Have you reviewed your financial goals recently? As adults do we regularly take stock of our finances? I used to be someone who would spend all my income every month. I regularly lived from paycheck to paycheck. Which any sensible person would say is a pretty irresponsible way to live. There really was no saving for a rainy day for me. Over the years though I learnt to start planning my savings and investments. In fact moving to a job in the financial industry was the turning point for me as that is when I began to realise the importance to saving and investing.
If you aren’t already checking your financial fitness on a regular basis, remember it’s never too late to start. With the wage growth being flat as year after year companies are paying the same or less, rise in cost of living and after accounting for inflation we are having to make significant changes in our spending and saving habits to stay on track with our financial goals. Today I share some tips to keep you on track and help you with your saving plan.
Be Aware : Becoming aware of your spending impulses, knowing where and how you are spending your money and what are your important and priority areas are, is important. Practice restraint, know how much you should be saving and are able to save now. As Indians we do have a tendency to save and focus on investing in a home as early as possible. This isnt enough especially as your lifestyle changes. Be clear on what is coming in and going out every month.
Start Early : Start saving early and experience the power of compounding. Begin by putting awayat least 10% of your income. And increase that percentage as your earning capacity also goes up. But remember it’s never too late to start. So start right now if you havent yet done so.
Save separately for emergencies : Have a separate account where you put away money for emergencies. We all have had those break downs in home equipment post warranty periods, sudden purchase requirements, life changes that are inevitable like becoming unemployed suddenly. So plan to put away at least 3 to 6 months in living expenses.
Health Savings : Do you have a separate health insurance ? While this is fine when your young its not alright if you’re over 40. Get on a health plan today, even if you are covered under your corporate plan.
Plastic Trouble : I ve been there and I know this,Credit cards are a killer but only if you cannot pay back in full every month. If you cannot restrain yourself avoid credit cards completely.Or have one (only) put away in your cupboard at home for major catastrophic emergencies. I mean like an unexpected hospitalization or emergency flight tickets that need to be booked to see a sick parent or relative. Credit card interest rates will defeat you and leave you in a major financial mess.
Other Income Streams : Why not monetize your expertise or find other means of earning an income? Analyse how you’re doing on the job and find out how you can earn more? Do you have the skill sets necessary to go up the corporate ladder ? Can you arm yourself with the skill sets required ? Are there specific areas of your expertise that you can monetise. Can you write or creat a podcast. Think about it and put together a plan.
Read Up : Stay updated on investments industry and trends,read up. There are a number of books and websites with content that will help you. My book suggestions are “Rich Dad,Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and “Smart Women Finish Rich : 9 steps to achieving financial security and funding your dreams ” by David Bach among a bunch of tomes.
Get Help : Get a financial planner to help you especially if you feel need help to figure things. Or even check out places like Learnvest online, while this is US-based it can give you a road map to replicate in the Indian scenario. Look around for a decent and respected Blog or website for information.