Buffalo, my goal is to instill in you a sense of urgency. Planning and budgeting during your working years are critical to achieving a dignified retirement. Social Security alone will not provide you with the lifestyle you seek in retirement. The time to begin your financial plan is now, as the alternative to planning is possibly fighting your cats to share their Tuna Pate.
A dignified retirement includes adequate income and savings to pay for safe housing, groceries, transportation, medical expenses, and the inflation that will increase the amount goods cost each year. Most people want to have the flexibility to travel, go out to dinner with friends, or leave an inheritance for their loved ones. If freedom and flexibility is also your goal, you need to follow some simple steps that I've outlined in previous posts but will summarize here.
1) Figure out your "Why." An internal force drives your financial decisions. Reflect on why you feel compelled to spend at times but refrain at other times.
2) Develop your dreams and begin setting goals and work towards them. Without the ability to set clear and concise goals, your thoughts may always remain just dreams and never a reality.
3) Separate your needs from your wants. Until you can differentiate between the two, you may not be able to make any progress in increasing your savings without impacting your quality of life.
4) Develop a budget. Take the time to figure out where your money goes each month. Most of us start each month with the best intentions, but at some point, the plan goes awry. Set parameters for your spending and work hard to stay on track. If you lack discipline, learn how to change for good with these corrective behaviors.
5) Save. You should have 3 to 6 months of your expenses saved in a checking or savings account. Unexpected things happen in life, and you should have adequate savings to assist in transitions, for unexpected expenses and during difficult times.
6) Invest. Simply put, once you've built your cash buffer, you need to invest to reach your retirement goals. You might have access to a 401(k) or 403(b) but if you don't, it's not an excuse to not invest. You can start small, but you need to start. If you leave your money in your checking or savings account, you may be poorer every year just by inflation eating away at your purchasing power. Ten dollars won't buy the same amount of food as it will in 20 years. I will be discussing investing strategies in future posts, or you can always reach out with questions or for ideas.
7) Reflect. Any good plan requires constant revision and review. Make sure your saving and investment levels are adequate. Often as people earn more, they adjust their lifestyle but do not increase how much they are saving towards retirement. It's difficult to drastically modify your spending when you retire, so make sure that you are keeping track of your progress and likelihood of success.
I am aware that there is a lot involved in these seven steps, but the key is organizing your thoughts and getting started. Review my previous posts for tips and tricks. Be disciplined and keep track of your progress and ideas.
I would love to hear any questions, comments, or concerns that you might have. I love what I do, and I love helping because, Buffalo, everyone deserves a Thoughtful Plan.
Very Truly Yours,
Here are some events I'm checking out next week.
TOTALLY BUFFALO 716MAS FESTIVAL
DATE: Saturday Dec. 02, 2017 - Sunday Dec. 03, 2017
TIME: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
LOCATION: Buffalo Riverworks
359 Ganson St, Buffalo, NY, 14203, South Buffalo
Join us for this incredible – TWO DAY SHOP LOCAL event featuring dozens of vendors selling their amazing Buffalo inspired crafts, jewelry, apparel, shirts, and more! Live music, crafts for kids. SANTA and even an appearance by some Disney Princesses.
Shop local and help the local WNY economy! Find unique gifts hand made with love by Buffalo artisans. Buffalo FOOD, DESSERTS and GIFTS! $5 admission, 5 & under free.($8 for two day pass).
Winter Choral Spectacular
DATE: Thursday Dec. 07, 2017
TIME: 7:30 pm
1300 Elmwood Ave. Rockwell Hall 210 , Buffalo, New York, 14222, North Towns
$10 General Public
FREE student tickets available at the Rockwell Hall or Student Union Box Office
Various Buffalo State choral groups will celebrate the winter season in song, under the direction of Dr. Victoria Furby and Mr. John Fleischman. The concert will also feature the ABC Bel Canto Bravo and Vivace Choirs.