Saving money doesn't have to be a mystery or a puzzle if you understand the principles behind it. While it may feel like a never-ending climb sometimes, it helps to have a plan in place at every age of your life to keep yourself motivated. Before you decide that it's too early (or too late), keep these suggestions in mind if you want to start stockpiling your funds for a better tomorrow.
Try Playing Pretend: 20s
Many people in their 20s aren't able to buy the things they really want, which can make saving money seem like an exercise in frustration. They may be so deep in debt already that they can barely even imagine what it would be like to get their finances straight! But mapping out how much you would need to afford what you want can give you a better idea of how to get from where you are to where you want to be. If you do choose this tactic, try figuring out how you would need to structure your income to meet your financial obligations without endangering your credit score.
Remember Your Retirement: 30s
A little can go a long way when it comes to a retirement fund, so it may help for people in their 30s to consider how they'll fund their lifestyle when they're no longer able to work. Now might be a good time to consider hiring a financial planner to keep track of your accumulated assets, or to start seriously contributing to a 401(k) or IRA. A good way to approach this is by starting slowly. For example, putting any pay increases directly into a retirement account, so you don't have to alter your lifestyle in order to save. You may want to consider the tax implications of saving for retirement. While everyone is different based on their income and assets, there are certain retirement strategies that may help you save more in the long-term.
Emergency Matters: 40s
Increasing your financial cushion in your 40s means you won't have to dip into your retirement savings to pay for a potential catastrophe. You may want to consider diversifying your portfolio as well (though there are drawbacks to diversifying too much). If you happen to own company stock, it's a good time to start monitoring what's happening with it. Fluctuations in a company's portfolio can make it difficult to plan ahead, but those who are attuned to the trends will likely be better equipped to handle a major rise or fall in price. If you happen to have children who are planning to enter college, now might be a good time to consider opening a special college saving account for each one.
There are a lot of people out there who would prefer not to consider their financial situation. This type of aversion usually starts in the 20s and then carries out until a person's formative years. But the best tip a person can get at any age is to just be more cognizant of where their money is and how they're spending it. This type of general awareness can be the key to figuring out where you can tighten up your budget so you can enjoy a better tomorrow. Those who plan ahead are more likely to be able to handle and weather the major financial storms that we're all likely to face at some point in our lives.
Every year of a person's life will bring a new challenge, but there are a few key themes that a person can keep in mind at every decade of their lives. From playing pretend to retirement, these tips can help make an uncertain future look a little brighter.
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