Saving: Define Your Goals

With this post Tri-Town Apple is initiating a series of 9 posts under the category of “Save”. The posts will essentially be reprints of 9 articles from Investor.gov, a Securities and Exchange Commission  web site. The 9 articles present a roadmap to sound saving and investing. You are invited to visit Investor.gov to view the original articles.

The 9 steps to the Savings and Investing Roadmap are:

Define Your goals (this post)
Figure Out Your Finances
Small Savings Add Up to Big Money
Pay Off Credit Cards or Other High Interest Debt
Save for a Rainy Day
Understand What It Means to Invest
Diversify Your Investments
Gauge Your Risk Tolerance
Learn About Investment Options

“Roadmap to Saving and Investing

Define Your Goals

Knowing how to secure your financial well-being is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. You don’t have to be a genius to do it. You just just need to know a few basics, form a plan, and be ready to stick to it.

To end up where you want to be, you need a financial plan. Ask yourself what you want. List your most important goals first. Decide how many years you have to meet each specific goal, because when you save or invest, you’ll need to find an option that fits your time frame. Here are some tools to help you decide how much you’ll need to save for various needs.

  • The Ballpark Estimate, created by the American Savings Education Council, can help you calculate what you’ll need to save each year for retirement.
  • The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a college savings calculator.”

The Trick Is Taking Action and Following Through

Many of us look at advice like this and say something like, “Everybody knows that”. And that’s more or less true. We hope by repeating this sage advice our members and other visitors will get the following message:

“Knowing the way to financial security and taking the steps to achieve it are very different.”

(editor’s note) Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union offers the use of MoneyDesktop, online software that assists with the organization, tracking, and presentation of financial information critical to the successful implementation of a strategy such as depicted here. There is no charge for this service to members of the Credit Union. Visit our web site or call the office, 203.227.8511.

Let Us Know

Let us know if this kind of information is useful. Leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

There’s a Tip Here for Everybody

Spend 101

The title of this post could also be Spend 101. It is a short list of basic practices that, if followed, will almost guarantee that you can meet your financial goals. There is nothing here that we haven’t heard before at one time, or another. But, even though we see this advice from time to time, it is an unusual person indeed that follows the list to the letter consistently.

Therefore the goal of this post is to get you to adapt one, just one, hint or tip that you are not currently using. Then maybe, in the future, you may start using another, and so on. But all that is in the future. For now, look at the list from MyMoney.gov/Spend, and pick just one new action to start using. Surely that can’t be too hard.

From MyMoney.gov on Spend

Spend

The fundamental concept of Spend is: make a budget or a plan for using your money wisely. It’s helpful to set short and long-term financial goals and manage your money to meet them.

Actions You Can Take

  • Live within your means.
  • Be a smart shopper, and compare prices and quality.
  • Track your spending habits and develop a budget or spending plan.
  • Plan for short-term and long-term financial goals.

Hints and Tips

  • A good way to take control of your spending is to set the maximum amounts you plan to spend each week or each month. Once you’ve set the maximum, stick with your plan.
  • It’s helpful to track your spending over a few weeks or months to get a handle on how you are using your dollars and cents. Look into using on-line systems or phone apps for keeping track of your spending – you will be amazed at what you’ll learn about your habits! (editor’s note: The Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union offers the use of MoneyDesktop Software free to members)
  • Be careful not to let a sale or discount coupon persuade you to purchase something you don’t really need and that isn’t in your spending plan.
  • When planning a big purchase, take time to comparison shop and check prices at a few different stores, by phone or online.

That’s it. Pick something you’re not doing, or not doing well, and make it part of your regular spending process. If you are going to increase your attention to budgeting, take a look at MoneyDesktop. You can learn more on the Tri-Town Teachers web site.

Was this helpful? What would you like to see? Give us a comment. We want to hear from you.