Jocelyn Black Hodes is a financial professional at Nationwide Investment Advisors, LLC, a $4B RIA based in Columbus, OH. Jocelyn is also registered with Nationwide Investment Services Corporation, a broker-dealer with over 2,050 registered representatives nationwide.
He shares his thoughts on how to save money and move away from the bridge of poverty:
As a financial adviser, I have occasionally found myself feeling envious of certain clients. Not because of their wealth, but because they were disciplined and determined enough to do all the right things that enabled them to accumulate their wealth and, in many cases, retire early.
Despite my expertise, I, like a lot of people, sometimes struggle not to do the wrong things that make being rich, let alone retiring at all, a pipe dream.
Financially responsible and successful people don’t build their wealth by accident or overnight. Becoming rich takes serious willpower and long-term vision.
You have to be able to keep your eye on the prize of financial freedom, be willing to sacrifice your present wants for the sake of your future and develop good habits to win.
Here are 10 habits you can start putting into practice:
1. START EARLY
As the old saying goes: The early bird catches the worm…or, in this case, gets to retire in style. The sooner you put your money to work, the more time it has to grow.
If you’re fortunate enough to get a job with a company that offers a matching contribution to their retirement plan, you need to make it a priority to enroll in the plan as soon as you are eligible. It can be the difference between retiring early and never retiring.
Think about this: If you invested $10,000 and left it to grow for 40 years, assuming an average return per year of 8%, you would end up with over $217,000. But if you waited 10 years and invested $20,000 twice as much you would only end up with just over $200,000.
Whatever your situation might be, saving and investing money today is better than waiting until tomorrow. Start now.
You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to financial success. It’s all too easy to procrastinate and neglect what needs to be done and, meanwhile, give in to temptation and spend more than you should. It’s the perfect recipe for not becoming rich.
The best way to protect yourself from yourself is to automate your savings. That means setting up recurring transfers on a regular basis from your checking account to your savings and investment accounts (or setting up auto deduction from your paycheck to your employer-sponsored retirement plan).
This way, you force yourself to avoid bad money habits and save what you would likely otherwise spend. If you haven’t already, set aside 15 minutes on your calendar now to do it. Not later, now. Your rich future self will thank you.
3. MAXIMIZE CONTRIBUTIONS
When it comes to retirement account contributions, you’ve probably been told to start small and then try to increase the amount by at least 1% every year until you max out.
If you’ve been procrastinating, then yes, even a small starting contribution is better than none. The problem is that small efforts can lead to small results. If you want to be rich, you have to save like you mean it. And that means contributing the max amount allowed from the get-go (and at least as much as your employer will match in your 401(k) plan).
This is especially true if you are starting to save later in life and need to play catch up. You might worry that maxing out your contributions will squeeze your cash flow too tightly, but it is easier to get in the habit of spending less if you don’t have that extra to money to spend in the first place. It’s much harder to increasingly scale back your budget year after year to accommodate for increasing contributions.
4. NEVER CARRY CREDIT CARD BALANCES
Revolving, high-interest debt is one of the biggest threats to your financial freedom. It can seriously drag you down, costing you thousands in unnecessary fees and interest charges — and stop you from saving more. If you ever want to be rich, you have to ditch the bad habit of carrying credit card balances, along with the minimum payment mentality.
Instead, you need to learn how to use credit wisely, rather than as a crutch, and commit to paying off your balances in full each month. Smart credit card holders know and practice the tricks to maximize rewards, points, discounts and monthly cash flow without getting in over their head. Of course, living within your means is key to your success.
5. LIVE LIKE YOU’RE POOR
Have you ever met someone who is unassuming and modest and then were surprised to later learn that they are actually rolling in dough? I had an older client who was stuck in 1983: he wore ugly brown suits and running shoes, drove a beat-up baby blue Volvo station wagon and lived in the same modest house he bought 40 years ago. Turns out, this man was an uber-successful entrepreneur and multimillionaire — and even richer because of his humble habits