When it comes to determining how much you need to have saved up in order to retire, one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is how much you spend. In fact, this number is crucial to building a financial plan because it gives us an idea of how much your portfolio needs to earn to meet the needs of your lifestyle. Surprisingly, most individuals don’t have a great estimate of what they spend on a monthly basis. If you find yourself identifying, there’s no time like the present to get a handle on your budget and there are several great ways to do it. Our favorite is utilizing mint.com, an excellent online source powered by the same people behind TurboTax. Mint pulls in all of the data from your financial institutions (your bank, your credit card, your mortgage lender, etc.) and categorizes the data so that you can see where your money is going and how much you’re spending. Other methods include downloading your credit card data into excel and tracking your spending yourself. Whatever you use, don’t wait until it’s too late to figure out how much you need to save. If you’d like help tracking your savings progress with a comprehensive financial plan, please let us know. We’d love to help.