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The Raffer Investment Group

9 Things To Do Today For Future Financial Security

9 Things To Do Today For Future Financial Security

By Jeremy Raffer

 

By evaluating your spending style and making small changes to your lifestyle,  you can work to secure your assets and help you keep the profits you worked so hard to obtain.

 

Table of Contents:

1) Automate Your Savings

2) Have A Plan

3) Manage Your Leaks

4) Eliminate Your Credit Cards

5) Use Cash

6) Know Your Spending Style

7) Create An Emergency Fund

8) Manage Your Account Types Intelligently

9) Exercise And Eat Well

Summary

 

1) Automate Your Savings

The expression “out of sight out of mind” can work favorably when it comes to your savings. Your 401K allows you to automate contributions with every paycheck, and this is the reason that 401K’s become the bulk of people’s savings.  Similarly, all of your accounts can be structured to automatically withdraw varying amounts regularly and deposit them into a checking account.  You should aim to deposit monthly into your IRA, Travel/Vacation fund, or your Child's 529 plan.

 

Automate Your Savings

2) Have A Plan

American Psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson once said “a goal without a date is just a dream.” Saying you want to lose weight is less effective than saying you want to specifically lose 20 pounds by the end of 2019 and establishing a specific exercise plan to accomplish it. Similarly, saying you want to retire at 65, travel more, or get out of debt, will mean nothing unless you break it down into the steps you need to accomplish it. Write it down, prioritize, and take action.

 

Create a financial plan

3) Manage Your Financial Leaks

You need to make minimum payments on most--if not all--of your debts. A useful financial strategy is to make the minimum payment on all accounts, and then focus your extra funds on the debt carrying the highest interest rate. This method ensures you'll eliminate the most costly debts first as you pay all your balances’ off.

 

eliminate financial leaks

4) Eliminate Your Credit Cards

Don’t make the common mistake of thinking the rewards programs offered by credit cards are philanthropic. The reason credit card companies offer them is because they know you’ll spend more if you can justify a benefit associated with it. Cut up all your cards but one, and try to consolidate your debt with the lowest interest rate possible.

 

eliminate credit cards

5) Use Cash Instead of Credit

Charging your credit card $20 to pay for something feels a lot different than taking a $20 bill out of your wallet. For some reason a credit card doesn’t elicit the same visceral sense of paying for something the way cash does. If you begin using cash more, you’ll start to realize this phenomenon, and evaluate your purchases with much more scrutiny. In fact, calculate how much money you have to spend each month on variable expenses like gas, groceries and eating out.  Then take that money out at the beginning of the month, divide it by the number of weeks in your current month, and use that money each week to pay for those things. I guarantee that you’ll spend less money using this method. Not to mention you will have a better idea of how you are spending your money.

Cash instead of credit

6) Know Your Spending Style

I’m not going to tell you how helpful it is to have a budget created--you already know that. But we can even start smaller by simply knowing how you’re spending your money. Figure out how much you’re spending on gas each month and eating out.  Keeping track of each spending category will change your financial habits and mindset. There are a great number of apps available that also make this effortless and automated.

 

know your spending style

7) Create An Emergency Savings Fund

Having some money stowed away in an emergency account makes you more assertive, confident, and patient--all good traits.  Having a couple of months of expenses in your account changes the way you look at the world.  Every time you have to pull money out of an investment or use a credit card you are accessing cash in the least efficient way. Having an emergency fund can help keep your stress down and keep your head clear when it comes to financial matters. They say that people who take more risk at work are more likely to have larger incomes--because if leadership likes what you’re doing, they’ll reward you with more responsibility and promotions. And often if your financially secure, you can afford to take more risks if needed.

 

8) Manage Your Retirement Account Types Intelligently

Different account types have different tax treatments, withdrawal rules, and specific benefits. If you're saving for college for your kids you should consider a 529 plan. If you’re saving for retirement an IRA--or even better a Roth IRA--could be your ideal choice. If you’re going to need the money in the next couple  of years however, keep it in a cash or cash alternative type investment. Knowing how certain accounts are treated by taxes and when you plan on needing the money will help you ensure you're putting it in the right place.

 

Retirement Accounts

 

9) Exercise And Eat Well

I know exercise and eating well doesn’t seem like the typical advice you’d find on a financially motivated list. However, the relationship between a healthy mind and healthy body is absolutely undeniable; if you take care of your body, your mind will work more efficiently. You’ll be smarter, make better decisions, and ultimately be more successful (and healthier) in the long run.

 

Exercise and eat well

 

Summary

So next time you begin to feel stressed over your finances and the future, try to practice the tips above to make a plan, inform yourself, and take control of your money. Having your savings set to automatically receive deposits, cutting down on credit cards and high interest-rate expenses, using cash instead of card, creating an emergency fund, and taking care of yourself are a few of the many ways to ensure your financial security. A few small steps today can mean big changes down the line. What tips or financial advice do you follow to maximize your savings? Comment below and let us know!

 

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Jeremy Raffer, MBA
Wealth Manager
 
Phone – 201-773-4641
 
 
 

Any opinions are those of Jeremy Raffer and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Information has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the material presented is accurate or that it provides a complete description of the securities, markets or developments mentioned.