In America we think in terms of Conservative or Liberal when it comes to fiscal ideas. To be honest, I really don’t care what side of the political fence you fall on. My only hope is that you are practicing some fiscal responsibility when planning your financial lives.
No doubt you have financial goals. They will differ from your friends’ and neighbors’ and sometimes they will test your mettle. But you can achieve them because, through the course of your life, let’s face it…your buck stops with you.
Sound retirement. College savings. Bigger home. Starting a business. Healthcare needs. And more. It all can be accomplished if you choose to practice fiscal responsibility.
It does not matter what your political affiliation, color, race, gender, sex, or pronoun you decide to go by. If you are not fiscally responsible, there is no one to blame but yourself.
What steps must you take? The choices will vary and statistics will differ as to how much you will need for what, but this list will serve as an initial fiscal responsibility guide:
- Establish an emergency fiscal fund. Keep three to six months of expenses in a liquid asset such as a money market or savings account. Stuff happens as they say. Be ready if and when it happens to you. And let’s hope it doesn’t.
- Pay yourself first. Take the opportunity to contribute to an employer’s retirement plan up to the matching contribution. Use any additional funds to open up a Roth IRA. Having two accounts growing at the same time will put you ahead of the game long term. Don’t leave either one to chance. Check your employer’s retirement account quarterly to see what you can do to increase the growth
- Insure to ensure your family and/or business fiscal health. Sometimes the unfortunate does occur and you must be prepared. Protect your life (life insurance), your ability to earn an income (disability insurance), as well as your home and other key assets.
- Plan for Uncle Sam. Do you keep careful records to meet your uncle’s April 15 tax deadline every year? And are you doing at least some initial planning with an eye toward your fiscal future? It is a good truth to contemplate…the day may come when you need estate planning.
- Save for college costs. They are rising faster than the overall inflation rate. Prepare now. No children? Then pay yourself first even more.
Some may have a longer list of steps. Some shorter. But if you are going to own your fiscal responsibility, you can plan for what you can control and be prepared for what you can’t.
Develop your list. Be aware of it every day but check it at least once every three months. Work with the financial professional(s) with whom you feel comfortable keeping in mind your own particular circumstances.