Part of my early-Monday-news scan this week brought me this story: http://cbsn.ws/1Q0chAV. Here’s a startling fact from the article: almost half of all US households can not come up with $400 to cover an emergency expense. They would need to sell something or borrow cash to do so.
If you find yourself belonging to that category, I want to help you. I have some ideas (11 of them, in fact) for you.
In my experience, if you want to get out of a hole, you study the behavior of those who have already made it out. Then you do everything you can to copy that behavior.
Yes, some people have been fortunate enough to inherit wealth, but many, MANY more of those who have wealth came about it in a different way.
Before I get there, a big tax reminder: 2nd quarter estimated taxes are due on June 15th. Make sure to mail your Federal estimate with voucher #2 (1040-ES) and your check payable to the United States Treasury. Include your social security number and the words “2015 Form 1040-ES” on your check. Mail by June 15, 2015.
Now, so that YOU do not find yourself in the unfortunate place of not being able to scrape up $400 in an emergency read this now.
11 Traits of the Financially Secure
“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” – Brian Tracy
Becoming a household that will be able to ride through instability and uncertainty is only going to become MORE important in future years, not less.
So, that being the case, here is a portrait of those who are able to achieve this status.
You’ll notice that these are just as significantly about your mindset as you relate to your finances, as about your behaviors.
Here’s what the Financially Secure look like:
1) He always spends less than he earns. In fact, his mantra is that over the long run, you’re better off if you strive to be anonymously rich rather than deceptively poor.
2) She knows that patience is truth. The odds are you won’t become a millionaire overnight. If you’re like her, your security will be accumulated gradually by diligently saving your money over multiple decades.
3) He pays off his credit cards in full every month. He’s smart enough to understand that if he can’t afford to pay cash for something, then he can’t afford it.
4) She realized early on that money does not buy happiness. If you’re looking for financial joy, you need to focus on attaining financial freedom.
5) He understands that money is like a toddler; it is incapable of managing itself. After all, you can’t expect your money to grow and mature as it should without some form of credible money management.
6) She’s a big believer in paying herself first. It’s an essential tenet of personal finance and a great way to build your savings and instill financial discipline.
7) She knows that few millionaires reached that milestone without a plan. It’s not enough to simply “declare” to the universe that you want to be financially free. This is not a “Secret”.
8) When it came time to set his savings goals, he wasn’t afraid to think big. Financial success demands that you have a vision that is significantly larger than you can currently deliver upon.
9) He realizes that stuff happens, and that’s why you’re a fool if you don’t insure yourself against risk. Remember that the potential for bankruptcy is always just around the corner, and can be triggered from multiple sources: the death of the family’s key breadwinner, divorce, or disability that leads to a loss of work.
10) She understands that time is an ally of the young. She was fortunate (and smart) enough to begin saving in her twenties, so she could take maximum advantage of the power of compounding interest on her nest egg.
11) He’s not impressed that you drive an over-priced luxury car and live in a “McMansion” that’s two sizes too big for your family of four. Little about external “signals” of wealth actually matter to him.
And a little bonus, if you will: She doesn’t pay taxes which could have been avoided with a simple phone call to her tax professional. She plans ahead before tax time. Call me today to schedule your tax planning session so next year you won’t be saying, “I’ve never had to pay that much in taxes before”.
Aurelia E Weems, CPA