Becoming financially secure is a daunting task. It means investing your money wisely and practicing proper savings and spending habits. And, it usually means getting started as early in life as possible. But, even if you’re a little behind in your personal savings goals, it’s not too late to get back on track. Here are 5 things you can do now for a more secure financial future.
Goals are achieved one step at a time. And, planning out your path is an important part of knowing where to go. Write down your long-term goals and then think of everyday practices that will get you there. Maybe you have a goal to save a certain amount for retirement. But, how much will you have to save every year and every month to get there? You have a long-term goal of paying off your credit card debt. But, how much will you have to pay every month to make it happen? Breaking down your goals into easy-to-accomplish steps is a great way to get started on your financial future today.
Achieving your financial future is equal parts planning and creating good habits. And, one of the best habits you can get into is to live more modestly. The money to fund your future goals comes from finding ways to save, and not necessarily making more money. Check your bank statements to find out where your money is going each month. Then, find ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Cancelling unused subscriptions and memberships and getting rid of other expenses that automatically come out of your account every month is a great place to start.
After you’ve made a plan to get out of debt, take the next step and make a payment on your credit card, student loan, or consumer loan, even if it’s a modest one. And, make a commitment to pay off your debts pursuant to your plan. Avoiding excess debt is an important part of a secure financial future. Because, even before you invest your money, it makes sense to stop paying even higher interest rates to other people.
Sometimes you need a little motivation to push you in the right direction. And, inputting a little information into a retirement calculator can give you a detailed glimpse into your future. With your age, your income, and monthly savings rate, you can find out how much money you’ll need to live comfortably in retirement. If what you find feels like a wakeup call, use it as motivation to adjust your current spending habits and savings rate.
Faith is failing in many traditional retirement accounts, so it’s important to have a secure place to put your own savings. If you haven’t already done so, ask your employer about any available 401(k) plans. It’s an easy decision to take full advantage of these types of retirement accounts, especially if your employer is willing to match your contributions. If your employer doesn’t offer that benefit, look into an individual retirement account or CD at your bank or credit union, and contribute as much as 8% to 12% of your income every month.
Looking forward to the future can be frightening, especially if your finances have taken a backseat to other priorities. But, making a plan today to reduce your debt and expenses, and develop better money habits can put you on the fast track toward a more secure financial future.
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