Dear Money Lady: I’m in my 30s and want to know how to save my first $50,000 – any help? James
What a great question!
There are some basic ways to save regardless of your age. Of course, if you are young and just starting out, adopting the right habits will benefit you immensely, perhaps even for your entire lifetime. Saving must be a conscious decision you make to yourself that requires long-term discipline. Actually James, these principles can be applied to anything that is important to you, such as losing weight, kicking a bad habit, getting your dream job or, of course, saving money. Most people want everything instantly, which has caused Canadians to reach for credit to supplement their lifestyle. With the rising rates today, many are beginning to panic and wonder if they really needed all their indulgent toys that have now got them into debt.
Money is emotional and people spend for different reasons. Aside from basic living, we tend to spend on instant pleasures in the present when we should really be saving and delaying that gratification for the future. Children want things now, but adults should be mature enough to wait. Another way we get into trouble is when we over commit ourselves because we don’t want to say no and disappoint others. People-pleasers have a habit of saying YES when they know they should say NO.
Now before you decide to send me emails saying that it is impossible to save in today’s economy, according to global economic data, Canada is one of the top 10 richest countries in the world. We are a fully westernized country with an economic platform to provide those Canadians who want wealth to prosper in a culture and economy that encourages innovation, education and equality. You all know that anything important to you takes a precisioned focus and a dedicated well-thought-out plan. So, let’s get started together.
First, to become a saver, you will need to take an inventory of all the things you say yes to and ask yourself if it’s possible to start saying no. You don’t always have to decline, but even saying no more often will help get your finances in order and create a new habit of saving that you must adopt.
Second, you need to become personally responsible for your current situation. Get a journal and start “brain-dumping” your ideas down on paper: ideas of ways you can save, reduce expenditures, increase your income and improve your situation. No one can do this for you. Critical thinking demands that you operate from an objective reality, and the reality is that no one but you can rescue yourself from debt (or anything else for that matter: addiction, obesity, loneliness, etc.). Stop waiting to be rescued by refinancing your mortgage again. You must take control and create saving habits.
Third, endure some personal suffering. Drive your car longer or, better still, sell it for a more economical one, move to a less expensive home or rental, give up costly habits, take your lunch to work, stop using your credit card without budgeting for purchases, you get the idea. Breaking old habits and implementing new ones is indeed difficult to do. Just because you decide to stop spending doesn’t mean you won’t want to. If you’re going to save that first $50,000, you have to learn to “say no” to yourself and “yes” to keeping the money in your bank account. Professionals say it takes 30 days of strict implementation accompanied by mild emotional suffering to create a new habit. So, make a plan, prepare yourself and be resolved to stick to your plan no matter how it makes you feel. When you are tempted to revert back to your old spending ways, remember your goal and replace your suffering with a personal source of pride in knowing that you will be reaching your goal of lowering your debt or building an emergency fund. Think about it for a moment: if you are already suffering with debt and personal defeat now, why not suffer by making the right changes on your way to victory?
Christine Ibbotson is a national radio host, YouTuber and author of three finance books plus the Canadian best-selling book How to Retire Debt Free & Wealthy. Visit www.askthemoneylady.ca or send a question to email@example.com.
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