Here are eight habits that can help change your financial trajectory:
Set SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed. They should be clear, realistic targets and reviewed regularly. Consider your income level, priorities and current lifestyle and commitments to determine what is viable. Establish a specific plan with hard deadlines. Financial goals provide a framework for investment decisions and can help narrow down your choices. A goal of $10,000 will be easier for most to reach, than say $1 million. Make saving and investing a habit and commit to it for the long-term. Wealthy people spend decades adhering to their financial plans and work closely with their financial advisors to pursue their goals. The key is consistency and planning.
BE DISCIPLINED ABOUT BUDGETING
Be mindful of how you spend your money. When it comes to financial management, a disciplined mindset is critical. Make a habit of saving and budgeting what you spend. Many wealthy people practice frugality as a principal financial habit. This helps them save and invest a much larger percentage of their income. They adhere to the 50/30/20 budget rule: spend 50% on needs and 30% on wants and put 20% toward savings. Make a habit of paying yourself first then invest in different asset classes to get your money to start working for you.
Wealthy people are diligent and patient. They establish personal investment goals and long-term investment strategies before making investment decisions. They make money by taking calculated risks, and they keep the wealth by diversifying their investments and consistently rebalancing their portfolio. Their asset allocation reflects a steady selection of stocks, bonds, funds, private equities and real estate, ensuring ample funding for the future while minimizing risk.
Your outlook determines how you live. Positive thinking allows you to see the possibilities in life and the potential you have inside you. Focus on growth rather than success. Believe that wealth is achievable and take actions towards realizing it.
Read every day. Reading stimulates your mental activity. It strengthens your thinking, improves focus and keeps your mind sharp. It improves your vocabulary and enhances your knowledge. But don’t just read to entertain. Read things that will improve you – career-focused material, personal development books, current events, and biographies. Take online courses or sign up for training sessions. Above all, educate yourself on money matters. Understanding the basics of finance can help build your confidence and gain financial stability. Wealthy people are well-informed about their money – their earnings, what they own and how much their investments cost. They focus not only on earning money, but on growing and protecting it too.
MONITOR INTEREST RATES
Closely track interest rates. Take advantage of market dips to refinance a mortgage to reduce interest expenses. If the opportunity and funds are available, shorten the length of the mortgage to realize significant interest savings. Borrow money to invest in assets that have the potential for a greater return. Otherwise, try to reduce or eliminate all debt. When the rates rise, invest in companies that will do well with higher rates like banks, brokers, tech and healthcare stocks.
BE READY FOR EMERGENCIES
Build a liquid reserve to cover unexpected expenses. Experts suggest three to six months’ worth of living expenses as a baseline, but six to nine months is more ideal if it works for your cash flow. Emergency funds can keep you afloat in a time of need without having to rely on credit cards or high-interest loans. They should be kept in accounts that are immediately accessible and easily liquidated.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH EXPERTS
Build a team of financial superheroes that can preserve, protect and grow your wealth. Wealthy people often have a tax accountant, a wealth manager, a tax attorney, an insurance broker, a real estate broker, and a mortgage banker on their team. Many also have a financial planner to provide education and investment strategies to build a financial portfolio that achieves short- and long-term goals. Who you decide to bring on board will depend on the complexity of your financial situation and your money goals.
- Bessie Bullard