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You’re Burning Your Hard Earned Money If You Do These 8 Things Often

You’re Burning Your Hard Earned Money If You Do These 8 Things Often

Saving money in today’s economy can sometimes feel impossible. Do you often find you earn an okay amount but don’t seem to have enough at the end of the month? Taking a good look at our spending habits and recognising how we use our money can go towards re-evaluating and cultivating a life where we only spend what’s necessary.

8 Daily Habits That Drain Your Money Unknowingly

What can you do to help stay mindful of what you spend your money on? It’s all about adopting habits to help you be aware of how you spend your money but these are common habits we have that drain our money more easily.

You Justify Buying the Cheap Stuff

We think we’re saving money if we opt for the cheaper options but in truth, quality lasts longer. Looking at more expensive options as an investment rather than an unnecessary expense is a better mindset to have but we seldom think like this because in the moment more expensive equals more money.

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Spending money on items that last rather than cheap ones that need replacing more often will save you money in the long run.

You Justify Buying Sale Items

We’re led to believe that buying stuff on sale is saving money. If you’re in a supermarket and what you intend to buy is on sale, then great. But we can get caught up thinking we’re getting a bargain when really we’d never have bought that item in the first place were it not on sale! So curb unnecessary purchases – don’t get sucked in to the sale items and justify buying them because you believe you’re saving money – you’re not.

Your Savings Account is Too Easy to Access

It’s so easy these days to with internet banking, to have easy access to our savings. While your good intentions are slowly piling up in your savings account, if it’s easy to get to, you can sometimes delve into it if you feel you’re down on your money.

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So find savings accounts that aren’t so accessible and can’t be linked to your current account. This will help you think twice about transferring that money if it’s not so easy to do.

You Don’t Wait 30 Days Before Big Purchases

This is a good trick if you’re more of an impulse buyer. Impulse buying can drain our money extremely quickly and we can be very good at justifying why we need an item. If it’s a big purchase then do this 30 day rule before going ahead with it. You’ll be surprised at how much your mind can change in this period and often you’ll realise you probably don’t need to buy it or, even better, find a cheaper alternative in the meantime.

You Don’t Set Realistic Goals

When we set the intention of saving money, we can get lots of big ideas on how to do this but most of the time, although it feels good and productive to set these big goals, you can’t realistically stick to them in the long term. This then begins demotivation. So for example, instead of setting the goal of not eating out in the next month, set a more manageable goal of letting yourself eat out once a week instead of your normal 2 or 3 times.

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You Don’t Write Lists of What You Need Before Shopping (and Stick to It)

This is similar to the impulse buying but more so when we’re food shopping. When you’re hungry, you will buy around 20% more food than if you went on a full stomach. Being purposefully mindful before you leave the house by making strict lists of what you need, will cut down more spending than you realise. Research recipes in advance and stick to only what you’ve written down. If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t make the cut!

You Waste Time Finding Cheap Deals

The emphasis here is on time. We spend so much of our time researching in order to find the best deals and often in these moments the best deals actually pass us by or sell out. Think of time as money too – overthinking and overanalysing can waste you money despite thinking that you’re ultimately saving it.

You Don’t Carve Out Time to Declutter Your House

Decluttering your living space is one of the best things you can do to save money. Not only because you can sell many of your old items and actually make money, but also it transforms the space in your mind as well. Once you realise that you don’t need so many possessions to make you happy, it will shift your mindset and make you more aware of unnecessary spending in the future.

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Cultivating this mindset is what will save you the most money in the long-term and help you to re-evaluate what’s important to you. So adopt the mindfulness of spending your money to create a better way of saving it.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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