by David Drake
As we start 2016, many people will be setting goals on what they want to achieve during the year. I want to spend some time sharing some insights to help you reach your goals, particularly when it comes to money and work. The truth is, most people spend their money buying stuff they really don’t need. While it is fun to spend on things that you enjoy, like eating out at a fancy restaurant, buying expensive cars and clothes, travelling, and don’t forget spoiling your children, it may not be a smart thing to do. Wealth and success thought leaders advise us to strike a balance by saving for things that may not appear important at the moment, yet are critical in the long run. Spending your money on things that you love is easy, but it takes effort and planning to save for things that you may think are unimportant. The danger of spending your money on the enjoyable things is that it can easily drain hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars from your account each month without adding much value to your financial goals. As 2016 rolls around, I challenge you to put more effort into saving for the following things that are often neglected, but are extremely important:
Most people delay saving for retirement until years have gone by. And some tie up their finances in investments that affect their ability to adequately prepare for retirement. Ensure that this does not happen to you, act now – create a fund to cater for your retirement. This can mean dedicating some savings to a retirement fund if you are self employed, or effecting 401(k) deductions via your employer. Each person has a right to experience financial security in old age but each person has control over that outcome. This is why, irrespective of how young you are, you need to begin thinking about your financial security after retirement right now.
Emergencies are some of the most unpredictable occurrences that life brings our way, nobody knows when they will show up so it is better if we’re prepared. While there are different kinds of emergencies, medical emergencies are the most critical. Even when you have medical insurance, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to come up with several thousands of dollars to cater for medical related expenses. In case you do not have medical insurance, you need to begin saving a considerable amount for medical emergencies immediately. If you have children, you should consider saving double since they are accident-prone, and tend to get sick more often than adults. You don’t want to find yourself facing a medical emergency that you are unable to pay for.
3. Debt Repayment
This is critical if you are going to succeed in saving for anything worthwhile this year. If you have accumulated debt in the past, you need to pay it off as soon as possible. Debt can suck all your money with time and cause you a number of problems such as stress and other health-related problems, loss of assets, and even bankruptcy. So, make it a priority to settle your old scores first so you can concentrate on putting aside some money that will enable you to live comfortably in future.
Starting this year, you need to begin making some investments. Real estate property is one of the most rewarding investments that you can make. Such an investment can give you some extra income through short term or long term renting. You do not have to start big. The best thing to do is look out for investment opportunities that suit your budget. With the many real estate crowdfunding platforms available today, this is easy to do. Whether you opt to invest in commercial or residential property, it will be worth your time to save towards investment property in 2016.
5. College Funds for Children
If you are planning to have a family in 2016 or already have one, prepare to establish a college fund for your children before, or once, they are born. It doesn’t matter how much money you save each month; what is important is to ensure that you are regularly making a contribution towards it, offsetting the high cost of college education when your children get ready to leave the nest.
David Drake is the Chairman of LDJ Capital, a multi-family office; Victoria Partners, a 300 family office network; LDJ Real Estate Group and Drake Hospitality Group; and The Soho Loft Media Group with divisions Victoria Global Communications,Times Impact Publications, and The Soho Loft Conferences. Reach him directly at David@LDJCapital.com.