In a country where how much money a person has is a constant topic of conversation, it may seem like you can have it one of two ways: all or nothing. The truth is somewhere in between. We don’t all need millions, but there is also no denying the importance of money. Without it, you will have to work for the rest of your life. By finding ways to grow your wealth now, you will be more likely to retire and enjoy life when the time comes. Most people aren’t sure how to get started, but these ideas can help.
Save Money Before You Even See It
For many people, the easiest way to save money is to never let it touch the checking account. Your employer can probably send a percentage or specific dollar amount of your money to your savings account each pay period. Take advantage of it. While experts will tell you to save anything from 10 percent to 20 percent of each pay, the reality is that every little bit helps. Even if you can only save $5 and are paid twice per month, it is $1,200 in a decade with literally no effort on your part.
Think about income you earn outside of your regular paycheck as well. Do you get holiday bonuses or other annual bonuses? Perhaps you receive checks when you earn commission. If you can, save all of this money. If you can’t save it all, save half. The same goes for raises. If your raise provides you an additional $100 per paycheck, automatically put $50 of it into savings. Over time, these tiny amounts of money can turn into a hefty nest egg, especially if you start right out of college or sooner.
Are you worried you’ll deplete your savings if it’s easily accessible? Consider a government-sponsored, tax-deferred plan for your retirement. These programs have lots of red tape and plenty of penalties for using them early, but that’s the beauty of them. The guidelines ensure you won’t use your money prior to retirement unless you absolutely have no other choice. You won’t be able to dip into your savings account with the often misguided notion that you’ll replenish it later.
Other Ways Your Household Can Save
Groceries and entertainment account for large portions of most household budgets, but with a little effort, you can save in these areas as well. Instead of throwing away the weekly store ads that come to your home, actually look at them. Plan family meals in advance and around sales. Go to multiple stores to save, but only if it won’t cost you too much in fuel—in that case, you wouldn’t actually be saving anything. Don’t forget to use your rewards cards, which often give you free groceries or deep fuel discounts when you hit a certain threshold spent.
You can save with your entertainment as well. Get rid of your traditional cable box in favor of a device that streams Netflix, Hulu, and similar websites. Many of your favorite channels are also jumping onto the monthly subscription bandwagon. You could go from spending $100+ per month on cable to $30 or $40 on a few of your favorite streaming options. Keep the excess money in your budget, but send it to your savings instead.
Consider Investing in a Rental Property or Running a Side Business
If you have the money to do so now, investing in a small rental property is a solid way to ensure you have income even after retirement age. Of course, there are some guidelines you’ll have to follow, including federal and local tenant-landlord laws. It is also important to consider where your property will be—purchasing one in an area where people mostly own may not work out well. If you don’t want to commit to managing a property all year, renting out a summer beach house in a warmer state could be a good compromise.
Maybe you don’t want to invest in property, but you are good at other things. Whether you fix cars on the weekends, host workshops to teach people a specific skill, or put your crafty side to good use and sell things on Etsy or other craft websites, you can take any income you bring in and put it directly in to savings.
Talk to a Professional
This often overlooked part of growing and managing your wealth is often overlooked. Maybe you’re struggling to stick to a budget, or perhaps you’ve saved a good amount of money but aren’t sure how to manage it. By talking to a professional financial advisor such as Warren Stephens of Stephens Inc, you can receive help from someone who is trained to find flaws in your system and help you create a plan to fix them.
Whether you’re 20 years old and just starting out, or you’re 50 years old and just realized you aren’t adequately prepared for what comes next, it is never too late to start saving money for retirement. Doing so ensures you will have much less to worry about when you reach 62, the average retirement age in the United States.
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