving percentage every year; this will help keep up with inflation and allow investors to get a head of the saving game.

These are important factors and planning tools that can help with implementing or adjusting a financial plan and managing cash flow. The earlier an individual, household or business can start, the more likely for success.

 

Securities and investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Inc. Member SIPC. Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners, Inc.

This information was prepared by Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. and is for educational information only. The opinions/views expressed within are that of Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates Inc. and do not necessarily reflect those of ING Financial Partners or its representatives. In addition, they are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Neither ING Financial Partners nor its representatives provide tax or legal advice. You should consult with your financial professional, attorney, accountant or tax advisor regarding your individual situation prior to making any investment decisions.

Creating a marketing plan

Why Creating A Marketing Plan Matters

A lot has been said about the importance of creating a marketing plan, but the task at hand often appears so daunting that many business owners and executives never get down to the business of tackling this challenge. Instead, they choose to simply approach things on a day-to-day basis, functioning in reactive mode rather than proactive mode. While this may seem to work for awhile, ultimately operating without a plan can hurt the bottom line — one way or another.

Start with a budget

Before putting pen to paper to create a marketing plan, business owners and managers need to set aside a budget for marketing.  The general rule of thumb is anywhere between 3 and 10 percent of gross revenues. For a new business, the budget should be closer to 10 percent (or more), as in the early stages of business you will need to invest more money to establish your brand and attract customers or clients. As you become more established, you can actually consider cutting back, as word-of-mouth will hopefully kick in. Once you know how much you will have to work with, you can determine how to best allocate both your time and your money.

Setting goals

The planning process need not be overwhelming or enormously time-consuming, but it does require some thought about what the company’s goals are. What is it you want to do? What are the top three to five things you would like to achieve this year? Goal setting should actually occur all year; and everyone in the organization should know what the goals are and their role in contributing to the company’s success.

Where to invest

Next, identify what marketing and/or communication efforts will directly support your goals, what they will cost and who will implement them.

Technology has opened the door to many new tools in our marketing mix. Choosing what to include should begin with who you are trying to reach. Where do your customers get their information and what do they like to do? Marketing action items can include print, radio or TV ads, direct mail, e-mail and newsletters, trade shows, sponsorships, employee contests, customer-referral programs, giveaways, events, website, social media and SEO.

You can keep things simple by putting together a spreadsheet showing the months of the year at the top and the marketing activities you wish to do in the far left column. Then, mapping out the activities of the year and the investment required allows you to quickly see what needs to be done and how much you will need to do it.

Adjustments required

Before making any changes to your plan, keep in mind that it takes time to build momentum. That said, throughout the course of the year, it is important to review and evaluate the results in order to determine if any adjustments are necessary. You may also want to consider adding something to your marketing mix to enhance something else you may be doing — like a seasonal event.

A clearly outlined marketing plan gives you the planning power to integrate what might have been individual communication tools into a complementary plan where activities work together, helping you increase overall effectiveness and truly get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.

Spending money without a marketing plan can make the difference between seeing your business flourish or closing your doors.