Published by Teresa Milner
Living in the fast-paced world that we’ve become accustomed to, it’s easy to get sidetracked with all that’s going on around us. What’s important and not urgent? What’s important and urgent? What’s urgent but not important? What’s not urgent and not important?
Setting goals for yourself can help you maximize your potential in many areas of your life, and they nearly always have a positive impact on your overall health. Similarly, setting financial goals will do wonders for your financial health. Establishing and maintaining effective money habits will move you along your way to financial freedom. I’m not saying money can buy happiness, but knowing where your money goes and what it’s doing for you can certainly have a positive impact on your life. Don’t let your finances be in control. Instead, practice the following money habits in order to get control over your money and build your own wealth:
- MOST IMPORTANT – SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN. Live within (or below) your means. You’ll never get ahead if more money goes out than comes in. Keep track of where your money goes for a month via use of a journal. It really helps to actually “see” where your money is going.
- PAY YOURSELF FIRST – The key to successful saving is by doing it first – then spend your left over money. Have money taken out of your paycheck before it ever hits your checking account. Aim to save 10-20%. If building up to a higher saving percentage is what you need to do, accomplish this over time. For example: start by saving 10% and after a month or two, raise it to 11%, then after another month or 2, raise it another percentage. You’ll find that you don’t even notice the difference in your “paycheck” but you will notice a BIG difference in your savings!!
- HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND – Now this can be different for everyone. Start small by savings at least a month’s worth of expenses, and work your way up to more. An emergency fund will help you avoid debt and give you a reserve to draw from. I often refer to my emergency fund as my Sleep Well at Night account.
- FOLLOW A BUDGET – And include in your budget extra expenses. I suggest adding in an additional 10% when determining your budget number.
- GIVE – If you can fit “giving” into your budget, you’ll be blessed as well as the ones you give to.
- MANAGE YOUR RISKS – In other words, insure against losses. Medical debit is a very common cause of financial hardships, so have health insurance. Home and auto insurance are also necessities. Life insurance, depending on where you’re at in your life journey, is vital to protecting your loved ones. Work with a professional you trust in order to determine the amount and type of life insurance that will protect your situation. There are so many types of insurance available to you, so be wise in deciding what losses you feel you’re most at risk with.
- SET FINANCIAL GOALS – Know and define what you want to accomplish. Take the time to clearly define your financial goals and adjust them as life happens. Write them down, and then review them on a regular basis. Identify the steps you will need to take to pursue your goals. I like to make my goals SMART – in other words: S, specific; M, measurable; A, attainable; R, Reasonable; T, Trackable.
- CHECK YOUR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS – Some accounts could be checked daily, i.e.; your checking account and credit cards. Review any loan statements when you make your payment – know what interest you’re paying and the amount of your payment that is going to principal versus interest. If tracking your money through an app works for you, they’re available for your use. Retirement accounts and investments don’t require review as often, but review them as often as what makes you comfortable.
- REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW – Always set aside time to check on your progress. Over time, the above will become daily habits for you, and you’ll be able to visualize the happiness from your financial health!
So back to my title – Lasting Happiness… Who is it for? Why can’t it be for you and the lives you touch. Make one of your goals to become financially responsible. Develop daily habits that will impact your future for the positive.