Save Money and Money Will Save You

It's not easy to get ahead. Saving more and spending less are easily said and hard to do.

A recent survey from the CFP Board shows how difficult it is for many Americans. About one in four Americans are Concerned Strivers, folks who are spending at their limits. With kids, cars, mortgages and credit cards, their lifestyle gives them joy (I hope!) but it also causes them financial stress.

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Three out of four Concerned Strivers are worried about saving, and six in ten believe it is extremely important.

Only half of them are able to save money regularly, on a monthly basis.

So what can we do?

Talking to a financial planner, like the team at AIFS, is more than just talking about retirement savings and other investments. It's a conversation about your overall financial health.

What's your relationship with money?

Often, the biggest challenge to saving more is spending less. Simple to say, hard to do. So why do you make the decisions you're making?

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you set that next appointment:

Q: If I am here, five years from now, what amount of money do I think I'll have in my various accounts? How much money will I owe (in various debt)?

Q: What will that feel like (five years from now)?

Q: Did anything change?

Q: Imagining that I'm five years out, looking back at today, if I could change anything, what would it be?

Q: What would it feel like to have already made that change?

Focus on that feeling--right there--imagine having already made the big change and how good it would feel. Then write it down. For example, "I feel confident" or "I feel free." A less powerful statement would be, "I feel less stress." Instead, write an affirmative statement, like "I feel powerful."

After the feeling, imagine what you are going to do and write it down. "I have time to ride my bike" or "I am going to read the Sunday NY Times" or "I am going to Taos for the weekend."

Working here--in the future but not-too-distant future--with a realistic goal, and a feeling around the goal, gives you a better shot at making the changes you need to make today. And what are those changes?

Ask your planner!

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