From Racialwealthgap.org and their Spring 2010 report, Women of Color, Wealth, and America’s Future…
With so little in reserve, half of all single black and Hispanic women could not afford to take an unpaid sick day or to even have a major appliance repaired without going into debt.
The issue of reserves, or savings, is paramount to the wealth gap in America. The same report went on to say:
Wealth, or net worth, refers to the total value of one’s assets minus debts. Without savings or wealth of some form, economic stability is built on a house of cards that quickly crumbles when income is cut or disrupted through job loss, reduced hours or pay, or if the family suffers an unexpected health emergency.
THE APPEARANCE OF WEALTH
Unfortunately much pressure is placed on the appearance of wealth versus the reality of wealth.
The appearance of wealth is things–a nice car, nice clothes and shoes, a home with tons of furniture, immaculate hair and nails, vacations, and gadgets.
The reality of wealth is planning, regular and consistent savings, living beneath ones means, and investing.
And because we are taught and encouraged to place appearance before reality, we are subject to a great financial struggle that grows and attaches itself to each generation. It’s often later in life (sometimes too late) that we learn to exercise the reality of wealth over the appearance of wealth.
THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF WEALTH – YOU NEED MORE MONEY
There is another notion of wealth that needs to be addressed, which is that more money is the solution to all financial problems. First, I’m not saying that you don’t need money, because you do, in fact, get all that you can!
What I am saying is that there is not a guarantee that as a person’s salary grows, their financial problems automatically will diminish.
Consider this, have you ever been promoted from one job to another and also experienced a pay increase? Yet, somehow you never could truly feel the extra money?!
I have and quite honestly, it irritated me beyond words!
The irritation was born out of my having to accept that while the situation had improved, somehow, I did not!
It is possible to have more money and yet not be financially better off. It happens when we fail to see that more money actually means more responsibility and accountability and when that kinds of focus is not primary, all we end up with is more stuff!
So what’s the solution? How do you go higher as you move from the appearance of wealth to the reality of wealth?
How do we ACCUMULATE resources, i.e., wealth, instead of liabilities, i.e., debt?
One, you must start as a saver and two, savers have discipline and a purpose.
Each is important because discipline keeps me on the path and purpose is the path.
WHERE DO YOU START?
Savers recognize that every bit of their income is worth more than present pleasures. Here are 4 ways to become a better saver.
1. Commit to setting up routine withdrawals from every paycheck! Automate your savings by establishing a set dollar amount to be withdrawn on each payday.
For example, on the 1st and 15th, $50 is automatically moved from your checking account into a savings account. Keep up this routine until you reach a personal goal, say $500. Once you hit the goal and notice that you are not using your savings account to make ends meet, increase the contribution!
2. Identify one service that you receive each month, eliminate it, and place that same amount in your savings account.
For example, I’m down to one hair salon visit each month. The amount that I would spend, $40, now goes in my savings account.
3. Write down one financial goal that you would like to accomplish by saving a little each month. Written goals are so powerful! Place the one goal in a place where you can see it each day. This is a motivator and reminder which helps you to stay on your chosen path.
For example, take a picture of your goal and make it the lock or home screen on your smartphone!
4. If your bank has a program to help you save money, use it!
Banks tend to have products that help customers automate savings and transfers. If you qualify for these products (most require a checking and a savings account) then enroll once you clearly understand all guidelines and requirements.
For example, there is Keep the Change®, SteadySave®, GoalTrack Savings®, My Savings Plan®, and Live Solid Savings®, which are just a few bank-structured programs to help you reach your goals. Use these tools to help build consistency and ease of tracking into your savings plan.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NEXT?
Get started right away if you are not a regular saver. Don’t wait until the next pay increase but challenge yourself to find creative ways today to save money. Once you form the habit of saving, it will become 2nd nature and you will do it without giving it much thought and that is how you take small steps today for a brighter financial future tomorrow.
Also read 26 Money Saving Tips!
Images Source: Getty Images
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