How are your 2019 financial goals tracking? Many of us have included ‘Financial or Savings Goals’ for the New Year, whether that be saving a deposit for your first home, paying down debts, saving for your next holiday or growing your wealth to secure your financial future. All of these are great reasons to focus in on your financial position this year, but recent research demonstrates this is harder than ever. Data gathered by Trading Economics indicated the average Australian household savings rate dropped to a concerning 2.4 percent for the third quarter of 2018. https://tradingeconomics.com/australia/personal-savings
Below we have highlighted 4 key steps YOU can take in designing and implementing a money management program to maximise your financial position and to ensure you keep those financial goals on track. A money management program will provide you with the structure to make more confident, smarter choices around what you do with your money.
1. Implement a Savings Plan – Set your targets
No matter what your level of income, a savings plan ensures you know what comes in, what goes out, and what you have left over. Without a clear understanding of your personal cashflow situation, you will not be in a position to actively allocate your surplus funds to ensure your money is working its hardest.
- Define your Income from the various sources; salary from employment, business income, investments income or side gigs.
- Clarify your Expenses,
- Livings Expenses; what it costs you to survive – food, housing, healthcare and alike.
- Lifestyle Spending; discretionary spending – such as dining out, entertainment, Netflix and holidays.
- Income less Expense equals Surplus.
From here now go back and review your existing expense limits. Reset these limits to the point you are happy with your savings rate, and to ensure you hit your financial goals in the desired timeframes.
HINT: Don’t set yourself a savings plan so strict that your ‘lifestyle’ suffers. A sustainable plan is imperative to ensure you remain engaged with your savings goals.
Our Vincents Savings Plan, which is the initial phase of implementation for our members on the Vincents Money Management Program can be downloaded FREE to the right.
2. Banking Structure
The key element with a banking structure is knowing that you’ve got enough to cover your Living Expenses, seeing your Savings grow (or Debt going down) and importantly, being able to see what you’ve got to spend on lifestyle.
To do this you need to develop an appropriate structure to suit your needs. Segregate accounts into the previously discussed spending groups, being living and lifestyle, and then having a dedicated savings account for your goals.
Example Banking Structure:
HINT: The key to success is not about the number of accounts you have but making sure they only serve a single purpose (e.g. no blended spending/savings accounts)
Always. Always. Pay yourself first. This means, on payday, a predetermined amount (given you have a Savings Plan in place you know exactly how much this will be) is transferred directly into your ‘Savings Account’.
Next, set an automated transfer into your ‘Lifestyle Account’, you are going to cap this amount to a weekly/fortnightly total. This figure has been set given you have completed your Savings Planner!
Now you’re set, the system should take care of itself. You will hit your savings target as these funds are automatically transferred, and you won’t over-spend on discretionary items as these expenses have been limited.
A review of your bank accounts should now provide you with real-time feedback as to how you are tracking towards your goals.
For example, a check-up of your ‘Lifestyle Account’ should tell you if you have remaining funds to enjoy an evening out or a zero balance with days remaining within the week/fortnight indicating you are overspending.
Additionally, if you are dipping into your ‘Savings Account’ to fund ‘Living Expense’ such as groceries or the electricity bill, then you need to reset your savings plan to a more realistic amount. This may result on winding back on your savings goals until you have an increase in income or find areas to reduce expenses.
Having a money management program isn’t about punishing yourself or a process of simply tracking your numbers. Building awareness through the implementation of a money management program will help with clarifying how your spending habits are impacting your long term financial objectives and gives you the opportunity to make changes to suit your lifestyle.
An Important Message
While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.