Managing money can be a difficult topic. For some, this is based on fear, worry, or uncertainty as well as a misunderstanding about how to save, when to save, and where your money should go. Let’s face it: We all think we need more money, yet no amount ever seems quite enough. Whether you just got your first job mowing lawns or you’re headed into retirement, here are tips and tricks for saving money at every stage of life.
Saving is for everyone
Ideally, everyone should set aside a portion of their money for a savings or investment account each month. This account can be used for a myriad of things, such as college expenses, retirement, a vacation to Costa Rica, or purchasing your first car. First, identify your why. Why do you want to set money aside? What are your financial or purchasing goals? Figuring out what you want the money for will help you determine which type of account to open and provide you a concrete objective to keep in mind when it comes to parting with some well-earned cash every month.
Teach your kids
Kids get cash for birthdays, completing chores, and even starting their own entrepreneurial ventures, such as a babysitting or lawn-mowing service. Just because your son or daughter is still in middle school doesn’t mean they can’t learn the benefits of saving. Have your child set their sights on a financial goal, which can be as simple as getting that new video game or as complex as growing a savings account to one day purchase their own car. Then, help them figure out what portion to put into savings and what they can pocket to spend freely. Even if they aren’t setting aside very much, simply teaching children the habit of saving money early on will help them gain more financial prowess for later in life.
Save on college expenses
Saving for college is important, especially with tuition rates on the rise. Those in their later teens and early 20s can feel more financially stable by saving money wherever possible. This means applying for tons of scholarships, job hunting, and even working or attending school while living at home. Every little bit saved cuts down on school expenses; this becomes a big deal when you need to start paying off college loans.
Start saving early
Once you get your first job, saving should begin immediately. Whether contributing to a retirement account, an emergency savings account, or setting money aside for the purchase of a future home, you need to get realistic about your financial goals and your spending budget. Speak to an accountant or your company’s human resources representative to see how you can best make use of investment accounts, benefits, and other chances to grow your wealth.
Growing your family and your wealth
Once you are seemingly well established and coasting into your 30s (or maybe even 40s), you need to think about saving for retirement, emergencies, and costs of raising children as well as purchasing or maintaining a home. This is a time when, needless to say, there is a lot going on. Therefore, it is vital that you take a good look at your finances and realign your goals so that you and your partner (if you have one) are on the same page.
You may have combined finances with a spouse at this point and, if you are both still working, you need to maximize the amount you set aside for savings. One mistake many people make at this point in their lives is living beyond their means. It is much better to get into the habit of maintaining a similar lifestyle, even as your income potentially increases, so that you can set aside even more money toward savings. Now, don’t get us wrong, this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Setting aside money for a trip is a great way to make sure your next Disney adventure doesn’t have to get charged to a credit card. Plus, experiences and trips are a much better use of money than purchasing more, bigger, or better material possessions.
Retirement is upon us
Once you get closer to retirement age, you’ll want to set even more money aside, especially if you’re a bit short of your original goal. Most retirement accounts allow you to make catch-up contributions at this point, which is a smart idea if you want to maximize the amount of money you can withhold from your paycheck. Most financial planners suggest adjusting your “risk level” of investments, encouraging you to settle into a reliable income stream versus a high-risk, unpredictable investment.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a scary ride. If you know your financial goals, working with a professional accountant or financial advisor is a great way to get on track to maximizing your wealth. Whether you are a child saving for a new bike or a couple looking to purchase a new home, you will find yourself in a much better position financially if you take a good hard look at your finances and start setting aside money now.