In an ideal world, everyone should have a solid plan to keep his or her finances in check. A set budget would be in place so bills could be paid on time with extra on the side for things such as children’s college savings, retirement, and travel. Short-term and long-term goals would be thoroughly planned out and set in motion so when “life happens,” you would be prepared for a number of different situations.
In the real world, however, this is not the case. Currently, households in the United States have a personal savings rate of 6.60 percent, (1) and 75 percent of U.S. workers report living paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. (2) The majority of Americans are barely staying afloat, which is not a sustainable model for long-term financial success that will lessen stress and increase peace of mind.
To help jump-start your financial success in a sustainable way, read on to learn about my 3 rules to set up a solid financial foundation that will pay off today and in the long run.
1. Spend Less Than You Earn
For many, this is easier said than done, but it is a necessary step in reaching your financial goals. With a little bit of planning and investigating, the impossible not only becomes possible but doable as well.
Start by looking at how much your take-home pay is (your gross income minus taxes and deductions), and find out exactly where it is going by examining your monthly bills and credit/debit card statements.
Take note of the necessities you absolutely have to pay every month (i.e., your rent, your utilities, and your insurance). Calculate how much money you need to spend on these every month and remember this number. Then take a hard look at your other expenses. Are there any patterns that can be switched up? One great way to cut expenses is by eating out less often and cooking more at home.
2. Retirement Isn’t The Goal
The life you will live after you’re done with work should be lived now. Don’t hold off on travel. Don’t hold off on crossing off “bucket list” items. Don’t hold off on doing things that bring you joy. Retirement is simply a period of your life when you will have more time to dedicate to the things you want to do without having to juggle a career at the same time. It does not mean that you finally get to do these things. When you don’t spend the time doing the things you love before retirement, you won’t know what to do with yourself when retirement finally comes, which can lead to problems in almost all areas of life.
I’ve found that people who love life and constantly give with an open hand are happier than people who would rather live closed-fisted and never extend help to anyone. Living generously forces you to be more accountable for your money. When you know how you spend your money, after you have taken care of your own expenses, then you know how much you can help someone else.
The Next Step
Planning for financial success can be overwhelming, but try these 3 rules out today to start taking baby steps. We would love to help you create a plan that will pursue the best outcome for any situation. You can get in touch with me directly by calling 814-325-9806, emailing [email protected], or request a meeting online!
Ash Toumayants is a financial advisor and the founder of Strong Tower Associates. For over a decade, he has helped hardworking people across Central Pennsylvania prepare for retirement. Fueled by a passion for helping people see through the veil of confusion that shrouds the financial world, his goal is to educate his clients so they can make more sound choices regarding their financial future. A Penn State graduate, he currently lives in State College with his lovely wife, Noelle, and their two adorable children. Learn more by connecting with Ash on LinkedIn or emailing [email protected].