Planning for the future is an overwhelming idea for many people, and they procrastinate their plans due to poor money habits. If you want to plan for the future and build a strong retirement, then you need to break these five habits now:
1. No emergency fund
When there is money in your checking account, then it is easy to get lulled into the idea that the money is available to be spent. If you are spending every dime that you earn, you will find yourself in financial trouble when an emergency arises. The reality is that life will happen and you will need to pay for something unexpected, such as car repairs, medical bills or monthly expenses after getting laid off. Put together an emergency fund to cover these situations so that you can avoid going into debt in an emergency situation. Make sure to keep the emergency fund in a separate account so that you aren't tempted to spend the money on frivolous purchases.
Many people find that they can save money more effectively when they are following a structured budget. Put together a spending plan for each month and make sure that you are proactive to stick to the plan. It is important to be sure that you aren't spending more than your budget allows, or else you will be going into debt each month. In order to stick with the budget, you need to be tracking every transaction to monitor your progress throughout the month.
3. Being lazy
Laziness can lead to decreased income and extra expenses. For example, if you are lazy with your meal preparation, then it means that you will likely be spending more money on take-out and expensive pre-packaged meals. A little bit of effort can save a lot of money in the grocery line item of your budget. Another example is the laziness of leaving work early or missing out on potential earnings opportunities. Though an hour doesn't seem like much, the lost income can really add up over time when you aren't getting paid for those extra hours.
4. Credit Card spending
Getting trapped in the vicious cycle of debt is one of the fastest ways to disrupt your future planning. Don't use credit cards for shopping if you don't have money in the bank to reimburse the credit card. When you carry a balance on the credit card, the interest costs and late fees start to add up. You will pay a lot of money in unneeded fees by spending money and carrying the debt load. If you don't have the money available, then cut up your credit cards to avoid overspending.
If you have been proactive about retirement savings in the past, then you might be tempted to tap into those accounts when you need emergency funds. The problem is that you will pay high tax penalties, which can be quite expensive. Plus, you will be missing out on the interest earnings that are available over the years.
One of the best ways to stay on track to build a strong financial future is by working with an experienced accountant who can help you put together a good plan. Find a trusted financial professional in your area, and you will be able to benefit from the advice and experience they can offer for your family or business financial plan.
Troy Martin is a shareholder at Cook Martin Poulson, a Utah Accounting Firm. He has a vast amount of experience in the following business sectors: medical, dental, manufacturing, retail, restaurants, construction, farming and ranching.