Author: Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA is CEO of Robo-Advisor Pros.com, the author of several financial books, and a regular to contributor to US News and World Report.
I’ve made a career out of saving money. From the time I first received an allowance, I was trained to save part of my money. When I was a child, my parents helped me open a bank account. And ever since, saving has been a priority.
From early on, I trained myself to enjoy growing my bank account, more than spending. This habit has turned into a secure path towards retirement. It’s also an example of how habits and behavioral tweaks can lead to money saving behaviors.
Ultimately, saving money is the first step in creating your financial future.
Will Cutting Back Expenses Make Me Rich?
Although you might hear how cutting back that latte isn’t going to make you rich, I beg to differ.
While cutting back on expenses alone, won’t make you rich, saving money, living below your means, and investing for your future, makes a huge difference in your future financial success.
But, saving without a plan is incomplete. You need to learn how to turn your savings into a secure financial future. That’s where robo-investing comes into play. It’s not enough to save, but you need to invest your savings so that it will grow for the future.
In this article, you’ll learn easy ways to save and how to turn those savings into financial security for your future.
1. Make Saving Automatic
This strategy just might be the perfect wealth-building plan.
Take a portion of your income, preferably 10 to 15 percent, and instruct your bank to automatically transfer that money into a Roth IRA, 401(k), or an investment account, like one of my favs, M1 Finance.
This approach takes advantage of our psyche and the adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If you don’t see the money in your accessible bank account, you will ultimately forget that you have it. If it’s taken out of your account every time you get paid, you’ll learn to live on less.
2. Sign up for Round Ups
Roundups are a new offering by many financial apps that take the difference between your spending and the next round number up, and invest it. So, if your dinner bill at Denny’s (You’re not going to drop a bundle on eating out, are you?) is $9.41, then the difference between $10.00 and $9.41, or $.59, is automatically transferred to your financial account. This doesn’t appear to be a large amount of money, but compound it with every spending action, and the money adds up.
Once the money is in your account, and reaches a specific threshold, it is invested. This is another strategy to automate your saving and investing and get around the tendency to avoid saving money.
Remember, the round up occurs every time you use your credit or debit card. You won’t miss the money, and it begins to compound. Wealthsimple is one of my favorite investing and roundup apps that takes your spare change and invests it to grow for the future. Over twenty years, as little as $20 per week rounded up can yield up to $200,000 (assumes your investments earn approximately 7% annually).
3. Invest Your Savings in a Robo-Advisor
As you implement smart money saving tips, and utilize the round up in spending, you need to be smart with the money you’ve saved. And that’s where robo-investing solves your future money problems. A robo-advisor is a fancy way of describing a computerized program that buys and sells stock and bond investment funds automatically with your savings. The money is invested according to smart principles, and for extremely low management fees. Robo-advisor apps are designed to grow your wealth systematically, for rock-bottom fees.
So, all you need to do is open an account with one of the robo-advisors, and regularly transfer money in. The money you save will be invested according to your directions, which you can change at any time. This approach is best for long-term money that is earmarked for future goals such as retirement and college savings for your children.
4. After Saving and Investing – Reward Yourself
Like most goals, saving money for tomorrow takes discipline and endurance. To make sure that you stay on the path, reward yourself periodically. Turns out, small rewards for milestones reached can keep you on the right track for the long term. And, there’s research to support this idea!
Choose rewards that won’t set you back financially and will likely improve your savings plan. Keep a list of rewards that are free, or low cost. A bubble bath or time playing a videogame are examples of free rewards to thank yourself for saving and investing. Award yourself an hour reward doing your favorite activity for each deposit into your savings or investing account.
5. Practice the Saving Money Skill Until it’s Second Nature
It’s likely that you have some skill that you’re good at. It might be a sport, a hobby or your job. When you first began, you were an amateur. Just look at the six-year-olds on a soccer field, they’re all beginners! Yet, profile a few and in high school and college some of these little kids turn out to be exceptional athletes.
These soccer stars didn’t become great overnight, they practiced their sport for years.
Consider saving money like a skill or muscle that you need to strengthen. As you practice living below your means, finding ways to save and aligning your money habits with your goals, you will become an expert. There’s inspiration online to further your savings goals that help keep you on track. The benefits of saving, living below your means and investing are a life with less financial stress.
For a secure financial future, practice putting aside money and then divert your savings into an investment account.