Budgeting can be so personal that you yourself don’t want to think about it. You can look at your own “net worth” and really get a sense that in twenty or thirty years you will be ready for retirement and ready for that leap out of the work force. But, when we get down to the nitty gritty numbers, does retirement make you feel more hopeless than hopeful? Getting rid of debt is always the answer but to know that and not do anything about it isn’t knowing.
There are many types of consultants that can help you and your small businesses’ financial future. They will tell you the same thing I am about to, in essence saving you a ton of money; get rid of debt, increase your cash flow and always have an assignment for every dollar. Extra money is spent money and should never stay where it isn’t allocated. There ya go! Are you ready to delve into the murky waters of debt reduction? That is how you get to the crystal clear Wealth Ocean.
It is said that you should have a minimum of six months of “essential” expenses in your savings for emergency situations. You can ask me if this is realistic, but I did say a MINIMUM of six months. Nowadays it’s a year. It isn’t easy but completely doable. Like I said, every dollar should have a job. Make your money work hard for you. This leads to the next phase of money management. Debt reduction takes time but it can be done as long as you keep your focus and don’t lose sight of the end of the tunnel. Treat your money like an employee. Be frugal but respectful of your money and always know where your money is going. You can’t manage if you don’t manage to manage. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. But that is still true, no matter how obnoxious.
To put this into a visual, step-by-step guide won’t take much work but it will work for you. It’s much too simple to just ignore so please take this particular blog entry to heart. Money shouldn’t be important to you, it’s just paper, so look at it from the perspective of needs. The bare necessities keep your family alive and create opportunities for your children. Enough lecturing, here we go!
- Know where your money is going. Where can you cut back? I am not saying don’t have a little fun in your life, but 37 trips to Starbucks last month probably cost you about $150. Think about that.
- Stick to your budget. You have to have some discipline, but just like with anything in life: you get out of it what you put in it.
- Have a bank account that pays interest. Yes, free checking is nice but if you are loaning your money to a bank for free, you are losing out.
- Save money! Simple enough, right? Maybe not. Even with debt, you can save and after debt you can flourish. A savings account that pays out 3%+ interest will be the most beneficial to your future. They are out there.
- Avoid debt. I challenge you to pay for a car (used, not new HINT: millionaires do not buy new cars) in cash. Just once. You will feel free. Also knowing your credit score can help eliminate any bad credit debt that you may not even know about.
- Avoid late fees and credit card finance charges. Credit cards are the devil and are just another way to accrue debt and live beyond your means. Millionaires don’t buy flashy houses and cars without the cashy to maintain them.
- Invest. Talk about murky waters! Investing can be frustrating but it’s just like anything else, the more research you do the more knowledge you have. Nothing is scary if you know it through and through. Also, a tax-deferred account such as an IRA or 401K can help to increase your savings at a growth rate of 10%. Even $100 a month invested in such an account for 30 years will get you $380,000. That could help with retirement.
- Don’t lose it. This includes creating that emergency fund and getting insured.
There you are, eight tips to help you live like a Queen (or King) and perhaps be a little more underwhelmed by the word “retirement” after all it’s supposed to be a relief from work not a challenge. Just as an overview I’ll repeat some of the more important tips; treat your money like an employee and make it work hard for you. The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. Keep track of it and make sure every dollar has an assignment. You think financial freedom is out of your grasp but if you become as strict with your money as you are with your diet or your career, you will see that personal and business wealth is surely within your grasp.