Not everyone learns financial skills as they grow up, but that’s not to say they never will. There are no hidden secrets to becoming financially savvy, it’s just about knowing what options you have available and putting them into action!
Here are the top 10 habits financially savvy people have that allow them to live a life of financial freedom;
1. Create a Plan and a Budget
Write down the short and long term goals you want to achieve over the next 5 years no matter how trivial or ambitious they may seem. Ask yourself - “How will I achieve these life milestones?”. By working backwards you’ll be able to create a realistic budget that will help you meet your goals on your terms.
2. Find additional ways of making money
Whether it’s a part-time job or asking for a raise at work, you’ll be able to spend more time with your loved one's once you’re out of debt. More people than ever are seeking work by joining schemes that are flexible to their needs but offer a reliable framework for regular earnings, such as innovative platforms like Uber, Airbnb, AirTasker to name but a few.
3. Save a fixed percentage of your income each pay cycle
This is an obvious solution, yet one which is too commonly overlooked. It doesn’t have to be much but if you can commit to saving even a small amount each month, you’re already building a healthy habit! Let that modest bundle grow over time and it can help towards a life-changing investment one day.
4. Get good financial advice
Just like an international sports star or celebrity, you want to have the right team behind you for success. Make sure you’re getting genuine advice from professionals that you can trust by seeking out experts in their field. Take time to research the financial specialists that may specifically operate in your area of need, such as debt, mortgage lending, or accountancy. You can’t put a price on expert advice.
5. Be smart with debt
Financing things like mortgages for investment purposes are smart ways of using debt. By using debt effectively to leverage things in your favour, rather than against you, you can accelerate your wealth plans. Avoiding complications associated with debt can help you achieve a happier, healthier and stress-free existence.
6. Have an emergency fund
By keeping a rainy day fund, you’ll be prepared for whatever life throws at you and will be able to avoid having to borrow more money. Start small and get into a regular habit of putting money aside whenever you can, rather than putting it off til the next opportunity. You never know when you, a family member or loved one will come calling for financial aid when the going gets tough — having an emergency fund locked away can be your saviour should that day ever come.
7. Plan for the day you stop working
It might seem like a long time away but it’s never too early to start saving for retirement. But where do you start with such a serious topic like this? Make these decisions easier on yourself by putting money into multiple investment sources like superannuation, shares, property and other wealth-building investments - but talk with a financial advisor first about your unique needs and how this could work for you.
8. Don’t mix money and emotions
Whenever you’re making a decision regarding something financial, don’t let your emotional wants and needs cloud your judgement. Making irrational decisions on what to buy is a slippery slope to accumulating unwatned debt, and putting your financial freedom at great risk. Emotional spending is what gets people taking out credit cards for things they don’t need and driving away with new cars they didn’t wake up this morning thinking about. Be vigilant.
9. Keep on learning
Financially savvy people are always learning or discovering new ways to invest, save and make money. Don’t just invest your money, invest in yourself too. You don’t have to work in a bank to be good with money and now with debt advice readily available online, you don’t need to pay the earth to get good, honest information to help you improve your own circumstances.
10. Designate a family financial officer
If you share a home with housemates or family you may find it useful to nominate someone to take on the responsibility of playing chief financial officer. This person isn’t tasked with making the financial decisions but instead monitors progress toward goals and reporting back to the rest of the house unit. Placing someone at the helm can make you rethink your decisions when it comes to what to spend money, how often and why.