Hey Awesome ones, so I believe we all have a worry in common. That worry is MONEY. Maybe it’s not so much of a worry, but it is something we all think about daily. We are either thinking about making it or spending it. Today I want you to think about saving and investing for the future and a rainy day.
Life is so unpredictable as we all know. How many times have you made a plan only to have life take over and do with it as it pleases? We simply cannot plan confidently. What we can do, though, is try to put things in place that if our plans do go west we will be prepared.
About three years ago, I got serious about money and my financial future. My credit score wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the best, I had no savings and I was living above my means like most Americans. In fact, according to a survey by GOBANKINGRATES.com, 62% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings. That is an alarming percentage, which shows that the average American is living paycheck to paycheck and above their means.
I decided that in order to gain financial freedom I would need to make some changes sooner rather than later. My goal was and still is to become debt free. Lessening my debt means having more “free” cash that I can use to invest in my retirement fund. I have not yet fully accomplished that goal but I have placed myself in a better position now, to reach my goal in 1.5 years or less. It all began with PLANNING and creating a BUDGET.
When you enter your 30’s life seems to take another spin. It’s not very forgiving and comforting as it was in your 20’s. The mind starts thinking more responsibly (hopefully); sometimes it could come as a depressing phase when you start comparing your life to where society claims you should be at that point. But, when you hit your 30’s you know that you have to start paying attention to your finances. Especially if you have plans, hopes, and dreams which all comes with a price tag and that in America means having good credit.
Your credit is the deciding factor in most big decisions that you may want to make at this stage. You may be interested in owning a home, buying a car, or need a loan to start a business for example. The better your credit is, the better your chances are of obtaining these wants.
It is not too late to turn your financial future around. I was happy to know this.
1.PLANNING– this is a very important starting point. Get a pen and paper and list all your major debts e.g. credit cards, car payment, and loans. Then, make a list of your recurring debt e.g. rent, insurance, household bills, groceries etc. Seeing the total of what you owe would give you a sense of what you need to do next. Now, list your income and see how it compares to your debts. This information can help you make some important decisions, create a timeline and a plan of action in reducing those debts.
2. BUDGET– creating a budget is the best plan of action you can take. Deciding how to allocate your income monthly, meaning how much you plan to set aside to start paying off each debt will give you a forecast of where you’re at financially. Following your budget and making adjustments when necessary can allow you to free up some cash. Example, that gym membership payment that automatically gets taken out of your account every month but you haven’t seen inside a gym for last three (3) months. This is an adjustment you can make that could free up $10-$30.
If you are great with Microsoft excel you can create your budget there or here are two great free apps I use that you can download:
My advice: during this time it’s imperative to not create additional unnecessary expense unless it’s an emergency.
3. SAVINGS– Pay yourself first. Don’t go paying everybody and not put aside something for yourself. I personally pay myself 10% of my salary every month. It is the first money that is ever taken out of my check, which goes straight to my savings account.
Opening an online savings account 3 years ago was one of the first things I did when I became financially educated. Online banking compared to regular banks pays more interest on your dollar. Hence the reason I went that route. It is totally easy to sign up for and you can simply transfer money from your regular bank account to your online savings account. I signed up for Barclay’s savings with a 1.00% APR interest rate.
I also use an awesome app name DIGIT, which saves money automatically. It saves small amounts according to your spending and you can also set up any amount to be deducted and saved. The app is free and you are able to withdraw your savings or tell it to stop saving at any time you please. Click here to start saving for a rainy day now.
Another way you can save is by joining a sou-sou. It is a form of informal savings within a small group. Each member make a small contribution each week and each period the total contribution gets dispersed to one member.
4. PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME- Set up payments or reminders in advance. Paying your bills late or worse yet missing a payment will have a negative effect on your credit score.
5. INVEST– if you have a 401(k) account you can calculate your savings over time over at Bankrate.com. If you have not yet started to invest in a 401k, do not be worried all is not lost.
– Open your own ROTH-IRA account. Read more about this more here.
6. LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS– this simply means if you can afford a brand new BMW buy a second hand, Ford.
Hope these tips will be helpful in creating a better relationship with your finances. Please share these tips with your friends and family.