Are you doing your best to save for your future? It can be very challenging to begin a savings program. After necessities such as food, clothing and housing, there can be little left to put aside for future goals.
Unfortunately, failing to save could mean the difference between enjoying a comfortable retirement and giving up some basic needs. Often it is a matter of making the decision to begin saving now in order to buy a new home or car later. The goals you set are important to you. Making changes to prepare for those goals can make a difference.
For that reason, I have taken a look at various ways to get a person’s savings plan on track. I’ve come up with seven strategies that you can use today.
1. Don’t splurge with your tax refund. Instead of spending your refund, use it wisely by paying down debt, funding an individual retirement account, or saving it for future financial goals.
2. Take full advantage of your employer’s retirement contributions. Your employer may match a percentage of the contributions you make to your retirement savings plan. It’s a good idea to do what it takes to get the matching limit. It’s free money that can really help your bottom line during retirement.
3. Start small and stay steady. The first word is the most important – start. You should begin as early as possible to get the most out of your savings plan.
4. Pay yourself first. Think of your savings or investments as a bill you must pay on a regular basis, much the same as a car or mortgage payment. Be disciplined and make the payments according to a set schedule. For better results, establish an automatic monthly deduction from your paycheck or checking account to fund an investment or savings account.
5. Create separate pots of savings for upcoming life stages. Retirement may be an important goal for which to begin saving, but other goals or events need as much or more preparation. Don’t short-change other goals while concentrating on one thing. Whether it’s a home, car or child’s education, it is important to give appropriate attention to each.
6. If you have children, find the right education plan. You have a number of choices when it comes to saving for a child’s education. Finding the right plan that makes sense for your situation, takes planning and preparation. This takes us to the seventh and, quite possibly, the most important point.
7. Work with someone you know and trust. Everyone’s needs and goals are unique. Just as you go through many changes during your lifetime, your financial goals may change. You should work with a professional who not only knows about various plans and strategies, but knows you and will stay with you through the long haul. Most people feel the best guidance they receive comes from a financial professional they know and trust.
In the end, it all boils down to making a plan, getting started and staying the course. When you make the decision to finally start, contact a financial professional who knows you and understands your needs.
Wayne Scroggins, the president and owner of Scroggins Insurance Agency, can be reached at (941) 795-1500.