Early career growth, while being fulfilling, comes with its sets of challenges that are hardly surpassable and need practical solutions to tread smoothly. Maintaining healthy financial habits occupies a large chunk of it as money lies at the core of wealth and prosperity in life.
A healthy state of finances can typically mean plans set in motion to meet your long-term monetary goals while enabling easy fulfillment of fixed and variable obligations month on month. All of it while keeping you cushioned for any sudden financial setback.
Inculcating disciplined habits is a must to achieve this overall financial health. It may sound like a long shot needing intensive planning and execution. But that’s barely so, as simple day-to-day tweaks in your spending, savings, investment, and other financial habits can quickly bring about the right results without you having to extensively go after them.
All you need is to remain aware of your monetary decisions.
Here’s a sneak peek at some healthy financial habits you can adopt in your daily life for pecuniary security early in your career.
Set Aside Funds for Emergencies
For the general populace, funding emergency expenditures often turns out to be an unforeseen hindrance to the smooth flow of finances. It primarily emerges from the lack of dedicated corpus to meet urgent monetary needs.
An unplanned approach to paying for emergencies can lead one to disrupt their savings, break investment routines to channel funds towards it, or even result in big-ticket borrowing. Such unplanned initiatives can disturb one’s long-term financial security, exposing them to debt traps.
Creating an emergency corpus right from the beginning can mitigate these risks to a significant extent. You may simply set aside a portion of your income during monthly budgeting to stay covered for the financial lows that may sprout up from time to time.
In today’s uncertain economy, creating an emergency fund amounting to near-about six months of your living expenses can provide the much-needed cushioning during financial setbacks.
Carefully Distinguish Needs from Wants
Mindful spending is another key to staying financially afloat and remaining monetarily secure in the long term. To that end, identifying needs from wants when meeting expenses can be a healthy financial habit to undertake.
Needs can be identified explicitly as expenditures essential for day-to-day living, including food, rent, education, healthcare, and clothing. While there may be several other expenditures you meet as a habit, like paying for entertainment, which surface as wants and remain contingent on meeting the needs.
While it may sound quite generic and piercing, as it tends to disrupt the unmindful spending habits that people get into comfortably, its impacts on their long-term financial well-being are remarkable.
Since these spending habits are so deeply ingrained in our everyday living, we can easily trade one with another, missing out on the fulfillment of necessities.
The key is to remain aware of the clear distinction between needs and wants, so you spend as per priority, setting aside contingent spending only after the essentials are met. Notably, there is no standardized demarcation of needs from wants, which can vary from person to person.
You can thus keep track of your expenses based on factors like income level, lifestyle choices, everyday living requirements, and your environment.
Now, human nature commands that the availability of sufficient money leads one to make arbitrary spending decisions rooted in whims alone, which leads us to our next step towards financial planning.
Identify Lifestyle Inflation and Take Steps for Its Management
The general understanding of spending requirements has a non-vocal confirmation that higher-income follows higher expenditures. If we observe closely, with career advancements and better monetary inflows, people’s expenses increase correspondingly. In financial terms, it is called lifestyle inflation.
It may often miss your notice because you plan to increase your spending to meet lifestyle aspirations before career progress comes off. While lifestyle inflation may not impact your immediate financial state, it affects your long-term wealth creation potential by limiting savings and investments.
While a certain level of increase in expenditure is natural with career progression to meet evolved personal and professional needs, you need to re-evaluate your budget from time to time.
Such a revisit of your expenses allows you to see in a new light if they align with your evolved state of living or just sideline to the actual requirement and involve high cost.
If you can do without an expense, it is best to do away with it for appropriate monetary value derivation. You can assess such expenditures better by revisiting the costs from a 20% pay reduction perspective. Meaning, that it can be helpful to determine and eliminate expenses that you might not have undertaken with a 20% lower pay than the present.
Create a Financial Cushion Out of Savings Early On
Savings have always been at the heart of financial planning and are one of the healthy financial habits to undertake right from the onset of one’s career. However, today’s fast-paced world has reduced savings-oriented financial strategies, purporting increasing credit dependency.
While credit is a valuable financial tool that helps defer your direct costs, it inherently carries the risks of economic instability. Such a scenario stresses the need to create a significant savings corpus to fall back on during debt uncertainties.
As a rule of personal financial strategy, savings should acquire not less than 30% to 40% of your monthly income. Such a savings corpus accumulating month on month provides the necessary financial cushioning and assures solvency at all times. With necessary savings, you can confidently avail credit from time to time and pay it back effortlessly.
Another aspect that reinstates the importance of savings is its potential for wealth regeneration. Under healthy financial habits, investments and savings go hand in hand.
If you have sufficient savings, you can always park a portion of the funds in investment tools for periodic profit generation. Later, you can plow back such profit into your savings for long-term wealth creation.
Also Read: The Pros & Cons of Investing in SIP?
Keep Track of Your Bill Due Dates
Your credit tools run parallelly to savings and investments and can be of beneficial use if availed and managed mindfully. Innovative credit instruments like buy now pay later, EMI-based financing, credit cards, and, of course, loans and advances have changed consumer habits to a great extent through immediate gratification of their needs.
While they offer great convenience when meeting instant financing needs, the responsibility of credit tracking and timely repayment goes hand in hand. When utilizing credit, you cannot miss out on two thumb rules that come along.
First, you need to borrow as per your affordability. And secondly, you cannot miss out on the repayment schedule. Thus, tracking your bill due dates and making payments as and when needed every month is crucial.
One way to remain updated on all the credit card bills and EMIs that come up as monthly dues is to set a calendar reminder for these. You can also initiate automated payments by sending your bank standing instructions for timely payments.
Through and through, remain aware of your credit history and score, which is typically a reflection of your credit habits and instates creditworthiness.
You can maintain a comparison sheet for monthly expenditures to keep a clear picture of your spending and savings and stick to these healthy financial habits. When undertaking investments, make sure to review and reset them periodically as per the changing trends to best ride on the market nerves and benefit from it or navigate securely as the situation demands.