The principle of saving was something that I learned at an early age. There weren’t any formal sit-down lessons, but I took note as I watched my mother clip coupons, set aside money for savings and 10% for tithing. Even though she brought home less than $14,000/year, often juggling three jobs as a single parent, in our household there were no excuses for not saving. She held my younger brother and I to the same standard. I automatically knew that after tithing, a percentage of the money I received from birthdays, holidays, or for good grades would be brought down to my local bank at the end of the week.
I looked forward to getting my passport savings book stamped and tracking my savings. Watching my money grow and then getting interest on my savings was a fascinating concept. So when I got my first job at 14 stocking the supply room shelves for a local nursing home and then at 16 for a sneaker and apparel store, I had developed a discipline to pay myself first. Sure, things got more complicated after I went to college and then moved out on my own. There was rent, utilities, a cell phone bill, entertainment, college related expenses etc., but saving a percentage of whatever income I brought in remained priority. By 24, I had saved $10,000.
I share my story with you because I want to drill in the fact that anyone, at any age, can save. Even through life’s changes, although you may have to adjust your budget, becoming disciplined in your savings will make you more successful in meeting other financial commitments later in life.
That’s why being the editor for Black Enterprise’s Wealth for Life initiative for the past three years brings me so much joy. I’ve been witness to some great wins by our subjects, like 30-year-old Monique Harps, who eliminated $72,000 in debt in four years, or Magda Brown, who purchased her first home in New York City when she was just 26-years-old. And then there was the Foy family, who by the age of 42 have amassed almost half a million dollars in their retirement accounts, and countless others subjects who have reached their financial goals and used their success to give back to their communities.
What makes them any different than you? What makes me any different than you? Nothing! There is no secret, no overnight gimmicks, and no magic wand.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to get started or being consistent, the #WealthforLife Wednesdays series is for you. Here’s how it works: Each month we’ll focus on one of our 10 Wealth for Life Principles. This month we’re going to focus on Principle No. 4: I will save at least 10% of my income.
Check back each Wednesday in May for tips, tools and resources on how to create a budget, how to put your savings on autopilot, apps to help you save, and upcoming Twitter Chats with our team of personal finance experts. In coming months, we’ll deal with debt, homeownership, planning for retirement, and the full range of financial issues.
Together, we’re going to turbocharge your savings and net worth! Let’s encourage one another and share our wins via Twitter using hashtag #WealthforLife or in the comments section below. Follow me @LaToyaReports.
Before joining our movement, I want you to practice removing negative thinking and excuses about saving. You can and you will.
Also, check out this post on how to create a budget. Before you can determine how much you can save, you have to know where your money is going.
Need a boost? Enter our Financial Fitness Contest for a chance to win $2,000 and a one-hour session with a certified financial planner: http://bit.ly/12FitSo