The easiest way to have more money is to manage your finances wisely. That’s where a good savings plan comes in. Whether you’re saving for your college, a year-long cruise or retirement, get serious about where you want to be financially and how you plan to get there. Start by creating solid financial goals and figure out how to reach them.
Set specific long-term financial goals. Explicit targets such as N20,000 into retirement account are more effective than more general targets without necessarily making adequate savings. Estimate how much you will need to retire in comfort, based on what you earn and spend now. Consult a financial planner for expert advice.
Put raises and bonuses toward debt payments or into savings accounts. If you can live comfortably off your paycheck, then you don’t need to live off the extra cash from your raise. Choose the best target for financial bonanzas. The key is making that money work for your financial security.
Run with the bulls and bears if you want to move beyond getting ahead and into creating wealth. Yes, you’re taking on investment risk with stocks, but you’re avoiding inflation risk. And if you have a diversified portfolio, you’re spreading your risk.
Get cracking and start saving. You will need to save enough from your 30 to 40 years of working to live for about 20 or 30 years in retirement. When you do ramp up your savings programme, overestimate your future needs. It’s far better to end up with too much money than not enough. Saving even a little bit more each year can make a big difference in the long term.
Fine-tune, buff and polish your savings plan. Understand that how far away you are from retirement plays a large part in how you should invest your retirement money. Historically, there are three stages to a long-term retirement savings plan:
Know your credit rating; it’s a good barometer on how creditors view you financially. Remember to take inflation into account in your calculations; it averages about three per cent annually, depending on your location. Most stock brokers will tell you that it is virtually impossible to beat inflation and generate a decent return without investing in the stock market.
Build a reserve of six months’ worth of your annual salary to ride out rough economic times (such as when you lose a job or have a serious illness). When you get paid, pay yourself first: Take 10 per cent of your paycheque and stash it in a savings or money market account. If you don’t have any money at all in your savings account, it’s time to examine where your money is going every month.