Why is it that people making similar salaries often save two to three times as much as their counterparts by retirement time? Financial consultant Suze Orman says it's not because some are better investors or because others withdrew large amounts from retirement funds. It is because successful savers have respect for money. Orman says people who don't respect their money show a lack of respect for themselves. They block the path to more wealth. Respecting your money means paying attention to how you use it. It means making sure that every dollar you spend must be spent, and it means learning the basics of investing. It's not just how much you spend, but how you interact with your money that counts. Look for small ways that money slips through your fingers, like hidden costs you pay for checking accounts, late charges you pay on bills just because you didn't send a payment on time, and interest you sacrifice by withdrawing money from savings a day or two before interest is calculated. Usually, a bigger paycheck is not the answer to financial problems. Good financial practices start with the proper handling of money you have right now. There are only three ways to make money: Work for it, inherit it, or multiply it by saving and investing. The third way is the most powerful. There is a simple and remarkable way to spend less, says Orman. Invest more. By placing more in retirement accounts, you reduce your take-home check, and will train yourself to spend at a lower level, just as you did when you were earning less. Here's why it works. If you take home $3,000 a month, you think you have $3,000 to spend. So you do. If you take home $2,750, your brain will realize that you have just that much to spend, so you will. The other $250 has gone to savings. By adjusting your thinking now, you will have more for retirement, whether it's five years or twenty-five years away.
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