Life is a bit more challenging these days, isn’t it? Our world has been rocked, in big ways and little ways. If you are feeling like a lot of things are out of your control and it is making you uncomfortable, you’re not alone. We recently read a good article about how to deal with uncertainty. You can find it here. The top tip was to “take action over the things you can control.”
That idea really resonates with us as advisors. Why? Because so much about financial planning and investing is out of your control. Quick example: the stock market. That’s definitely out of your control! When we plan for the long haul, there’s a lot we can’t know right now. There’s uncertainty around every corner. But it’s okay. We make the best decisions we can with the information we have, knowing that smart decisions today will lead to good outcomes in the long run.
Focusing on all of the things you can’t control is completely unhelpful. But thinking of the things you can control is energizing and exciting. The list is huge; some items are big, but most are probably small. That’s good news, because life is all about the little things, right? It’s the little things that add up to be big things. Nowhere is that more evident than in your personal financial picture. Over-spending a little here or there ends up making a big pile of debt. On the other hand, saving a little more can make a huge positive difference in the long run.
If you’re not able to make big changes right now, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a few little changes. Try one or all of the following and we know you’ll see a big difference from these little changes.
- Increase your contribution rate to your retirement plan at work. 1% may not sound like much, but it will be when you’re ready to retire, especially if your employer offers a matching program. Like calculators? Try the one Vanguard offers to see how much more you’ll have if you adjust your contribution rate.
- Increase the payment you’re making on your credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, it’s like an anchor keeping you away from financial independence. You can’t afford to only make the minimum payment. Start increasing the amount you are paying on your credit card by however much you can afford, even if it’s only an extra $20 per month.
- Start a Roth IRA. If you qualify, start making a monthly contribution to a Roth IRA. The income in retirement is tax free. If you’re not sure if you qualify, give us a call and we’ll walk you through it.
- Increase your college savings contribution. You’ve heard it over and over again – college is expensive! If it’s important to you that you help your child afford college, you better be saving now since time is one of your biggest assets. Increase your contribution incrementally. Even a $25 per month change makes a difference!
- Start teaching your child about money. Begin a weekly allowance. Help them start making decisions about what to buy based on how much they can afford. Need more ideas? Check out our recent blog post about kids and money!
- Open a high–yield savings account. Did you know that most checking accounts pay either nothing or close to nothing in interest? That means that the money you have saved isn’t growing. It should be. Open a high yield savings account in which to place your emergency money. You can learn more about the accounts here.
Don’t wait another month or another year to make an easy change to improve your financial situation. Do it now! Pick one of these (or all of them). You’ll feel good about making a positive difference now, and you’ll feel even better later!
Andrea L. Blackwelder, CFP®, ChFC, CDFA® and Joseph D. Clemens, CFP®, EA are the founders and partners of Wisdom Wealth Strategies. Their shared passion is simple: to bring financial empowerment, understanding, and peace-of mind to people who wish to improve their financial future, build wealth for their families, and achieve financial independence. Click here to find out more about how you can work with the Denver Financial Advisors at Wisdom Wealth Strategies.