Achieving financial success may seem overwhelming, but you should view it like the popular fable, the Tortoise and the Hare. No matter your financial expertise, the phrase “Slow and Steady Wins the Race” is the perfect analogy for getting your finances in order and becoming financially secure. All you have to do is just take everything one step at a time, and with a little bit of dedication and hard work, you will meet your financial goals.
Our financial advisors have created a list of some easy steps for financial success for now and the years to come.
1. Establish Goals
It’s hard to develop smart spending habits if you don’t have a goal in mind first. After all, you’ll need to figure out exactly why you are choosing to save your pennies, and what your ideal income looks like.
Your financial goals are personal to you, and they can be anything that helps to set you up for success either in the short-term or down the line a couple of decades from now.
Here are a few examples of financial goals:
- Saving for a Caribbean vacation next summer,
- To pay down all credit card debt,
- To put $50 away in a retirement fund every month,
- Spend less than you earn,
- To forgo any unnecessary expenses for a month,
- To build up a robust emergency savings account,
- To learn more and start investing in the stock market.
When you have a goal that is written down, you will be able to plan your finances better and have something to strive for.
2. Pay Yourself First
Every time you get paid, you need to pay yourself first before you do anything else. This means putting away money into your retirement account, your health savings account, your emergency savings before you pay your bills. Most individuals do it the opposite way, meaning they pay off their bills with the promise that they will then save whatever is left over. The only problem is, typically there isn’t much left over once all the bills are paid. When you view your own savings as an entity that is just as important as your other bills, you’ll set yourself up for financial success. All it takes is an easy mindset change.
3. Don’t Get Complacent With Your Current Income
Never feel afraid of asking for more money from your employer. Just because you are making a wage you are comfortable with now, doesn’t mean that you need to stay complacent. Most financial planners assume that your income will grow over time, so know what you are worth and negotiate a raise. Speak to your employer about incremental raises for seniority and performance, as well as income adjustments to match inflation. You can also look into promotions within your company, or even seek out new job opportunities that come with a higher wage. Always be on the lookout for methods of raising your income, so you can not only save more, but become more financially sound.
4. Know Your Numbers
You may have a ballpark idea of what your monthly bills are, but when was the last time you crunched the exact numbers? It is all too easy to be disconnected from the actual numbers; after all, it’s so common to pay just the minimum monthly payment and then go about your day. So the next time you have a free hour or two, take the time to go over every bill you have and write them all down. Include the minimum monthly payments, as well as the total sum. See if you can create a budget that allows you to pay more than the monthly minimum, and execute on that starting next month.
5. Take Time Discussing Your Must-Haves
Every person is different, including their financial values. Speaking to one of our financial advisors at Second Opinion Partners is key to determining what is important to you and what your must-haves include. At Second Opinion Partners, we are dedicated to educating you and creating goals that match your lifestyle. We take pride in defining and planning the course ahead of you that will help you achieve your “One Best Life,” and will provide you with the guidance, resources, and advice that you need to get there.
Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what your financial must-haves are. That’s what we are here for, with a bit of planning and goal-setting, we’ll come to a solution together.
6. Prepare for the Unexpected
It is all too easy to deal with emergencies at another time. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, it can be very hard to even think about creating an emergency savings account, but what happens when the unexpected hits? You don’t want to get into a situation where you cannot afford your monthly necessities if an emergency happens, like losing your job, getting into a car accident, or having an expensive medical bill. Emergencies are inevitable, so think of your emergency fund as cash that you don’t need now but will need later.
Typically, we like to suggest saving enough money to cover three months of your living expenses, but if you aren’t in a situation to do that now, don’t fret. All you need to do is just put aside as much as you can to get into the habit of saving for the long-term. Even $5 a week can add up when you need it the most.
7. Track Your Expenses With a Money Management Tool
Not sure exactly where your money is going, but are you a bit intimidated on tracking all of your expenses manually? Let a money management tool do all the heavy lifting for you. Tools like Mint.com and Truebill link up to your bank account and itemize your spending in different categories, making it easier for you to track. You can also benefit from the personal insights and customized budgets they will develop for you.
Our financial advisors at Second Opinion Partners will meet you exactly where you are on your financial journey. To ensure you have a healthy relationship with your money, make sure to keep the above tips in mind and call our office today to set up a financial review. We can’t wait to work with you.