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10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Have to Face Financial Crisis

10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Have to Face Financial Crisis

Samuel Johnson once said, “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.” He couldn’t have been more right. It’s not enough to earn money. It’s equally important to spend and save money wisely. On one hand, we need to spend money to fulfill our needs. On the other hand, if money runs through our hands as soon as we get it, we are in the state of perpetual deprivation and are unable to save anything for the future.

Many of us have to face a point in life at which we are in a terrible financial condition. Your savings could be low, you may have recently (or not-so-recently) lost a job, or you could lose your savings due to battling illness. There are so many possible paths to arrive at that dreadful situation, but we can surely avoid it with proper planning and forethoughts. Below are 10 ways to help you make sure you never have to face a financial crisis.

1. Maximize your liquid savings.

Liquid assets such as cash in hand, cash in currents, saving and money market accounts, and certificates of deposit are our most important financial assets to ensure financial safety. The value of these assets doesn’t fluctuate with market conditions, unlike stocks and index funds, and we can have them at our disposal any time we want, without any financial loss. Maximize your liquid savings. It’s very important to not invest in stocks or other higher-risk investments until you possess several months’ worth of liquid cash.

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2. Keep record of all your earnings and expenses.

The principal reason people face a personal financial crisis isn’t that they do not earn enough but that they don’t save enough. It’s easy to advise someone to save, but equally difficult to actually save something on your own. However, much of the trouble can be spared by keeping a record of all of your earnings as well as expenses. Keeping track of money coming in and going out will help you know if you are overspending or living within limited means. This will help adjust your expenses to align with your income.

3. Prepare your monthly budget and live by it.

When there is no bar set for tour expenses, you are more likely to end up overspending. Monthly budgets prepared at the end of the previous month can help you balance your finances. Prepare a well-organized monthly budget clearly specifying the budget for food, rent, recreation and so on. But remember, there’s no point in making rules if you can’t live by them. You also need to live by your monthly budget allocation if you want to ensure sound financial health besides setting it.

4. Keep your possessions in good condition.

Keeping your possessions in good condition is another effective way to avoid financial crisis. Keep everything you possess, from your car and household utensils to electrical and electronic appliances, in proper working condition. It costs much less for routine maintenance compared to the price you have to pay when they stop working completely, either to replace them or while repairing them. Investing small amounts to keep your possessions working will reap greater rewards in the long run, as money not spent is also money earned.

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5. Stay healthy.

Just as routine maintenance of household appliances helps to save significant amounts of money, maintaining your body also helps the cause. Most often we visit doctors only when the problems we’re facing have become severe. This traumatizes the body and requires significantly higher medical costs. With regular exercises and healthy habits, along with frequent medical checkups, you can pretty much avoid the possibility of major financial setback on the back of substantial illness.

6. Pay off your debts on time.

The best advice would be to never take any debt. But it doesn’t mean that your financial condition is doomed forever if you have taken debts. The first concern of any debtor should be to pay off all debts in full. Having existing debts doesn’t only distress our brains continuously, but also means that we can’t afford further debts, which would be necessary in the face of the adversities. So plan wisely and allocate a portion of your monthly budget to pay off the debts.

7. Safeguard against job loss.

Losing a job is the major event that leads a person to financial crisis. With the loss of job, a person doesn’t have any money to use, particularly if the person has never spared any thoughts for saving before. Safeguarding oneself against potential job loss is a chief way to avoid financial crisis. This could be done via unemployment insurance from your office or the purchase of a private unemployment insurance on your own. You can also find an alternative source of income besides your primary job.

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8. Save a portion of your earnings every month.

Saving shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury, something that you do when you feel like it. You should cultivate it as a habit. There’s no better way to save than putting away a certain amount of your earnings every month. The popular 50/20/30 rule suggests you allocate 20% of your monthly earnings for things like debt payments, retirement funds and savings. If you’re not in any debt as of now, saving 20% of your monthly income would be a wise idea. However, even if you’re in debt, save at least 10% of your earnings, as you need liquid cash in hand in case anything serious happens in future.

9. Try to minimize your monthly bills.

Just because you earn enough and are not facing any financial setback as of now doesn’t mean that the case will be the same forever. Try to minimize your monthly bills before the alarm bell rings. The focus for minimizing the monthly bills should be on cutting out unnecessary expenses as soon as possible. Look over your expenses and find out possible ways to deduct them. You could be turning on your heater or air conditioner even when you’re not home. Simply turning those appliances off when you’re not home will help reduce energy bills and thus, the monthly bills, significantly.

10. Spend wisely.

“Every penny saved is a penny earned.” You won’t be financially secure all the time, unless you are wise enough to spend wisely. Spending wisely is an art in itself. There are several techniques to spend wisely. One is to abstain from buying things you are hardly going to use. The other could be to compare prices amongst multiple vendors and go for the best deal. This could even mean spending money as an investment for the future, as the money you spend today could generate you further capitals tomorrow.

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Featured photo credit: money career upstairs/Anatoly Tiplyashin via fotolia.com

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Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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