When you think of wealth, it doesn’t have to come in the form of gold treasure, or even a briefcase full of money, but actually personal wealth has to do with securing your financial future. You don’t have to be an athlete or musician to spend boatloads of cash. If you make even a decent living now but spend every last dollar and have nothing to show for it, you could be putting yourself in jeopardy to have nothing to live off of during retirement, when you are supposed to be living life without a care in the world. We cannot rely on strictly social security as our only means, if it is even there at all, so we need to make sure we save enough during our working career to have later on.
Pay Off & Stay Out of Debt
We don’t want to spend our lives paying back what we’ve spent on a credit card, with interest, believe me, I’ve been there. It puts you behind in focusing on other more important aspects such as paying down your mortgage, saving for retirement, or getting ahead in general. If you are currently in debt, specifically credit card debt, then you should start to figure out a payoff plan of which over a set of months you can pay the maximum you can allow yourself to afford so you can get rid of this balance and stop paying any further interest. Going forward, will need to learn from any past credit card mistakes and remain out of any further debt.
Keep an Emergency Fund
Speaking of credit card debt, what would you do if you had a sudden but needed auto repair, or unfortunate medical bills come in, or even worse, how would you get by if you lost your job and took a few months to find a new one? Probably putting expenses on a credit card or even a cash advance would be the worst moves you can make, with astronomical interest, so it is best to be prepared the best you can. Experts have often said that if you can keep at least three months’ worth of expenses in an account for easy access, that would give enough cushion. Others have claimed six months, but some argue that having too much in an account not growing would actually hurt you in the long run.
In order to free up any extra money you really have to take a look at what you are spending and look to reduce expenses. Some can take the form of monthly bills, perhaps cutting back on cable, or reducing the electric and gas bill, while others can be reducing unnecessary expenses on what you use your spending money towards. If you look at your previous month’s bank or credit card statement and take a look at all the expenses, try and categorize them in necessary monthly expenses, and what could have been avoided. Even if you cut back on eating out, add up all of those expenses that could have been avoided if you just would have bought groceries and eaten at home.
Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards
Years ago, credit cards would get a bad rap, more towards those using them, giving the impression that maybe they didn’t have the money at the time so they would put on a credit card instead. While that may be true at times, but today it actually makes good financial sense to use a credit card for even all of your purchases. Not only do credit cards have great financial protection against fraud, but the rewards themselves are reason enough to use credit cards. By making the normal purchases that you would have made anyways, you can earn points to redeem for gift cards or even rewards dollars that you can receive a check once a year back to you.
Monitor Path to Retirement
As you are continuing to contribute you to your retirement account, you will need to monitor your growth rate, even consulting a professional to make sure you are on the right track. It’s always a good idea to have a set amount in mind that you figure you will need so you can work towards that, gradually increasing contributions each year to make sure you can hit that dollar amount. As you continue to reduce expenses and free up money you can use that to fund your retirement account and have plenty to live off of while you enjoy life without worrying about having to work.