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  • Ways to secure your finances

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    Now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you approach the rest of the year. More specifically, think about how you can make this the year where you truly make yourself financially secure.

    Everyone has a different idea of how to ensure their finances are properly managed, but by following a few standards, you can protect yourself and manage your wealth to prevent living paycheck to paycheck.

    Maintain a simple lifestyle
    Unless you can afford to do so, your lifestyle should be relatively simple. This means you shouldn't go out to eat every night or spend more on entertainment than you put into your savings and retirement accounts. If you're a renter, try to live in places you can afford, or consider having roommates to help make rent more affordable, as well as utility bills. For future homeowners, you don't want to buy a house and take on a mortgage you clearly can't afford.

    Prioritizing your expenses is a good way to maintain simplicity. Start with the most urgent needs: housing, utilities, food and transportation. From there, ensure your monthly contributions to emergency savings, long-term savings and your 401(k) are consistent and are the same amount.

    Building financial security entails building a safety net in case of emergency, such as sudden unemployment or costly car repairs. For most individuals, savings accounts should have roughly three to five months worth of salary that you can rely on.

    However, financial security isn't only about the immediate future. You also need to plan for the future because you won't be working forever. By setting aside money in a 401(k) and other investment portfolios, you're setting yourself up to enjoy retirement and the following years.

    You won't achieve financial security by spending lavishly when you can least afford to. You don't necessarily have to remove all the fun from your life, but instead spend and save wisely.

    In an age of social media and where everyone is always sharing their daily life occurrences, you might feel pressured to go out more often or buy more expensive items. But to build financial security, you must make sound decisions.

    One action you should take is to automate your savings. Sign up for a 401(k) through your current employer - if they offer one - and set it up so money is automatically withdrawn from your check. Do the same for your savings account. This way, you don't have to remember to manually transfer the money, and it helps you avoid the habit of only sporadically saving.

    You'll then reach a point where the days of living paycheck to paycheck are over and you can start to build wealth.

    Dabble in investing
    Once you've built up your savings account and have a strong safety net, start investing. Doing so will require patience, and some risk is involved, but if you carefully plot every move, you'll build wealth.

    According to CNN Money, a good way to do so is to build a broad, diversified portfolio containing low-cost index funds and exchange-traded funds [1]. You can either do this on your own, or seek the help of an advisory service that will manage your portfolio for a small fee.

    Remain focused
    Building financial security and wealth isn't easy, nor does it happen overnight - unless you win a history making Powerball. You will experience trying times that will make you question why you're saving so much, especially if you find yourself unable to purchase a new smartphone or see your favorite band in concert.

    Fight through those urges and you will benefit in the long term.

    [1]. 3 things you must do to achieve financial security



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