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How To Start Saving Money
Most of us were taught the importance of saving money when we were kids. You may remember your parents or favorite aunts or uncles urging you to keep coins in a piggy bank or some of your Christmas and birthday money in a bank savings account.
Sadly, for most of us those lessons were the first to be left behind as we grew taller and, supposedly, smarter.
No one knows exactly why this happens.
If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because, for most of us, the sudden financial pressures and insidious marketing messages of adulthood have made us forget those early, oh-so-valuable lessons. People who get caught up in the dictates of extreme consumerism never come to their senses until near retirement. By then it is too late to remedy the situation.
But such a tragedy does not befall you.
Chances are good you stopped here because you’re eager to learn serious ways to save money.
If so, I’m not waiting for you. Here are three strategies you can implement into your life immediately:
1. Remind yourself that you are just as important as everyone else;
2. Understand the true power of compound interest; And
3. Unleash the power of goal-setting in this important area of life.
1. Remind yourself that you are just as important as everyone else
The reason most of us never get serious about starting a savings program is because we harbor a dangerously mixed set of priorities. What most of us tell ourselves: “I’ll pay all my bills first, and then see what I have left to save at the end of the month.”
Because our months outlast our money, this particularly popular approach is an effective recipe for lifelong poverty.
If you work for your money – as many of us do – do you deserve to pay yourself first, or at least second, depending on your religious beliefs?
By deciding to set aside a chunk of change for yourself first, you’re sending a message to the universe. One is bold, simple and clear:
“I value myself. That’s why I pay myself more than others. It gives me control over my financial destiny.”
2. Understand the true power of compound interest
Many books suggest that we set aside 10% of our earnings. I think the real financial heavyweights should aim much higher. In fact, in my own financial planning practice in Malaysia, I try to motivate my clients to gradually expand their skill set so that they can earn more money. At the same time, I urge them to set a personal goal of achieving a 40% to 50% savings and investment rate in the next ten or twelve years.
That may sound extreme to you. And this is certainly by the standards of today’s consumer oriented society.
So, relax! What’s more important than setting such lofty ultimate savings goals is that you simply decide to start today.
Given enough time, even small sums invested in low-yielding financial instruments can grow to staggering proportions. Here is an eye-opening example.
Did you know that if you could put aside 1 cent in a modest savings instrument that was yielding only 2% annually at the time of Jesus Christ’s birth in Bethlehem around 4 BC, you would have more than $1,900 trillion today?
This amount would make you 40,000 times richer than Bill Gates – the richest person on the planet at the time of this writing.
Of course, you don’t have 2,010 years or so to save, but chances are you have just over 1 percent to set aside today as seed money, right?
So, get started.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget the primary lesson we all learned as children: We must learn to crawl before we can run. Learn to save before you try to invest or, even scarier, gamble.
3. Unleash the power of goal-setting in this important area of life
If we are not serious about establishing a personal wealth building plan, we can be sure that we will become pawns of someone else’s personal plan to get rich at our expense.
Learn to set challenging and motivating goals to help motivate yourself to begin your personal journey to financial freedom.
This beginning is no more sophisticated than deciding in your heart that your worth is great, and that you deserve to save money for yourself.
I suggest you start your personal savings program in something safe and uncomplicated like a bank account or money market fund.
Focus more on slowly increasing your personal savings rate rather than reaching for income – or more.
If these three simple pointers have inspired you to start a personal savings program or get more serious about one you already have, I’d be delighted.
I wish you the best in your personal quest for financial freedom.
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