Developing a plan is the first step toward achieving any goal in life. When it comes to reaching your financial goals, the best place to start is by developing a clear understanding of your entire financial picture.
1. Set tangible goals
Whatever your stage of life and state of your finances, your assets (or lack thereof) can be the launching point for specific savings goals. For example, someone starting out in a career or caring for a young family may have basic goals like maintaining a checking account to cover living costs, saving for a down payment on a home, and contributing to a retirement plan. For others, goals could center around travel plans, dedicating funds to charity, or passing assets on to benefit the next generation in their family.
By identifying your individual goals, you will ensure that your assets are invested appropriately. Our team of registered investment advisors at Triumph Capital Management are equipped to walk you through this process. We hold our fiduciary responsibility in the highest regard and want to learn more about your situation, dreams, goals, and to identify and discuss your tolerance for risk.
Setting specific goals will also help you to remember the why behind what you’re doing. Targeted objectives enable you to align your spending against your desired destination. Goalposts give us something to look forward to and motivation to stay on track. Whether you’re setting short or long-term goals – or both – be sure to make them specific. Write them down, so you can reference them regularly and hold yourself accountable.
2. Make sure you have an emergency fund
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, start building one now. It’s important to have enough savings to cover at least three to six months of expenses. The amount for your personal emergency fund ultimately depends on what you can manage and what gives you peace of mind. Regardless of the amount, pay yourself first.
In an emergency, such as a job loss or accumulating unexpected medical bills, it’s much easier to access a liquid savings account than an investment account. Creating an emergency fund should be your first financial priority – even ahead of paying off debt or investing.
3. Start a budget
If you don’t already have a budget, you need one. Creating and following a monthly household budget is the best way to guarantee that your bills are all paid, and your savings goals are on track. Maintaining a budget as a regular practice helps to reinforce your goals and fortify against the temptation to splurge. Tracking your expenses obliges you to take a hard look at your income and expenditures. Though the prospect of starting a budget may be daunting, the reality is that a budget can be freeing. As you stick with it, you will gain momentum from saving and as that momentum continues to grow, so will your savings – leading you closer to the financial goals you set.
4. Automate as much as possible
Set up your bills to be paid automatically. That way, you can avoid missing payments and keep your financial health intact. Utilities, cell phone, internet – the things that are absolute necessities for your current living situation can all be set up on an automatic payment schedule.
Saving for – or building up - your emergency fund can also be automated. Break up the savings into a manageable goal. For example, if you decide that your goal is to save $10,000.00 you can do that by putting $875 into savings for the next 12 months, or by saving $437.50 for the next 24 months. Once you know how much you need to save and in what time frame, set up an auto transfer from your checking account to your emergency fund.
You can use this simple formula for saving for a wedding, vehicle, vacation, or whatever else you may be dreaming of making a reality. Setting up autopay for savings removes yourself from the equation and helps to prevent any careless or erratic spending that could deter you from reaching your goal.
Finally, be sure to automate investments when possible. If you can participate in an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, sign up and elect to contribute a portion of your income with each paycheck. Automatically contributing to a retirement plan will allow you to grow your portfolio at an affordable pace and proactively plan for your long-term retirement goals.
5. Watch your credit
Your credit score is a statistical estimation of how likely you as a potential borrower are to pay for your debts and by extension, how much credit an institution is willing to loan you. It determines the interest rate you are offered when you are purchasing a new vehicle or refinancing a home, and it can also influence seemingly related matters like car insurance premiums. Because it can affect so much, it is important to get a credit report regularly to make sure there are no discrepancies.
As you focus on reaching your financial goals, find habits that work for you. Know your personality and what types of structure help you to thrive. Once you’ve gotten to a point of amassing some wealth, it’s important to meet with an experienced registered investment advisor who can further help to maintain and grow your financial portfolio as a whole.
Triumph Capital Management
1610 Wynkoop Street Suite 550
Denver, CO 80202
Advisory services offered through Triumph Capital Management, a registered investment advisor SEC#282814. Insurance Services offered through Triumph Capital, LLC #619821