While a high-paying job or a six-figure inheritance can help you land a spot in the top 1% of earners, it is the little things—specifically your money habits that can make the difference between a life of abundance or constant financial stress.
Aside from saving and employing the right investment management strategies, below are some money habits you can develop to help you further along the road to abundance and prosperity:
1. Change Your Mindset
Here’s a common scenario: after the bills are paid and the taxes are taken out, saving can seem like a stretch if you have little money left. However, if you want to build wealth, a mindset change is required.
Most people pay their bills, spend some money, and save whatever is left after. This mentality is backward. Ideally, you should save first, pay your bills after, and make do with whatever money you have left.
Of course, this does not mean you save all of your money and live like a miser. The idea is to make saving money non-negotiable. Don’t underestimate starting small. When momentum builds and you see progress, you tend to repeat the behaviour.
2. Determine Where You Want to Go
To get you motivated to save for the future, many financial experts recommend that you come up with a five-year plan. Your five-year plan should include specific money goals you would like to achieve in five years and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
For instance, you can save six months of your income for an emergency fund, or you can save for significant events like your children’s education, a downpayment on the house, or your retirement.
3. Create Your Own Private Mind Tricks
Creating financial rules is a great habit you should get into. Also referred to as “heuristics,” there is no shortage of rule-of-thumb strategies you can create for yourself and strictly adhere to.
A few examples of heuristics can include not spending more than $50 on a pair of shoes or not buying a bag that’s more than $200. These financial rules can also help simplify the financial choices you make in a day.
4. Live Like a “Secret” Millionaire
There’s a common misconception that millionaires live in sprawling mansions and drive Bentleys. Surprisingly, most millionaires don’t live that way. The truth is many live below their means tending to spend more money on investments rather than luxuries.
Find a point where you get what you need, and you are comfortable and happy and stay there. By putting 90% of your income into investments and savings, you will be able to retire early and achieve your financial goals with ease.
5. Save for Retirement Early
If you are still in your twenties or thirties, retirement seems like aeons away. Understandably, it’s not always considered a priority. However, the later you start saving for money, the more you will need to save.
On the contrary, the earlier you start saving, the more time you give your money to compound and grow. If you are 30 years old and put $50 a month into your retirement account, you will have $56,000 in 30 years.
If you wait until you are 40 years old before you start saving, you will need to save $110 each month to achieve the same goal. Your money will have less time to grow, and this minimizes the power of compound interest.
6. Know What Comes In and Goes Out
Even if you have good intentions when it comes to saving money if you don’t know what goes in and out of your bank account, chances are you won’t know how much money you can set aside for your financial goals.
You can also use free apps to track your expenses and help you budget your money, set financial goals, and save money. It is crucial to keep in mind that knowledge is the first step to long-term financial change.
Come to think of it, if you don’t know how much you spend when you shop, how can you expect to be on top of your spending? You have to know the money that comes in and out if you want to become the chief financial officer of your life.
It would also be a good idea to invest in the services of a qualified and seasoned financial planner to help you stay on track, see the big picture, and achieve all your financial goals. Financial planners can help you see your finances objectively and help you make sound financial decisions.
This article was written by Rachael Harper of Bennett & Porter, a wealth management and insurance firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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