1. You don’t have an emergency fund.
This is the first thing you need to get started on. You’re looking at 6 months of expenses set aside for whatever happens, And, when you have to spend some of your “rainy day fund” you will need to build it back up,
2. You can barely pay all your bills each month.
Here, you two options (you know what’s coming). You have to either make more money or spend less. A quick tip on how to spend less is don’t sweat the small stuff. Look at reducing your largest costs like rent or transportation.
3. You tell yourself that you’re going to start saving when you make more money.
This is a common “money lie” we like to tell ourselves. Don’t wait. Think of saving as a fixed cost just like your utility bills. Set-up an automatic draft from your checking into a savings account.
4. You haven’t even started for retirement.
You are unfortunately like over 33% of Americans who haven’t saved anything.3 First, decide on what is important to you and what you want your future to look like. Then, figure out how much you would need to set aside for that vision of the future. It may be hard to believe, but a 20-year old that puts aside $60 per month can be a millionaire by the age of 65.
5. You haven’t started to invest.
If you feel like you don't have any money to invest, you aren't saving enough. The only way you can start building some wealth is harnessing the power of compound interest. There are some very inexpensive ways to invest like index mutual funds which will allow you to take advantage of the markets.
6. You spend more than 40% of your income on housing.
The Federal Housing Association (FHA) said that a good rule of thumb is 29% of your gross income on housing expenses.5 Don’t forget to add in Homeowners Association fees, and landscaping maintenance fee for the neighborhood. If those “incidentals” take the cost to over 40% of income, then you need to just say no. Consider downsizing your expectations. You can live larger in a small house.
7. You make a big salary, and at the end of the day you have nothing to show for it.
Earning a lot of money doesn’t make you rich. You still have to save and invest if you want to accumulate wealth.
So, how did you do? If you couldn’t pass three you’re in a whole lot of trouble. If you could say that you’re doing four things for saving, then there’s some hope for you yet. It’s never too late to get started.
1 Business Insider, February 10, 2014, Jenna Goudreau. “35 Things You Can Do Right Away To Start Spending Less Money.”
2 Real Money Answers for Every Woman by Patrice C. Washington. Published by HarperCollins, 1/19/16.
3 From a survey conducted by the website http://www.gobankingrates.com/ published March 14,2016. Article written by Ali Branch.
4 From an interview with John Paul Mitchell on December 18,2015 from the website Business Insider.
5 The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. Published by Broadway Books, December 27, 2005.