Posted 18 months ago
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You may or may not be familiar with Zig Ziglar, the dynamic American motivational author, speaker and sales trainer. Ziglar was wildly popular for his honest, ethical and down-to-earth approach that combined an inspiring sense of aspiration with a very healthy dose of old-school values and street smarts. One particularly insightful quote attributed to Ziglar states that “Money is not the most important thing in life, but it’s pretty close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale”. These words pretty much sum up modern life. Ask anyone to list their life priorities, and they’re likely to put family, friends, health, happiness and love ahead of money, and that’s as it should be. However, like it or not, without financial stability all those aspects of life can, and usually do, suffer. It’s not that money itself is intrinsically important; rather, it is a necessary ingredient that helps us create the freedom to pursue and achieve our loftier goals in life.
The question remains: how can ordinary individuals or families achieve this elusive objective? There are countless convoluted guides online offering all manner of advice encompassing the full spectrum of useful to questionable. We believe that it doesn’t need to be that complicated. Today, we’ll break down the strategies into three basic steps that anyone can employ to gain that fiscal edge that puts them on the road to a secure and prosperous future:
Step 1: Restructure Debt
The very first item on the agenda is to get your debt situation under control. Debt may be a fact of life, but it can also be the enemy of financial equilibrium. The lure of a quick short-term fix can sometimes lead us down a path of economic hardship from which it can be difficult and painful to extricate ourselves. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. A manageable level of debt can be a perfectly healthy way of navigating tighter times or affording big-ticket expenses. The trick is to structure your credit profile in a way that avoids the potential pitfalls. Some measures include:
a. A healthy debt-to-liquidity ratio ensures that your cash reserves are always sufficient to cover your position in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Ensure that you have enough liquid funds to repay at least 3-6 months’ worth of debt obligations.
b. Always pay more than the minimum repayment or credit cards, or make regular additional payments on structured loans. These tactics will reduce your principal faster, potentially saving you significant time and money over the life of the loan.
c. If you already have high-interest loans, consider taking advantage of balance transfer opportunities that offer 1-3 years of 0% interest. Make and rigidly keep to a repayment plan that would allow you to pay off most or all the principle within that period.
It is particularly critical to exercise caution regarding the type of loans that you take. However, alluring the promise of easy money from payday lenders and similar companies may be, they come with potentially crippling interest rates, onerous repayment terms and penalties that can frequently cost you more than the loan itself. While less risky, loans from banks and other financial institutions still hit you with relatively high interest. Alternatively, Speckle offers a revolutionary alternative: fast online loans with low interest and flexible repayment conditions that allow customers to work with us to ensure they meet their obligations while understanding that life can sometimes take unexpected turns.
Step 2: Budget
Once your balance sheet is looking somewhat more balanced, it’s time to get serious about controlling your cash flows. Getting a firm handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out is a crucial element of successful household economy. By meticulously recording all your expenses, you can gain a more accurate picture of where you’re spending your money. This, in turn, can help you to identify areas in which you can tighten your belt by avoiding unnecessary, excessive or gratuitous expenses. Many of life’s luxuries can easily be reduced or cut out with very little impact on quality of life, while saving the average consumer significant sums that can be diverted to more productive uses such as repaying debt, savings or investments. Ask yourself whether you genuinely need that latte or pricey cafe lunch every day, or perhaps a coffee or packed lunch from home might suffice? Maybe now is the time to quit smoking and save yourself $35/pack?
Making some tough decisions today can put you on track for better times in the future. Create a monthly budget and be staunchly disciplined about sticking to it. At the same time, it’s important to realise that life is still to be enjoyed, so include a realistic amount allowance for leisure activities, eating out and the like. Too much austerity can lead people to throw in the towel, so find a balance that works within your overall plan.
Step 3: Save
A successful budgeting plan will hopefully leave you with a little extra to put away for a rainy day. Saving is a habit. Any good habit starts by conscientiously repeating the healthy behaviour over and over until it becomes second nature. Saving is no different. Once you take the plunge and commit yourself to a regular allocation of funds into savings every month, you will soon see the enormous benefits that accrue. Once you’ve stabilised your finances and implemented a budget that includes a monthly amount for savings, it’s as simple as transferring the specified amount into a designated account every month. You don’t have to start with a huge sum. Instead, you might want to ease into it by initially allocating a smaller, more manageable amount that won’t put a sizeable dent in your budget, and gradually increase it over time. Putting this into practice can be a genuine challenge. It’s important to stay disciplined and focused if you’re going to keep on track. A few ways that you can make life easier for yourself include:
a. Ensure that the funds you transfer go into a dedicated savings account that is entirely separate from your regular checking account so that you’ll never be tempted to access the money in a pinch.
b. Set up an automatic monthly transfer to coincide as closely as possible with your payday so that you’ll barely notice the money coming out of your account.
c. Every 3-6 months, roll the accumulated funds into a term deposit so that it’s locked away and cannot be accessed while at the same time earning interest.
d. Keep the equivalent of 1-3 months of your after-tax salary accessible as liquid funds to act as a safety net if unexpected challenges hit.
The Road to Freedom
Creating a healthy financial future is rarely painless. Some sacrifices will almost certainly be required along the way. However, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. With the right approach, these three steps can assist any household to get there. However, as Zig Ziglar so insightfully pointed out, the pursuit of monetary stability is a necessary means to the end that we all dream of – a happy, secure, comfortable life for ourselves and our families.
To find out more about how Speckle can get you started on the path to financial freedom, contact us today, and we’ll show you have a Speckle fast online cash loan can form an integral part of your plan.