Most of us can agree on one main goal for 2020: to make life easier and easier.
But is it really necessary to be stressful and easy to work with? Or is there an easy way to get there?
After all, behavioral economists have proven it: the best financial decisions are those who are thought ahead and then automated. If your bills are deducted from Autopay, your bill will never be late. Your credit score increases. You never pay late fees. If your strong 401 (k) contribution is automatically deducted from your paycheck for 30 years, you will receive a millionaire when you retire. The funny thing is: if you keep saving for your future, you almost never miss the money. One day the main reward outweighs the little victim.
So don’t just make a solution in 2020, but start looking for all the expenses that can be automated. Once you have done the task, one thing leads to the next and you will find that you enjoy it. The big Zig Ziglar once said: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to begin to be great. “How true.
Money management boils down to a hierarchy of needs. In retirement, sufficient income is at the top of your “must-have” list. But what about unexpected surprises and emergencies?
For your plan to be successful, you first need to set up an emergency fund. It doesn’t have to be an astronomical crowd, but it should be large enough to handle most emergencies and surprises. It might feel like a waste of money if you put it aside, but it isn’t. There is a reason for an emergency fund: it’s called life. You have a job one day, not the next. This is not only a surprise, it is also an emergency.
In this case, three to six months of your salary would be really useful. This is what you should have on hand at all times in a secure, non-dedicated liquidity account. We should all expect to be surprised by life and be prepared for a few things to go wrong. If you have the money to deal with the surprise directly, it won’t become an emergency.
When American Express asked people what specific expenses were pushing their budgets, they generally didn’t talk about unexpected catastrophes. Instead, they talked about predictable expenses. Around 46 percent said spending on cars had overstretched their budget. Should that really be a problem? After all, you KNOW that you have car costs, especially if you pay off your car and keep it for more than five years. Things are wearing out. You can plan problems by putting money aside or buying a guarantee. No sweat.
The other category for a huge unexpected effort was healthcare. Around 44 percent of those surveyed experienced this. A large deductible after surgery is definitely a budget buster. It can be both an emergency and a surprise. What causes the emergency is the wrong health insurance in the wrong amount. Your emergency fund may never be as large as experts suggest, but the key is a healthy sum to protect yourself from an emergency.
Here’s how: Store a regular amount for your emergency credit on a separate savings account. Let it build up. Set aside a regular amount for upcoming expenses. Let it build up. This car repair will happen – it’s no surprise, it’s a just life. Set aside some dough for this.
The best advice: get a comprehensive picture of your annual expenses so that you are not surprised. Use an online calendar to determine when insurance payments are due. Find out what these payments would cost if you had to make one payment each month. You have to save that much. Get rid of your monthly expenses for unnecessary subscriptions, gifts and impulse purchases (i.e., spend less time on Amazon).
Use this money to build up your emergency money – you will never miss it.
Be honest: life costs money. One day you will have an issue that is a really critical, urgent need. And as my mother used to say, Santa Claus won’t tell about it. It may be a LIFE surprise, but it shouldn’t be a MONEY emergency. Plan to always have your special fund within reach – instead of having a credit card that will ruin or burden your financial life.
Also make sure that your financial plan suits you. A good financial plan creates the feeling of freedom. IQ Wealth Smarter Bucketing’s strategy is one such plan: you always have the money you need for emergencies, travel and paying bills. Your retirement income exceeds your expenses, and your dividends keep rolling like blue chip companies. You can also include a low-cost, high-income pension to keep your income stable and secure for life. This is a plan that is easy to start.
So don’t worry about finding a solution now. Just choose to reduce worry in 2020. How? By pressing the “EASY BUTTON” and getting your financial plan up and running like a clock.
Steve Jurich is a financial planner and retirement strategist in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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