4 Ways to Live Out a Long-Term Financial Strategy

by Hank Coleman

Have you heard the expression, “You spend money as if it’s burning a hole in your pocket?” If so, that probably means there’s room for improvement when thinking about long-term financial strategy and plans. If you’re able to make enough money to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head, you should still think seriously about things you can do now so you’ll have more money in the future.

4 Ways to Live Out a Long Term Financial Strategy

Set Realistic Money-Saving Goals

Save money on monthly expensesWhen people mull over money and the future, their minds often go straight to retirement. Actually though, the future is any time beyond the current moment, so when you consider saving money for future use, it doesn’t have to exclusively relate to retirement.

Let’s say you set a goal of saving $20 from each of your weekly paychecks. You can put that amount into an interest savings account so the balance naturally grows, albeit very slowly, over time. Or, you may decide to buy one less latte from the local coffee shop each week and put the money saved into a jar that goes towards a special major purchase.

Whatever the case may be, don’t set yourself up for failure by making goals you can’t feasibly reach. By doing so, you may feel constantly discouraged, and give up before making any real progress with your savings plan.

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Improve Your Financial Literacy

The amount of knowledge you have about finances is also known as financial literacy. Are you feeling confused about debt reduction strategies or wondering how to set up a 401k plan? If so, you’ll likely benefit by becoming more financially aware.

An easy way to start is to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times or some other finance focused publication. You can also check your local bank to see if classes are offered for consumers who want to learn more about personal finance.

Remember, it’s never too late to become more financially literate. By expressing a mere interest in doing so, you’re taking an important first step toward financial confidence.

Curb Needless Spending

Many people have trouble saying “no” when there is an opportunity to buy “things”. From packs of chewing gum at the checkout to clothing bought despite having a closet full of like-new attire, impulse purchases can really make it difficult to keep your eyes on the future of your finances.

The easiest way to avoid spending money impulsively is to understand your triggers and do what you can to stay out of situations that activate them. Begin by making a note on a piece of scrap paper every time you feel the need to spend money on an item that’s not truly necessary. At the end of the day, week, or another span of time, take a look at what you wrote down, and see when you most often felt tempted to spend money.

For some people, their weakness is the going to the shopping mall, while other love online shops and buying things from the comfort of home. Whatever the specifics are in your case, take action to limit your exposure to those triggers. As a result, your impulse spending should go down, and the amount in your bank account will gradually increase.

Download Helpful Financial Apps

App-enabled smartphones and tablets put financial information at our fingertips, and if you own a gadget that can download applications, consider downloading at least a few related to your finances. There are titles that help you plan and stick to budgets, reduce your debt, and most importantly for the context of this article, make it easier to invest money for the future.

Fisher Investments app on iTunes offers users aggregated news based on personal preferences. The Fisher Investments research and editorial departments will also offer commentary about recent events in the financial sector. By receiving and reading that information daily, you’ll keep up on financial happenings and get the viewpoint from an established finance firm.

People often say they have long-term financial aspirations, but there’s a big difference between making statements and actually living a lifestyle that you can achieve within realistic timeframes. Dedication and planning are required for success, but if you’re serious about focusing on long-term financial goals, that commitment could really pay off.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.

Hank Coleman has written 581 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.

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