So you’re enjoying life, working a job that gets you decent money, and you’re ready to move forward in life. Maybe you’re someone who takes life “one day at a time,” or perhaps you just “go through the motions” of making money and paying bills in a never-ending cycle. If you’re really ready to move forward in life, there’s one thing you cannot live without, a financial vision.
What is a financial vision?
Most successful business people create visions for their companies. They sit down and ask themselves where they want to be in 5 to 10 years and then build a plan to get there, working backward to ensure they include everything it will take to get there. You can do the same to help get control of your financial future!
In order to gain control of your finances and finally move forward in life, you’ll need to evaluate your priorities and your spending. First, you should ask yourself the following:
- Where do I want to be in 5 years?
- Where do I want to be in 10 years?
- Do I plan on getting married within that time frame?
- Do I plan on owning a home within that time frame?
- Do I plan on having children within that time frame?
- Do I want to retire within that time frame?
All of the above are great milestones in life that require financial planning. Of course, you can always continue to “wing it,” but you may not get very far. Getting married, purchasing a home, having children, retiring, all of those things have one thing in common, THEY AREN’T FREE. You need money for all of it, and that means that the sooner you get control of your finances, the better off you’ll be when the time comes for you to reach one of those great milestones.
Create Your Financial Vision
Now that you’ve answered those questions, you will need to work backward to determine what steps you’ll need to take to get to those milestones. If you want to buy a home in 5 years, for example, you’ll need to determine how much you’ll have to save every month in order to make a down payment (normally a minimum of 20% of the home price) and closing costs. If you want to retire within 10 years, how much will you need to save every year to be able to do that? By determining how much you need to save for a certain amount of time, you’ll be able to manage your finances better and allocate the necessary funds for your future plans.
What if I Spend More Than I Make?
In some instances, you may spend more than you make and you can resolve this issue in one of two ways:
Evaluating Your Expenses and Making Some Sacrifices
Maybe you’re spending money on a gym membership and never going or buying clothes every single month even though you have a closet full of clothes. Or maybe you’re going to the movies and out to dinner on a regular basis. These are things you need to consider and keep your priorities in mind. Making some sacrifices now can greatly benefit you in the long run.
Making More Money
If you are already doing everything you can to avoid frivolous spending and yet you’re still in the negative, you may want to consider getting a second job, doing odd jobs, or doing gigs. Whether it’s walking dogs, being an Uber® driver, or starting a blog, there is absolutely no shame in having to work a little extra to make a little extra. You will surprise yourself with how much money you’ll be able to save by putting away the majority of your “side job” money.
Once you know how much more money you’re able to put aside, take a step back and rework your financial vision plan to include the extra funds. Keep your financial vision and review it often to stay focused on your top priorities.
We’re Here to Help!
If you have questions on budgeting or need assistance getting the most out of your accounts, stop by or give us a call at 800-343-6328.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.