Saving more and spending less are often at the top of the New Year’s resolution list – but only 8% of people actually stick to their goals! Financial advisor Brad Allen talks with Milwaukee’s WTMJ-4 about how you can pump up your pocket book and get financially fit.
When you want to get physically fit, you don’t skip certain muscle groups or avoid cardio. You need to take the same approach to getting financially fit – working on all aspects of your money. This often means getting out of debt, saving more and spending less.
Build a Routine
To hit the gym regularly, you need to have a good routine. When getting your finances in order, you need a budget. Make sure you know how much money is coming and going.
Start at a Slow Pace
You can take off in a dead sprint, but you’re going to get tired quickly. Slow and steady wins the race with your finances. If you are trying to save more money, start small by making your lunches at home or skipping your morning trip to the coffee shop.
Hit the Gym Regularly
After the your first trip to the gym, you won’t see big changes. You also won’t see big changes after one week of saving money. You need to think long-term! You should regularly be putting money into an emergency fund to save for the future. A good rule of thumb is to have 3 to 6 months of income on hand in a separate emergency fund.
Burn Off Fat
Fat is the excess weight that is holding us back, much like debt. As a part of your budget, make a plan to pay down your high interest debt. A good plan of action is to keep paying all your debts, but make larger payments on your smallest debt. You will pay down that debt faster.
Don’t wait for the last minute to start planning for retirement. Be sure to take advantage of 401(k) plans offered by your employer or start contributing to an IRA or Roth IRA. If you can, contribute 10-15% of your salary to your retirement account.
Click here for an online Kiplinger budget worksheet.