Last week we started a long list of some really easy half-hour steps that will absolutely set you on the path to financial success. Here are some more, just as valuable, whether you do one of them or a bunch:
-See your payroll department: Fill out the payroll form to have some money deducted right off your cheque. After all, you can’t spend what you don’t see. Paying yourself first, instead of hoping there’s something left at the end of the month, is the easiest way to save.
Have 1 or 2% of your pay taken out and put into an RRSP if you want to save for retirement, or have it put into Canada Savings bonds if you want it out once a year to pay off debts. It’s a crappy interest rate but next year you can take out the money and put it on one of your bills. You can also have your bank take the money right out of your chequing account and moved into savings. Same thing – but only if you trust yourself that you’ll keep it going.
Then move that percentage taken off your pay, or moved to your savings account, up every six months. You’re used to 1 or 2% coming off – change it to 3% and move it up every six months or once a year.
-Apply for a non credit credit card: A charge card is one that lets you charge but forces you to pay the balance in full. That is a real American Express cards. They also have the cards that entice you to make minimum payments. But if you get online and get the REAL card you’ll never ever carry a credit card balance again. I’m not the biggest Amex fan, but that’s the only card I’ll use because it takes away all temptation to pay less than the full amount you spent last month – period.
-Set up a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) Get to your financial institution or discount broker and open this alternative retirement account with $10. It’s the same logic as opening your savings account . $10 isn’t much but at least it’s open and ready for more.
-Get your kids or grandkids on track: Starting at age 4 (the sooner the better and more effective) whatever money they get from anywhere or anyone, one-third goes to saving, one-third to giving, and one -third for spending. No exceptions, no whining, no let’s make a deal. If they want YOUR money, it’s YOUR rules. Have them use three envelopes, or whatever you set up. That one little thing will change their financial lives forever if you stick with it. It’s not really about the money but the life lessons. When they get to be about age 10 you can change it to 10% giving and the other two parts spending and saving – your call – your choice. From three dimes, to three $10 bills, just make sure the money you give them is the exact change so they can’t delay what goes where for a while.