There is no way to stop time. No matter what we try, time continues to move forward with grim intent. For every moment you procrastinate in your earlier adult years to save for upcoming rainy days, you inch closer and closer towards a senior career as a Wal-mart greeter. Mind you, I am not putting these hard working folks down, but this profession is a reality for many in the senior set. Why is this, you ask? It is because they kept waiting “until they had more money” to save, to invest, to plan; eventually winding up outliving any savings they had. Use these tips while you are still in your twenties and thirties to give you a springboard toward enjoying your golden years, and avoid the blue vest.
In our twenties and thirties, we assume a common mantra, “I’ll open a savings account when I have $100 to spare”. While not having “enough” money is an hindrance when it comes to saving, consider changing that $100 to a less, more reachable number. It’s never too early, and it’s never too little when it comes to savings. Even $5.00 a week can create a savings habit that will last long into retirement. Once you start saving and watching that balance grow, it becomes an habit.
That same mental block that causes folks to wait when it comes to saving, is the same one when it comes to resisting investing as well. Find a financial planner. There are hundreds of planners specializing in helping those with shoestring budgets save up to buy a whole shoe. Remember, when it comes to money, every little bit counts.
IRA, 401K and Roth
Bad money habits are learned, and those unfortunate habits then turn earned. By not fixing undisciplined spending or saving habits early on, you get what you deserve.
Instead of making saving for your retirement an option, make it a priority. Have your employer automatically deduct money from each pay check. Have that applied directly toward an IRA and 401K or matched asset plan? Not having that money in the bank account means you won’t spend it, thereby forcing yourself to save for retirement, and develop an investment portfolio all at the same time; killing two birds with one stone. Experts like Dave Ramsey recommends saving 10 to 15 percent of your gross income, then allocating another 10 to 15 percent for investments on top of that. Start now.
Don’t fall for debt
Another drawback to the society we live in is the lure of debt, credit cards and the need to have everything we want, right now. Let debt be the bane of your friends, not yours. Pay cash and delay that instant gratification for low and high ticket items alike. Bask in the knowledge that while Frank is driving around in is $62,000 car, Frank winds up paying a price equivalent to a house for his new ride when adding finance charges. Save up, pay in cash and own everything in your life free and clear.
Live beneath your means
In college, many people have to learn how to survive on extremely little. Yet, the second after graduation the credit cards get maxed out, the money is spent and pockets are turned out. If you were able to live on $30,000 a year while going to school to land that $80,000 a year job, continue living on $30,000 or $40,000 for a few years after graduation, and watch your savings soar. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish, and long-term wealth is always better than short term gratification.
Using these 5 proven techniques, you will kick start your savings and be in a position to jet set around the world once you retire; waving goodbye to debt ridden friends who will probably outlive their income. You work hard for your money, make your money work hard for you.
More from this Contributor:
The 5 Most Common Credit Card Traps
Setting Realistic Financial Goals
Financial Advice for Twentysomethings