Obviously, you cannot be a financial success if you don’t have any money or are not living the lifestyle that you envisioned. Question: Do you know what your net worth is? Many people don’t and are afraid to even try to determine what it is. It may just be the one thing to get you taking action towards saving your money.
How Much to Save?
Most say save 10% of your income. I say save more, but it all really depends on how much debt you are currently working with and where you want to be in the next year, 10 years, or by retirement (This should be determined in your goals. Read Part I of this series). If you are looking to retire in 30 years, investing $300 a month at 8% will yield you roughly $440,000. Enough for some to retire on, and probably a whole lot more than where you are currently headed.
What if I have Debt(s)?
If you have debt, it is important to get that debt out of the way. The logic here is that most credit card interest rates are upward of 12%. If you have debt on that card, but decide to save your money in an account earning 5-8%, you are losing money.
So what to do? Save enough for a cushion. Determine how much you may need for quick emergency cash such as $1000 – $2000 dollars, and save this amount. Once there, devote however much you were putting away into these accounts to paying off your debt as quickly as possible.
What Financial Vehicle should I use to save My Money?
Good question. There are many options that will get you where you want to be. When I think about where I want to save my money I think of 8 things:
1. What is my purpose for saving this money? (Very Important)
2. How much of a risk am I willing to take?
3. Will I be able to get to my money quickly?
4. Are there any penalties for getting my money?
5. How much do I want to save?
6. What reputable company should I save / invest with?
7. How much am I able to put aside monthly to achieve this?
8. How long will I be saving for?
I recommend separating your savings into multiple accounts (Christmas savings, car savings, retirement savings, etc.) and for each, make choices that will be conducive to how you will use the accounts.
If you are saving for a car for 1 year, you may want to use a 1or 2 yr CD. If you are saving for Christmas you can do the 1yr CD or use a Money Market account to allow you to get to your money if you have an emergency before Christmas and have to sacrifice some funds. If it is retirement you are saving for, there are numerous annuities, the most famous being the Traditional and Roth IRA which provide significant tax advantages depending on how you use them.
The Next Step: Take Action!
You’ve been given the hammer and the nail. Now it is up to you to drive it home. Take action today! It is important that you are clear about what it is that you want to do, seek professional help (for your money, not your mind) if needed, make a decision, then do it! Become the financial success that you have always wanted to become, today.