In order to reach your future financial goals, you’ve got to plan ahead. Plain and simple.
Here are some habits to consider forming in order to help you get there!
These days, apps that track behavior are all the rage. Did you get 10,000 steps in today? Eat your avocado toast? Spend within your budget?
“Huh? What budget?”
Exacto! One easy way in which to obtain financial health is to start tracking your financial habits. See where you are spending your money and on what. From there you’ll be able to assess the areas that are a bit out of whack and to prioritize spending on those items which are either essential and/or bring you a lasting sense of well being.
Learning to budget is a bit like learning ballet. It is a beautiful, time-honored, often mocked and under appreciated discipline that, when mastered, can set you free from earthly bonds. It’s also actually much easier to budget then to ballet… we know, believe me!
How do you do it? Start by figuring out how much money you need to cover your expenses (see Monitoring Spending above) then work to spend no more than that amount.
Set up an auto deposit wherein you routinely siphon off part of your income into a dedicated account to cover your monthly expenses. Deposit the rest of your pay into a savings account. This is called the budget-to-zero (or zero-based budgeting) method.
Here’s a link to the (free) Build a Budget That Works in 3 Easy Steps workbook that should help you get started.
Squirrel Away for a Rainy Day
Set up an emergency fund to guard against the financial surprises that will invariably come. A good rule of thumb would be to have at least three months’ worth of your expenses tucked away for safe keeping. We promise it will help you sleep better at night tucked away in your drey.
Save, Then Ostrich
It’s hard, we know. But, try your best to have some portion of your income sent directly and routinely to a dedicated savings account. Then, as it relates to this portion of your capital, pivot from squirrel to ostrich and stick your head in the sand. What you don’t see won’t hurt you (and won’t be spent either)!
We have more on this here, but in short don’t put all your ostrich eggs in one basket.
Build a diversified investment portfolio with some portion of your income (after accounting for monthly expenses and emergency savings), in order to have a portfolio that grows in a manner that is consistent with your risk tolerance. And stick with it!
Put your money to work for you, not for someone else.
Be part Baryshnikov, part squirrel, part ostrich – but all you!