Taking Control of your Finances
To find money to invest for your retirement, you need to take control of your finances and make sure that your outgoing expenses are less than the income that you are bringing in. You need to create some excess that you can have free to invest.
Now before you start to think….”well I don’t have any excess left…if I was earning more money….then I would have some free”. Let me dispel this myth…and tell you that it is a known and excepted fact that the amount of money that people earn has little if any bearing on whether or not they have an excess left to invest. The only way to create an excess it to spend less than you earn, instead of spending all that you earn.
Even doctors and lawyers, who earn well over $100,000.00 per year, often end up at retirement with little more Net Worth than factory or office workers.
Net Worth is calculated by deducting the value of all the liabilities or loans you have from the income-producing assets owned to give you the net value of your income-producing assets.
Why aren’t high-income earners retiring wealthy?
Why don’t they end up with a greater Net Worth than someone on a low income? It is quite simple. Human nature seems to dictate that whatever anyone earns….they spend….some even spend more than they earn and charge it on their credit card.
The higher your income grows…the more you spend and the only way to get out of this cycle is to realize that it is happening, and make a concerted effort to reverse this habit….and to begin reducing your expenditures so that you can free up money to invest.
The best way to do this, is to try the 10/90 plan. This plan simply means that as soon as you receive your pay….you put aside 10% of it for investment….and then use the other 90% to live off of. Put aside the 10%, and then pay all the bills and do the grocery shopping….and then after that whatever is left over you can spend.
Most people do it the wrong way around…they pay the bills, do the shopping and spend what is left over, never leaving any left to save or invest. By taking the investment money out first you will alleviate the temptation to spend it.
You need to take control of your finances.
One of the best ways to start having more control over your money is to find out where it has all been going, and then amend your spending habits to allow you to live within the 10/90 plan.
If you write down a list of your monthly net income, then in another column write down a list of the essential items that you have to spend money on. You should be able to work out an average for telephone, gas, electricity, insurances and rates, from your previous bills. Work out an average of how much is spent on grocery shopping and petrol. If there are any other necessary utilities include them as well. Then deduct the second column from the first – and this will give you the maximum potential savings for each month.
It can be quite startling how high this figure can be and make you wonder where all the extra money went.
Another good learning experience is to simply write down for a fortnight every dollar spent and write next to it what it was for. You will soon find that there are a lot of unnecessary expenses, often caused by impulse buying, where you have spent money on items that you neither needed or really wanted, and could easily have gone without.
When you can begin to recognize these areas, and start to consider whether or not you are spending your money wisely, before you hand it over, then you will be beginning to take control over your money and are well on the way to embarking on your investment journey, which will enable you to have a financially secure future for you and your children.