It’s fun to spend money on the things we want. A cool concert, big screen tv, a fancy date – but what about the future? Saving for retirement or even milestone purchases like a house may not be top-of-mind now, but there’s a ton of reasons why it should be. According to a recent article posted by HuffPost, Millennials are roughly half as likely to own a home than previous generations. To add insult to income injury, most may not even get close to retiring until they are over the age of 75! Planning ahead doesn’t mean you have to hold back on the exciting things in life. It just means you need to be smart about your money. Here are 5 ways to save BIG for the financial future you want.
#1: Set a goal.
Before you begin a new budget, you need to set some long-term goals. What age do you want to retire at? Where do you want to live? Do you plan to travel or live a local life? Your overall goals will affect how much you should plan on saving each month. Keep in mind that the cost of living varies tremendously depending on your specific lifestyle and city of choice.
#2: Make a budget.
Once you’ve set your goals, you’re ready to create a budget. Your cash-flow, expenses and hobbies will all affect what your numbers will look like. Based on your income, you should first designate funds to go towards your monthly needs. Rent, groceries, bills etc., should all have a set place. Once the necessities are covered, you can then review the available cash you have left. Based on the financial future you’d like to achieve, save what you can and use any remaining funds to enjoy life in the present.
#3: Cut back on unnecessary purchases.
If your budget cup is overflowing with debt, it might be time to cut back on some of those impulse buys. Not sure where all of your money is going? Download a budgeting app! There are a variety of apps available that can show you a snapshot of your expenses and separate them into specific spending categories. Paying too much for groceries? Use coupons, shop sales and minimize the snack game. Spending $50 bucks a week on lunches? Try bringing your own. Saving on the little purchases can really add up.
#4:Re-negotiate your salary.
If you’ve been performing well at your current job for a while, try asking for raise. But don’t just waltz in unannounced and ask for more money. Be professional, set a meeting and come in with data. Do some research online to find out what the average person working in your city, with your job title typically makes. If it’s more than you, bring it up. Be prepared with a list of accomplishments you’ve completed and really make a case as to why you deserve the bump.
#5: Make the most out of your savings.
Now that you hopefully have a few more bucks in your budget, it’s time to set aside funds for the future. When we say, “set aside,” we don’t mean under a mattress or in a cookie jar. To efficiently save, you might want to look into investments. Many companies offer 401(k) options. A 401(k) allows you to set aside a portion of your paycheck for retirement. Depending on the specific parameters your company has arranged, they may offer to match your contribution by X percent on a quarterly or annual basis. Contribution match percentages are discretionary and are set by your employer. Here’s how it works. Let’s say you contribute $1,000 to your 401(k) this year. If your employer matches by 50% annually, you just earned yourself another $500 bucks! Unfortunately, money stored under the bed won’t have the same matching benefits. IRAs and Roth IRAs are also great ways to save and potentially earn more money over time. Investment-based savings accounts like these offer a variety of financial perks; however, there may also be some risk associated with the options above. Please speak to your financial adviser before you make any hard money moves.
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