Too often, everything but wages seems to increase. As of today, the average price for a gallon of gas in the United States is an eye-popping $4.95Eggs and milk have soared in price in recent months. "Getting through the getting by" seems harder than ever, especially for families of four or more.

In lieu of all of the increases, there really couldn't have been a better time for Keith Leverentz to stop in studio. Leverentz is the Owner and President of The Life Group Financial Services in Dubuque, IA. The Life Group offers a plethora of different services, including, but not limiting to positioning your assets to reduce Social Security taxes, increasing retirement income, and coming up with a written plan to help you and yours find your path to financial success.

Taking a Humorous Direction:

Leverentz knows better than anyone than financial business isn't only daunting, but can be boring to the average person. During our interview, he began by offering some tongue-in-cheek tips to save money. He suggested appointing the family dog as the designated dishwasher, or perhaps trading in your lawn for that drab, puke-green carpeting your "Aunt Judy" might've had at one point. Paving the lawn with carpeting probably wouldn't go over super well with the Homeowners Association, but maybe it will just take some convincing.

Getting Serious:

We can joke all we want, but having the financial security in the short and long-term is vitally important. It's understandably easy to get caught up in the immediate future. Leverentz wants his clients, and people in general, to think about their long-term goals.

"I'd encourage people to [....] get away from the madness that is today and think of the future," Leverentz said. "What do I want to accomplish for retirement? What do I want to accomplish for my kids' college? What do I want to accomplish for my grandkids' college some day?"

Leverentz understands the anxiety. He sees it all the time in his clients. He sees their worries about potentially working until their 80+ years old, unable to afford a comfortable retirement. That only underscores the urgency of financial planning.

Where is Your Money Actually Going?:

Budgeting is one of the least sexy things we can do. Yet it remains one of the most helpful. Even if you think you're aware of where all your money is going, having it itemized either on a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet allows you to see in black-and-white where your money is being spent.

It also helps zero-in on the micro in relation to the macro of both your short and long-term goals.

"Look at today. Get a map and a plan for where each dollar is being spent each month [....] You'll be amazed when you look at your monthly spending where the money is going," Leverentz said. "As things get more expensive that you need, or even want, it's nice to identify some things that could be cut or even reduced."

In the day-and-age where we can "set-and-forget" automatic withdrawals for expenses such as rent, electric, and internet, it's easy to overlook exactly where your money is going. Or for that matter, what services you might still be paying for that you no longer need.

In our interview, Leverentz shared a personal story about how a nearly fossilized piece of technology was still costing him money up until very recently.

Listen to the Full Interview:

You can listen to my full interview with Keith Leverentz to hear the nitty gritty of the tips and tricks he shared. You can also seek guidance from the folks at The Life Group by calling (563) 587-7840 or visiting their offices at 1545 Associates Drive in Dubuque.

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