Many people have no financial strategy
Success is often related to financial success or success in career and of course most people would like to have enough money to do the things they want to do, like traveling. But there is more to success than money and as our founder believes:
“Money doesn’t make you happy but no money certainly makes you unhappy.”
Financial success is something that almost everyone dreams of achieving, yet seems to be the most elusive of goals for many people. Statistics are surprising when it comes to personal finances in America:
- 50 percent of Americans have less than one month salary saved for an emergency, even though financial advisors recommend no less than six month’s salary tucked way.
-> So how about starting to save an amount of 10 – 15% of your salary every month? Start NOW.
- 56 percent of people have no idea what their credit score is, and only 58 percent of American’s have a score above 700.
-> You might check your credit score today to get a better idea of your financial status.
- Consumers purchase 12 to 18 percent more when they pay with credit or debit cards than with cash. According to McDonald’s, the average transaction rose 62 percent when they began accepting cards.
-> Check your purchase-habits and only buy what you really wanted to buy. Use lists and don´t just waste money on things you did not really intended to buy.
- 57 percent of American households do not have a budget.
-> Do you have a budget?
- 61 percent of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, despite the fact that one in five households earn more than $100,000.
- In 2008, the average credit card debt per household was $8,329.
-> How about your debts?
These statistics indicate that many American’s struggle with succeeding financially, which is why these steps to financial success could provide a plan for anyone, despite their income, to live with financial freedom.
Believe You Can Achieve Financial Success
In the 1910 book, “Science of Getting Rich,” Wallace Wattles talks about the “right to be rich,” and says that few people actually believe that they have that right, or they believe that desiring wealth is a negative thought. Although wealth can be measured in ways other than financially, such as through health, family and career, both financial and business success are critical to reducing stress and reaching goals. By following Wallace Wattles belief that financial planning is as much about believing you can achieve financial freedom, taking the steps to accomplish financial stability becomes easier.
Every financial planner advises goal setting as a critical part of any financial plan. You cannot achieve financial or business success without a road map to get where you are going, and written goals provide the start to that road map. When setting financial goals, it is important to keep a few tips in mind:
- Be as specific as possible. Rather than saying “I want to save for retirement,” say “I will put $100 into my 401(k) each month.”
- Be flexible. As your financial situation changes over the years, your goals must also change.
- Prioritize. Write down the goals in the order of importance. For example, paying off a credit card might be the most important if another goal is becoming debt free.
- Review goals often and adjust accordingly, but do not obsess over them. Understand that there will be setbacks, but there will be accomplishments, too, so focus on the positives and not the negatives.
Be sure to set short- and long-term goals, answering the question “Where do I want to be in one, five, ten years?” Include goals that may seem impossible, such as owning a beach house or visiting an exotic country, as people are more likely to achieve goals if they are excited about them.
Create a Budget
Probably the hardest part of financial planning is creating a budget and sticking to it. Many people have no idea how to create a workable budget, which is why so many people struggle financially. To create a budget:
- Gather one year’s worth of bank statements, a pencil or pen and a sheet of paper.
Total all income for the year and divide the amount by 12. If you already know what your average income is each month, simply use that figure and write it on the paper as income.
- Go through the bank statements and write down every expense for the year in categories, such as “groceries,” “rent”, “auto repairs,” etc. Total each category and divide the total by 12 to get an average per month.
Subtract the total spent from the income amount. This is the amount of money you should have left over at the end of each month. If the monthly expenses are more than the monthly income, it is time to make some budget cuts. Go through the expenses to see where spending can be reduced. Consider coupons to lower grocery costs, eliminating dinners out, taking less trips to the mall, etc.
- If you reduce expenses and are still spending more than you make, consider other ways of increasing income, such as overtime or a second job.
- Once you have fewer expenses than income, track all spending either on paper or in a computer program, such as Excel or budgeting programs, such as Quicken.
- Be sure to include savings in the budget and put that amount into an interest bearing account each month as if it were an expense.
These budgeting tips work whether you make $100,000.00 per year or minimum wage, but it is important to remember that achieving financial or business success will require sacrifice and hard work. Achieving the steps to financial success also require the support of those who live in the household, so be sure to include family members in the planning process.
One of the best financial strategies is to work with a team of professionals who can help you along the way. Most banks offer financial advisors who will work with bank customers at no charge, and these advisors offer valuable advice on investment, savings and planning for the future. For those whose debt has become unmanageable, working with a qualified credit counselor is the first step toward achieving those goals, and should be one of the first financial strategies considered. Understand that with hard work and dedication, even the most dire financial situation can be improved.
Above all, celebrate the successes as you travel through the steps to financial success, and do not dwell on the errors made along the way. By following these simple financial strategies, you will find that Wallace Watters advice was true – believing it is achieving it.
Other sites and pages
I found this page and thought it was useful related to financial success: ten habits about achieving financial success.
And another page related to financial success: 11 daily habits keeping you from financial success.
This page was created by John.