Dreaming of owning a big house, nice car and a boat? Or just having enough cash to be comfortable?
Here are 10 signs that you are not (yet) on the path to financial freedom.
You don’t think about ways to make extra money
If you are paid a salary and nothing more, you are limited in the ways you can get ahead. The only way to save is to spend less. But if you switch it up and start to look for ways to earn more, your horizons open up. Most of the world’s super wealthy have more than one income stream – some of which are usually passive, requiring no regular input. This could be something such as rental income from an investment property or the sale of a product such as an ebook. Add in some sensible savings habits and you will be on your way.
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You leave your savings in a savings account
If you stick your cash in a savings account, it is basically doing nothing. You are better to look at ways to put that money to work. You could put it in a managed fund, buy shares or even lend it out via a peer-to-peer platform, to get a better return. Make sure you get good advice to understand what you are doing.
You borrow to buy
Borrowing to buy a house is fine. Borrowing to buy a car is (generally) not. If you are putting all your purchases on finance or credit card and paying them off with high rates of interest, you are pouring money down the drain. Live within your means if you want to get rich.
You don’t know where your money goes
The first step to getting on the right track is to have a clear idea of what you’re spending money on. If you don’t know, chances are you’re wasting it. Have a look through your recent bank statements, draw up a budget. Stamp out some discretionary spending and you’ll have more of that money to put to work that we mentioned earlier.
You’re putting off planning for your retirement.
If you think you are too young to have to worry about the future, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. When you are working towards a long-term financial goal, such as retirement, time is a huge asset to have on your side. The power of compounding means that any returns you make in a vehicle such as your KiwiSaver account then attract their own returns, over and over each year until you withdraw the money. The later you start saving, the more of that compounding power you miss.
You hate risk
It is great to be careful with your money but if you never take a risk, you miss out on returns. Over the long term, the biggest gains are usually from riskier investments, such as equities. You may also find ways to wealth by getting out of your comfort zone. Quitting your job and starting a new business is risky and scary, but could pay off if you have planned it well and know your stuff.
You don’t have a plan
If you don’t know how you’re going to get rich, it probably isn’t going to happen. Write down your goals. What do you want to achieve this week, month and year? What about in 10 years? If you can, identify someone who is in a position you’d like to get to and find out what they did to get there. Work out what you need to do to follow suit and break it down into small, achievable steps.
You don’t pay yourself first
If you have decided to save money and think you’ll just put aside everything that is left in your account at the end of the month, you will be horribly disappointed. This method almost always fails because there is invariably nothing left. Pay yourself first. Using your budget and plan, put aside the amount that you have worked out you can afford to save as soon as you get paid, and then live off the rest.
You think you’re bad with money
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you are bad with money, you won’t pay any attention to your finances and they will get out of control. Stop thinking money is some sort of secret club that you could not possibly understand. Everyone can get a handle on it.
You don’t know the basics
But having said that, it’s important to get a good knowledge of the basic stuff. If you are not clear how your credit card works, or how your mortgage interest is calculated, get someone to help you break it down and bust the jargon. Websites such as Sorted have good tools or you can seek financial advice from your bank or an adviser.