It seems that people are largely controlled by emotion and circumstance. Some things we feel we can control and some things we obviously cannot. You can’t truly control how long you will live. About every 100 years we have an entirely new population.
If you don’t believe your emotions are controlled by circumstances, just let something happen to a family member, lose your job or have a health issue that changes the way you feel about money and the future.
This blog is about personal finance and protecting yourself in an unpredictable future and economy. We focus on encouraging everyone who reads us to develop their own plan to boost savings and grow wealth.
I keep a list of things that I know are true. Near the top of that list is this: Good things and bad things will happen to everyone. This is very true in personal finance and family budget, but you know that.
So, how can we be happy?
Start by knowing you cannot control a lot of experiences you will have in your life. I’m not sure we would be happy if we could control events and experiences. Look at a lot of rich people who seem self-destructive.
Take things one day at a time. To do this effectively, you should think about reducing the things that overwhelm you to percentages. A lot of people get overwhelmed when thinking about saving money for short and long-term goals. When people are overwhelmed, they tend to get more emotional and either make mistakes or shut down. This rarely works to their favor.
We encourage you to reduce this personal finance “work” of saving short and long-term to percentages so you may reduce the emotion and give yourself a strategy that you know will work over time. In fact, you can prove it to yourself in the next three (3) months.
Let’s look at your job.
Everyone has a boss. Maybe you have a good one. Maybe you don’t. If you have a good one, you are lucky. If you have a bad boss, it can make your life miserable unless you use a correct strategy to redefine your bosses’ role in your life. If you have become stressed by your work, your boss or the economy in general, using percentages can help you overcome the stress and feel better about your work life and your personal finances.
Are you ready?
We recommend setting a path – beginning today – to grow your emergency savings fund until it reaches the proper size for today’s economy. Before we talk about how much money that is, let me be specific with you that the amount of money this represents is not important. We are going to give you a way to generate the “amount of money” by using percentages and the overall number will change the way you approach your job, your boss and the stress in your life when you have achieved this goal.
What is the proper emergency savings fund in 2010? 15 to 18 months of your expenses in money market savings and certificates of deposit.
Over the next three (3) months, we want you to try our “1% Savings” strategy. It starts like this: The next time you get paid, take the after tax amount you receive and multiply that number (down to the penny) by .01. Take the answer to that question and put that amount of money in savings before you pay any bill.
That represents 1% of your pay. You can likely easily take 1% away from your payday and send it off to savings.
The next time you get paid, change the .01 to .02 and multiply your after tax pay by that amount. Put that amount in savings before you pay any bill.
You will want to repeat this by adjusting UP .01 each time you get paid. This allows you to launch a regular savings program without killing your lifestyle. Each time you get paid, you will adjust up. After three (3) months, you should be able to see that you have moved your savings to about 6% of your pay without creating harm to your lifestyle. The key is to do this every time and increase it slowly (1%) with each paycheck.
If you are encouraged by your savings growth, continue to add .01 to what you are saving in each paycheck until you reach 15%. At this point, you will have established a good range of savings on average. You will be using percentages instead of emotion to grow savings and give you more confidence about personal finance.
PAYING YOURSELF FIRST
If you can afford it, think of paying yourself a fee for what you do to manage your personal finances, pay bills and do the “work” of your everyday life because paying yourself for this work will help you build an overall strategy when it comes to money that will allow you to add to your savings.
We generally tell people that your checking account is a money laundering account for other people’s money. You want to lose money? Keep your money in checking. It will leak out and leave you scratching your head at the end of the month.
Don’t do it. Use any excuse to move money from checking to savings.
We’ve all heard it. Slow and steady wins the race. It is true.
Control your emotions by using percentages. Use percentages to grow savings and concentrate on controlling your overall plan – not what is happening today. Don’t focus on if you can save big dollars. Forget about that. Focus on regular and steady savings from each paycheck by percentage and using any excuse you can give yourself to take money from checking to savings.
Let’s let your money stay your money.
People focus too much on what they earn (pay) and not enough on saving a percentage of what you earn.
If you focus on percentages, you will end up with 15 to 18 months of expenses in emergency savings. And how will you feel about that crappy boss then?
You can do this. Get started with your next paycheck and watch your mood get happy.
HELPING YOUR KIDS GET AHEAD
If you think I was born saving money, you are wrong. My own family didn’t believe in saving. They don’t believe in having a 401k. They have had “emergencies” all their lives. These emergencies always get in the way of saving money regularly. I was not brought up to save and invest regularly and I have made every mistake you can think about when it comes to money. My parents thought they were shielding me from the realities of bills and worry. In fact, they were isolating me. I learned nothing until I had made many of the mistakes they made. I have had to learn the absolute hard way how to get savings on track and make it a part of your life without killing your lifestyle. I have had to learn the hard way how companies mislead with marketing. It is my mission to share what I have learned about regularly saving with my own children and also share it with you. That’s why we have a lot of “free” (blogs like http://www.boostmywealth.wordpress.com and http://www.stickyasset.com/blog and groups on Facebook like “Coupons & Coupon Codes”)!
In this country we don’t do enough to teach our children about money, managing money, saving regularly (and automatically), compound interest and steady investing for a long-term future. As a parent, we are always concerned that they get a good education and go to a good college so they can make a lot of money or have a valued career path. The truth is that we could do our children the biggest favor and one of the best things by sharing with them sound saving and investing principles.
You can join our free Facebook group (or have your children do it, too) by searching in the Facebook bar on your “wall” for “Live The Lifestyle Your Family Deserves.” Click on “become a fan.” It’s free and it ties our free blogs into that group.
If you want to give your children the same information we are giving ours, you can purchase the only thing we sell on any of our blogs or groups. It’s called “How To Survive Any Financial Crisis” and you can get it for only $4.95 at http://www.middleclassmoney.com.
Thank you for reading our blog and good luck!
Connect with us on Facebook with these free groups:
“Coupons & Coupon Codes”
“Live The Lifestyle Your Family Deserves”
“The Money Store”
All on Facebook – join. It’s free.