Are you saving for the future?
People often come to me asking for financial advice. Some want to know how to invest or diversify the money they’ve saved, but others admit to me they’re just not sure how to save.
If you’ve been meaning to save more for the future, but aren’t sure how to begin, don’t panic. You’re in good company. Many Americans (even those in higher income brackets) live paycheck to paycheck with little or nothing “put away” for emergencies or retirement. But here’s some good news.
There are many ways to start saving, even if you start out small, that can increase your net worth without significantly altering your current quality of life.
In general, when it comes to a lack of savings, it is often not a question of low income, but a matter of high spending. While it’s very true that often we’re put into situations where we must spend money (due to loss of employment, health care bills, home repairs, etc.), for many of us our excessive spending is merely a habit we must learn to break or at least control.
But where do we begin?
Many people would like to reduce their spending and increase their savings, but it seems like such a monumental task that they simply give up and don’t take any steps in the right direction. Sound familiar? If so, don’t shrug it off any longer. Saving money can begin right now; you just need to know a few “secrets.”
Secret #1: Put it aside
When you’re considering a large purchase (like a car) or even small (like a pair of designer shoes), try putting it aside, even for just a week or two. Allow yourself time to think it through. If, after that time, you still feel it’s a good idea, proceed knowing it’s not just an impulse buy. If not, don’t. Most of us have made at least one (and probably more) purchases of this nature that we have later regretted. What if you had the money back for every such purchase? What if that money was collecting interest in your savings account? It could really add up.
Secret #2: Pay yourself first
When you get a paycheck, you likely pay your mortgage or rent first, your car payment second, your insurance third, and so on. Somewhere at the very bottom of your list is you. Why are you at the bottom? Probably because you know you won’t penalize you if you don’t make a payment to you. Hold yourself accountable. Start by putting money into your savings account first. Take care of you before anyone else, so there are no excuses at the end of the month. Unless your monthly bills are higher than your monthly income, you should be able to determine a set, comfortable amount that goes into savings every month.
Secret #3: Shop smarter
We’re all in a hurry, so it’s easy to grab items like snacks or coffee when convenient. But if you stop at a convenience store for a 12 oz. coffee every morning, that’s probably at least $2.00 you’re spending every day, and that adds up. How much money could you save making your own coffee? And how could interest affect what you’re saving? If you saved just $600 per year in a basic savings account with a 5% rate of return, after 30 years you could potentially have more than $30,000, and that’s after taxes. Two dollars per day is well over $600 at the end of the year. Start paying more attention to those “little” expenditures. They can really add up!
Secret #4: See your destination
They say that hindsight is 20/20. Think about this: if 10 years ago you began saving just $200 per month in a shoe box under your bed, then today that shoe box would have $24,000 in it! Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time. But you can look ahead. Use a financial calculator (there are free calculators available online) and start plugging in numbers; calculate where you could be in 20-30 years depending on how much you’re willing to save today. Once you know what you could achieve, saving money could become your favorite pastime. A competition (with yourself) to see how much you can increase your future net worth. Have fun with it!
Secret #5: Ditch the shoebox
Speaking of that hypothetical shoebox under your bed, the money in that box might collect dust, but it won’t collect interest. And while I seriously doubt that you keep money in a shoebox, take a moment to consider where and how you save your money. While a traditional savings account can earn you interest, there are other options available to you that could potentially earn you more. Perhaps you’ve heard people speak about money market accounts or CDs, but you’re not sure what they are or if they’re right for you. It’s a good idea to learn all you can and make informed decisions about your money.
The best advice I can give you is this: speak with a financial professional. While saving money is important, where and how you choose retain and grow that money can have a significant impact on your net worth in the years to come.
I would be happy to sit down with you, at no charge, and discuss your financial situation. Please reach out if you have something on your mind. If you don’t speak with me, I’d encourage you to speak with another qualified professional.
After all, it’s not about what we make, it’s about what we save and how we save it. Make a plan for your future today.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite, LLC, is not affiliated with the named representative, broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.