For most, managing the cost of living is as important—or more so—than managing your investments. After all, if you don't save enough, the returns you earn on those savings aren't likely to get you where you want to go.
The solution is, of course, the dreaded budget. A plan that helps you control spending and sets realistic goals for saving money is the surest way to secure your financial future. And that's equally true for both higher- and lower-income earners.
But according to certified financial planner Lazetta Braxton, founder and CEO of registered investment advisor firm Financial Fountains, tracking client spending "can be an overwhelming process." The reason, she said, is that people need to first "determine the rhythm of money coming in and going out every month."
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Most of Braxton's clients are "middle-income" earners who need to plan for big purchases and their children's education, as well as their own retirements. CNBC spoke with her about how she helps clients draft and follow budgets that aid them in realizing their financial goals and life objectives.