It’s never too late to improve your money management skills. Here are some tips for seniors, to help you get (and stay) in good financial shape.
Always Save ~
Having and following a savings plan can help you to meet your financial goals and provide security. Each time you receive a payment, set aside a percentage of it as savings. Ten percent is a good goal if you’re able to start in your twenties or thirties, but you can’t go back in time. Even if you’re over 50, and still working, you can catch up a lagging retirement plan. Make savings the first ‘bill’ you pay to yourself each payday.
Use Autopay ~
This handy service can help you get bills paid on time, but it’s even more valuable for helping you managing your savings. Talk to your bank. They can help you can set up an automatic investment system that deducts a certain amount (or a percentage) of each payment received.
Keep Track of your Spending ~
You can save more effective;y if you can see where you’re spending. Start by keeping a money dairy. Try writing down where you spend every dollar over the next month. You may be surprised to see what you’re really spending the most money on. Day to day, those little things add up. Looking at a whole month at once, you may be able to see a pattern of things that you could reduce spending on, and funnel that money into savings instead.
Make a budget ~
Once you know how much you’re spending, and what it’s being spent on, sit down and make yourself a written budget. And then commit to staying within it! This is the most effective way to make sure you’re only spending what you plan to, so that you’ll have money available for savings and still be able to buy the things you need now. Continue with your money diary for a few months, and review it against your budget at the end of each month. It may take you a few months to tweak a budget plan to work the best for you. Stick with it; it works!
Reduce your Debts ~
Although it may seem contrary to use money to pay off debt, it’s actually helping you in the long run. Debt with interest cost you extra money to maintain. Once you pay off debt, the money that would have been going to interest can go to savings instead. Whenever possible, pay with cash, to avoid running up additional debt, and losing more of your potential savings to interest charges.
Plan Ahead ~
If you’re still quite a few years from retirement, consider talking to a professional about investments. An advisor can help you make sure that you’re contributing the best amounts to things such as 401k plans and help you plan to avoid tax penalties for certain kinds of savings.
Keep Good Records ~
Save yourself time at tax time, and keep from missing any deductions, by keeping your financial records organized. Be sure to save your receipts, your canceled checks, your pay stubs, your banking and investment statements, and any proof of other deduction that you may want to claim. Remember, any money that doesn’t go to taxes, can go towards your savings.
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