With roughly one in three Americans struggling to pay their bills, it’s no secret that many individuals are further away from obtaining financial freedom than they would like to be. There’s no better time than now for consumers to reevaluate their finances, and take the necessary steps to get on track. Regardless of income or social status, here are a few steps to take when seeking to obtain financial freedom.
Assess Net Worth
A great way to begin your quest for financial freedom is assessing your net worth. Not to be confused with income, net worth is the difference between a consumer’s assets and liabilities. It’s calculated by taking a consumer’s total assets, such as stocks and money, and subtracting it by his or her total liabilities, such as loans and credit card debt. Analyzing net worth can help consumers gain a better understanding of their finances.
Tracking expenses is another step to obtaining financial freedom. The average consumer buys hundreds of products and services each month, some of which are essential while others are not. To see where their money is going, consumers should record their monthly expenses, including the product or service purchased as well as its cost.
Obtaining financial freedom requires saving money. 39 percent of Americans either don’t have a savings account or have minimal to zero funds in it. Consumers should ideally save 10 percent of their income each month. That may sound insignificant, but 10 percent quickly adds up over time. Some employers even offer automatic deposits into separate bank accounts, allowing consumers to have a specified amount of money automatically deducted from their check and deposited into a savings account at the end of each pay period.
Pay Off Debt
Debt is perhaps the biggest roadblock preventing consumers from achieving financial freedom. Rather than paying only the minimum amount on credit card and loan bills, consumers should pay as they much they feasibly can. This reduces the amount of money that consumers pay in interest, thereby allowing them to save more money.
Consumers must adjust their lifestyle according to their income so that they aren’t spending an excessive amount. If a consumer spends more money than the amount he or she earns, their savings will dry up and they’ll struggle to obtain financial freedom.
Financial hardship is something that nearly everyone experiences. Those who take the necessary steps to turn their situation around, however, can prevent it from affecting their quality of life.