Just the thought of saving your whole working life for a future that seems far in the future is overwhelming.
But it is a fact that one should save as much as you can afford while earning an income so that you can live comfortably when you retire. It is only by investing during your working years that you will have enough when you eventually stop working.
Quite often a failure to save enough for retirement is because of bad financial habits and misdirected spending without paying off debt.
A recent article by Maria Smit of Brenthurst Wealth Management highlighted 7 bad financial habits that prevent people from true financial freedom.
1. LIVING BEYOND YOUR MEANS
Constantly spending more than you earn means getting further into debt and possible financial trouble. It is tempting to want to keep up with the Joneses next door, but it’s not worth the financial stress that comes with it.
To avoid this, start by creating a budget to track your income and expenditure. This will help you identify areas where you may be overspending and where you can cut back.
2. NOT SAVING MONEY
Failing to save money for emergencies, retirement or other long-term goals can make it difficult to build wealth and achieve financial stability prioritize your savings by making it a habit to regularly save a portion of your income. Start small and gradually increase your savings as you become comfortable. Saving in an investment rather than a bank savings account also makes it more difficult to withdraw the funds when you feel like impulse buying.
3. IMPULSE BUYING
Buying big ticket items on a whim might feel exciting but it is also putting your financial security at stake. Unplanned purchases can easily lead to overspending and accumulation of unnecessary debt. Rather take time to think about whether you really need it or whether it’s just an impulse buy. One way to beat your impulses is to turn off notifications from online shopping platforms that constantly bombard us with deals too good to ignore.
4. NOT BUDGETING
Without creating and following a budget, it’s very difficult to manage your finances effectively and spend within limits. There are many online mobile apps that help you to get a better grip on your finances. Some use your actual spending to track what you are spending money on and can alert you of you if you are overspending. This will help to identify areas where your spending may have been impulsive and where you can cut back.
5. IGNORING DEBT
Debt can be a huge burden if you have fallen behind on payments and can seem like a never-ending spiral that you will never control. But you can and you should. Short term debt usually carries higher interest rates, which is money that should be spent on saving for your retirement. Plan to pay off short term debts as quickly as you can. An example of short-term debit is credit cards. Easy to spend on a credit card but the high interest rates are crippling. Focus on paying off high interest debt first and make sure you pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and additional charges.
6. OVER RELIANCE ON CREDIT CARDS
Relying heavily on credit cards to make ends meet is a major cause for high interest debt burdens. Make it a priority to pay off your credit card balance in full each month to avoid paying interest charges. If you can’t afford to pay off your balance in full, cut back on using your credit card. Find ways to increase your income to settle your debts faster. Bonuses are a good example of extra cash to reduce debt.
7. NOT INVESTING
As already illustrated, paying off debt rather than investing in your retirement is a major cause of financial stress that prevents many from investing for the future. By investing your money in the market, you can take advantage of the power of compounding to grow your wealth over time. Yes, the markets does come with risks as prices rise and fall, but you can ride out volatility if you diversify your portfolio with the help of your Financial Advisor.
Saving for your future is not shrouded in mystery. Being financially aware you can keep short-term finance in check so that your long-term future is secured. Remember it is never too late to start making positive changes to your financial habits. Start small and make it a habit to make good financial decisions every day.