In honor of National Savings Day, we recruited the help of a local financial advisor and member, Scott Stillman with LPL Financial, to share some tips to help you save for your future.
“78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck – CareerBuilder Jan 11, 2019
“Poor people try to figure out where their money went. Wealthy people tell their money where to go.” -author unknown.
Budgeting is not a dirty word. Budgeting is not cutting back. Budgeting is telling your money where to go; 2-3 minutes a day, 20-30 minutes a month, thousands of little decisions a year with intention. Most millionaires do a monthly budget.
Why are you reading this? Do you want to break the cycle? Get out of debt? Save emergency cash?
Where are you?
Start by evaluating where you are now by tracking your current income and expenses. Writing down your monthly income and expenses helps you visualize where your money is going. Include a line item for discretionary purchases. Just writing it down may help you pause when deciding whether to buy those extras. Determine your net worth by subtracting your liabilities (what you owe) from your assets (what you own).
Set some goals that will help you achieve better financial health. Make them realistic and hold yourself accountable. For example, if you have more credit card debt than you’d like, set a goal of paying it off by a certain date. If your savings are slim, set a goal of saving enough money to cover six months’ worth of expenses within three years. Check your progress six months from now. If you’re on track, give yourself a small reward. If you are not progressing as fast as you’d hoped, make the necessary changes.
The key to change is becoming aware of where change is needed. Whether you need to pay off debt, save for emergencies or build up your retirement savings, you should make it a habit to save regularly. If you pay yourself first by contributing to your 401(k) plan or a savings account, you may be less tempted to spend on unnecessary purchases. Visualize your goal; that will encourage you to keep saving.
It can be hard to change habits. With proper motivation and periodic progress reviews, though, you can do it. Can you drive your car a year or two longer? Can you dine out less often? As you see your savings build with your thoughtful spending choices, you’ll be encouraged to continue.
My favorite budgeting app is (you need a budget) YNAB.com. Whatever you use, do something! There is just something that happens to most people psychologically when they budget. Most people end up having a better standard of living and spending less money.
Remember, you are ultimately in control of your financial health. Make it happen.”
Scott Stillman, CFP®, CLU® | Scottsplan.com
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC
If you need help planning for your financial future, we have several financial advisors that are members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. Here is our online directory with more information.