All the financial whizzes like to say, “You need to be saving money!”
Maybe you’d like to, but you don’t know how. (If so, how’s this for a hook: You will by the time you finish this column!)
First things first: Saving is a habit. Like all habits, it requires motivation and momentum.
If you’ve thought that saving money is too complicated a process, stop and consider the power and potential of this simple strategy.
Here’s how to find motivation:
Calculate how much you’ll need. For now, you work and your employer pays you. Pretty simple. But since you may not be eager (or able) to work the rest of your life, you need to save enough money now so you’ll have enough to live off of later. Have you ever stopped to calculate how much you might need?
Compare your future need to your present savings habits. With an estimate of how much you’ll need for your post-working years, you can figure out how much money you need to be saving between now and then. Let’s say you realize you need to be saving 15% or even 20% of your current income, but you’re not doing that. What then? Keep reading…
Consider the cost of waiting. The one thing you can’t afford to say is, “I’ll get started in a few years.” Those who keep putting off the savings habit find the price tag and pain level only rise with the passage of time.
“Okay. Okay!” you say. “I’m motivated! Now what?”
Now you need some momentum. Here are four ways to get “on a roll” in your savings life.
1. Save first, then spend. Make sure the first “bill” you pay each month is to your savings account. Save first, off the top, then spend what is left over. If you reverse that (i.e., you spend first, then try to save what’s left over), there won’t be any money left to save!
2. Start now—with something. The most important thing about saving is to get started. Every successful saver started somewhere. Even if the amount seems terribly small, show yourself that you can save money. Because you can.
If you earn $5,000 per month, 1% of your paycheck is $50. You can save $50 per month. Start there. Just 1%. But don’t stop there.
3. Save your raises. If you make $5,000 a month today and you got 3% raises over the next 10 years, you’d be making about $6,500 per month a decade from now. If you committed to saving those raises, you would be saving $1,500 each month! (That would be a world-class 30% saving rate—and would help make up for any years you didn’t yet have the savings habit!)
4. Just keep going. You’re going to have some unpleasant surprises along the way. The HVAC system will go out. The car will break down. Another child will need braces.
But not all the surprises ahead will be unpleasant. Along the way, you’ll get a bonus, a bigger than expected raise, or a tax refund you weren’t expecting. You can use that money to offset unexpected expenses—and continue to grow your savings.
Listen, if you’ve felt helpless and hopeless up till now…if you’ve thought that saving money is too complicated a process, stop and consider the power and potential of this simple strategy.
Then get started. And don’t stop.
I discuss saving and other wealth building strategies in my new e-book “How to Put Money Worries in Your Rear-View Mirror – The Financial Freedom Roadmap.” It’s free—and a quick read. Email me at email@example.com and I’ll get it to you right away.
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