SLIDER

FIRST STEPS TO WEALTH BUILDING


Looking to tame your current overspending? Realizing the urgency to save for retirement? Here are three easy steps to grow your sparse pennies into stacks of benjamins.

Saving money starts in your head. First, identify those costly temptations. Did beauty youtubers compel you to buy a barely noticeable highlighter or a second cleanser? Don't underestimate the power of those tiny Costco finger food samples. You'll be walking out with three boxes of mini quiches. The key is to avoid these enticements. Much like going to the gym, training your brain to spend wisely will get easier over time.

Secondly, make sure your money has a comfortable place to stay. Find a bank that yields interest, a place where your money can grow. Online banks like Marcus by Goldman Sachs, American Express and Ally have the highest interest rates and the lowest fees. These online banks also offer services that help you manage your money better. Automated payments, mobile check deposit, and access to your credit score are among the many offerings that can help you save. These are much better banking options than the traditional brick and mortar institutions. Check out Nerdwallet's website for the best banks and financial products.

The third and last step is saving for your future self. Retirement is inevitable regardless of how far away it may seem right now. Start putting away money in your retirement account. These accounts keep your money invested in stocks, bonds and funds in order to make it grow large enough for the time you retire. Unlike brokerage accounts, retirement accounts won't significantly reduce your earnings through taxes and fees. Your money grows tax deferred over time.

Having an account with the word Roth means you will be taxed up front but not upon withdrawal. However if you are under 59 1/2, you will have to pay taxes on your earnings. If you see 401k in your account name, it means you have a company sponsored account. Employers can choose to add free money, matching a specific percentage of your contributions. Retirement accounts have so many benefits that people tend to overlook. Be sure to max out how much you contribute before considering alternative investments.

If you have extra money after maxing out your retirement account, think about purchasing index funds. These are a type of mutual fund that tracks a specific index. One popular index is the Standard and Poor's 500. It tracks 500 of the top companies in the United States. These index funds have low fees because they are not actively managed by people. They automatically mimic the index they track. It never hurts to put extra money to work as long as it is done wisely.


Regardless of how far along you are in your money journey, keep in mind that it takes time, patience and diligence to be financially free. It is not something that happens overnight so don't feel pressured. Like everything else, money management just needs to be done one baby step at a time.

Photos by: Steve Johnson & Sharon McCutcheon

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