Although the long-standing effects of the 2009 global recession continue to impact households throughout the U.S., it is worth noting that 2011 has provided some respite for consumers. On average, the levels of disposable income per household have risen since the turn of the year, with October alone witnessing an increase of 0.3% from the previous month. This would suggest that now is the time to boost your personal savings, and commit to laying the foundation for a stable financial future. (For related reading, see Increase Your Disposable Income.)
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Starting from Scratch
When your disposable income suddenly increases, the most natural human instinct is to spend. That said, it is this inclination to spend without consideration that is partially accountable for the high levels of consumer debt in the U.S., which has left many individuals facing a bleak financial future. By investing any additional disposable income into personal savings you are taking steps to becoming financially independent, and envisaging a future where you are not solely reliant on pensions or the value of property.
Regardless of your age or circumstances, considering your retirement plan is a good gauge of where you are and where you would like to be financially. There is an innovative online tool called the retirement calculator, and this processes your fiscal information to estimate the levels of monthly income that you can expect from your pension once you have ceased to work. You may well be disappointed at the level of income you can expect, and this only emphasizes the need to invest in savings when the opportunity arises. (To learn more, read How To Create An Effective Retirement Income Strategy.)
Make Financial Savings
While certain tax reforms and salary increases can lead to higher levels of disposable income, these factors are in no way guaranteed within an economy with high unemployment and restricted job creation. Once you decide to commit to investing in your personal savings, you should also take steps to maximize your income by minimizing your expenditure. This process begins by cutting all unnecessary expenditure from your budget, and eradicating personal debt has the potential to save you thousands of dollars in the long term.
With credit card debt accounting for nearly 98% of the nation's total revolving debt, there is a clear need for consumers to reduce this in order to boost their personal savings. In addition to this, an active credit card can actually be used to help you save money on purchases through specific reward programs, while you can also transfer the balance of outstanding loans to reduce your interest liability. For long-term solvency, it is a beneficial practice to diminish your credit card debt, reduce the credit limit on each of your cards and start to use them to your advantage. (Read Credit Card Perks You Never Knew You Had to learn more about credit cards rewards.)
Choosing the Right Savings Account
While having money to invest into savings is crucial in today's economic climate, it is only half of the battle when it comes to securing a financially sound future. You must invest your money into a suitable outlet, and a long-term savings account should offer both high interest rates and limited accessibility. This way you can secure the very best financial return on your investment, and ensure that the cash you have committed is not easy to withdraw or utilize without good purpose.
Consider high-yield account options that are suited to long-term saving, which offer inflated interest rates that will ultimately deliver more value for your investment. These inflated rates of interest are made possible as the accounts are almost exclusively available and accessible online, which reduces the lender's overhead significantly. Follow this by declining to accept any debit or credit card that is available with the account, as this also resists the temptation to make any ill considered or impulse cash withdrawals. (For more information, read Handling High-Yield Savings Accounts.)
The Bottom Line
With rays of light cutting through the financial gloom that surrounds the consumer, now is an ideal time to challenge your fiscal practice and build a vast resource of personal savings. By recognizing the need to change and taking practical steps to boost your disposable income, it is possible to invest in your future now and create the platform for financial independence.