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3 actionable steps to improve your finances

There’s no getting away from the fact that money is needed for lots of things that we need in our lives.

Want some money from the supermarket or a café? It costs money.

The roof over your head? Costs money, even if it’s just the council rates.

Home internet? Phone? Energy? All cost money.

That’s why I think it’s important that everyone should have a good understanding of their money and put themselves on the right path.

Here are three actionable steps to improve your finances:

Improve your savings rate

I think it can be unhealthy to try to save every last cent, although there is something to be said for enjoy at least some of your money in the moment. There’s not much use saving up all your holidays for when you’re 100. However, I think a good step can be to improve your savings rate a little. 

If you earn minimal income then it can be hard to make a big difference with your money. Every budget is different but I think it’s certainly possible to find savings of at least $200 a month to improve your financial situation.

Start by building a $1,000 emergency fund and then you can build from there.

The difference between saving 4% of your income and saving 5% could be huge over a lifetime. There are several free tools out there to consider such as a big bank’s income & expense tracking tools offering like Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (ASX: CBA), or Zip Co Ltd’s (ASX: Z1P) Pocketbook.

Start investing

The best way to help your finances for the long-term is to invest in cashflow positive assets such as shares.

Businesses have proven to generate compounded returns of around 10% a year over the long-term and we can access that through exchange-traded funds (ETFs) like iShares S&P 500 ETF (ASX: IVV) and BetaShares Australia 200 ETF (ASX: A200).

Other ideas are growth shares like Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL), WAM Microcap Limited (ASX: WMI) and MFF Capital Investments Ltd (ASX: MFF) could also be good ideas.

Think about how much you want at retirement

One of the most important aspects of money is retirement. You can’t suddenly magic up an extra $500,000 when you’re about to retire.

You need to give yourself plenty of time, preferably decades, to reach your retirement target. That’s why I think it’s important to, as early as possible, do a little planning to see how much you may have to contribute to reach your desired retirement goal.

Foolish takeaway

Doing all three of these actions could help your finances enormously for the rest of your life.

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Tristan Harrison owns shares of Magellan Flagship Fund Ltd, WAM MICRO FPO, and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of ZIPCOLTD FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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