For many, the current economic environment continues to make it difficult to make ends meet. Many of us have readjusted our spending habits, and we may no longer shop as much as or where we used to - we may settle for a staycation, rather than a true getaway - and items that were previously considered to be necessities have been relegated to the “can’t afford” or “not needed” category.
Unfortunately, many economic analysts feel that these shifting attitudes are here to stay.
Here are five tips to help you take stock of your overall economic picture, with actionable steps designed to help improve your long-term financial security:
Determine what is really important.
Take stock of what is really important to you (and your family)—is the newest electronic game system or cell phone more important than creating a secure financial future?
Start by developing a mission statement. This is easier than it sounds: Simply write out what’s important to you. Be sure to include what your long- and short-term goals are, and what you’re willing to give up in order to make these goals a reality.
Cut back, even if it hurts (a little)
Figuring out what is most important from a financial perspective is a smart move – and a good decision for your long-term financial security. Making even small sacrifices in your spending can help you meet your goals. Look carefully at how you spend your money so you can identify where you can make small changes to cut back on non-essential spending. And don’t overlook the bigger-ticket items you pay for every month, such as your cable TV/Internet subscriptions and car insurance. Making minor adjustments to these items can free up more dollars than you might imagine, and play a significant role in helping you fund your long-term financial goals.
Become a dedicated saver
Successful savers use the concept of paying themselves first whenever they receive a paycheck. Over time, adopting that one smart move can help you reach your financial goal of saving for a car, new music equipment, or tour funds. To help make it easier, check to see if you can have part of your income automatically deposited into one or more savings accounts. It can make saving automatic - and nearly painless.
Run your numbers
Do you know if you are on track with your current disability coverage, life insurance, and retirement savings plan(s)? In other words, will these important items provide you with the amount of financial protection you’ll need – when needed? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take the time now to assess their adequacy and make the appropriate adjustments.
Get the help you need
When it comes to these tips, you might feel you need some help. Whether you need help in just one area or all four, start looking at your future through a new lens – one that has your financial goals in focus, with a plan to help you get there. Contact a financial professional to discuss ways they can help you put these tips into action - and your financial dreams on track.
Taking the right steps today can help to ensure a better financial future for both you, your loved ones, and, ultimately, your career.
Provided by Shawn Kilmurray, a financial representative with Fortis Lux Financial, courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). California insurance license number: 0L72749