Start Saving Now!

by Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP


An excerpt from The Way to Save: A 10-Step Blueprint for Lifetime Security

Your money belongs to you. It is yours to spend or to keep. If you save money, you'll have something to show for your efforts. If you don't, you won't.

Earning money is only half the battle. It is equally as important to learn to spend it wisely and to save wisely. Begin now to tell your dollars where to go instead of asking where they went.

You may be saving and you don't even realize it. For example, you may feel you aren't saving anything and yet be socking away money regularly into your employer's retirement plan. Perhaps you feel you aren't getting ahead because you have no savings, and yet you are reducing credit card debt at a rapid clip. You have four basic ways to increase your savings.

Control taxes. The less you pay to the government, the more you have left over to save for your personal goals.

Control debt. Imagine the money you would save if you never paid a dime of interest again! By reducing debt and cutting interest rates, you can capture more of your money for yourself.

Increase your income. Extra income from earnings or investment means extra money to sock away in savings.

Cut your expenses. Stop spending leaks and reduce nonessential expenditures.

How you handle your money, and how much you save, is up to you. Here are seven mistakes people often make when managing their money.

  • Lack of involvement. Only one family member is involved in money decisions, or worse, no one is in charge.

  • No budget. If you don't have a money plan for the coming year, your spending will be constrained only by income and credit card limits.

  • No cash reserves. Keep money available to fund a family emergency or an investment opportunity.

  • No disability insurance. Insure major income earners to replace their income if they become disabled.

  • No tax planning. Structure your investments and your expenses to take maximum advantage of income tax rules.

  • No diversification. Money kept in bank accounts will lose value when interest rates are less than inflation and income tax rates.

  • Inadequate retirement funding. Employee thrift plans, 401(k) plans, TSA plans, and IRAs are your best bet for stashing cash for the future. Fund them with the maximum allowed to take full advantage of tax savings and investment growth.

Ginita Wall is a CPA and Certified Financial Planner in San Diego. Worth Magazine recently selected Ginita as one of the top financial advisers in the country for the second year in a row. She provides forensic accounting and financial guidance to men, women and their attorneys before, during and after divorce. She is also co-founder of Women's Institute for Financial Education www.wife.org and author of six books, including Your Next Fifty Years, The Way To Save, and Our Money Our Selves. You may contact her at 619-792-0524, or write her at 13569 Tiverton Road, San Diego, CA 92130. Her web site is www.PlanForWealth.com, and her e-mail address is GWall@PlanForWealth.com

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