Are you ready to declare your financial independence this fourth of July? For many people, they are simply getting by. They are living paycheck to paycheck, barely making their debt payments, and don’t have a retirement plan or emergency fund. The good news is that you can declare your financial independence, save for unforeseen expenses, and prepare for your retirement with some help from these resources below.
1. Life Goals
Jot down how much money (assets and income) you need to pay for the lifestyle you want. Include the year when you want to achieve your goals and whether or for how long you will need to pay for those goals. The more specific your objectives, the more likely you are to make them a reality. Then, count backward to your present age and establish financial mileposts at regular intervals. These might include certain dollar amounts saved or assets acquired.
2. Budget Planning
Any good financial plan involves creating a budget. Take a look at all your household bills and expenses, including your subscription services. We recommend creating a spreadsheet of all your current bills. Then, in a separate column list all your income sources. Next cut unneeded or frivolous expenses.
Next, determine if you are earning more than you spend? If you’re not earning more than you spend each month, it may be a good idea to find some additional income sources, like gig work, a part-time side job, or a better-paying job. After all, you can’t save if you’re spending every dime you earn.
3. Pay your Debts
Debt can be a necessary part of life. You need loans for homes and cars, and credit cards can help bridge the gap for sudden expenses prior to having your emergency fund. However, at some point, it’s time to get rid of debt. Take a long look at all your debts. You can even add a column for debts on your spreadsheet. How much do you owe? Determine the highest and lowest balances and the highest and lowest interest rates. Some people like to start by paying off their smallest loans, which can result in a quick feeling of accomplishment, or the highest interest rate cards, which can save money in the long term.
Another option is to look at debt-relief options, like debt settlement. If you’re completely overwhelmed with your debts and making your minimum monthly payments is becoming impossible, Century can help. Our Debt Specialists offer a free debt evaluation and customization of debt relief program that fits your situation. The goal of the program is to support you in your journey toward better financial health
Pay yourself first. That is a standard recommendation from financial experts. If your employer offers a 401K retirement plan, make full usage of any matching contribution benefit. It is likewise an excellent idea to have an automated deposit from your employer into an emergency fund (or an automated transfer from your checking) that can be tapped for unanticipated expenditures. Additionally, consider an automated contribution to a brokerage for an Individual Retirement Account.
Regardless, keep in mind that the suggested quantity to save is widely debated, and the suitability of such a fund is sometimes even in question given certain circumstances.
Taking good care of your home and your possessions makes everything from automobiles and lawnmowers to shoes and clothing last longer. Imagine if you did not have to buy clothing and shoes as often as you do. You could hold on to your car longer, spending less in the process. Maintenance is the key to saving money.
Many Americans are reluctant to negotiate for purchases and services, believing it makes them appear cheap. Many from other countries would recommend Americans conquer this cultural handicap. You might save thousands of dollars each year. Smaller merchants, in particular, tend to be open to negotiation. Purchasing in bulk or with repeated transactions can open the door to good discounts.
Your likelihood of achieving financial freedom increase dramatically if you can save money, control your credit and minimize your debt. You will be better able to provide for your family and yourself, not to mention the awesome feeling of being debt-free.
Consider sharing what you’ve learned so that others can take steps to enjoy financial independence. You can also start helping your younger relatives (i.e. nieces, nephews, and grandchildren), by adding to a 529 college savings account and helping pay for extracurricular activities, to support them in broadening their knowledge and start out their adult lives with as little debt as possible.