We all know about the importance of setting and striving for specific goals in our lives, but frequently it’s harder to do than we thought. We know, in a vague way, what we would like to achieve for ourselves and our families, and we can see other people managing to have the things or experiences we would love, but the way towards them can sometimes be a little muddled. We all know the basic tenets of budgeting and saving, but putting them into effective practice can sometimes come to nothing. So many conversations around this office are based around how to achieve goals, be they personal or professional, large or small, so we are delighted to begin talking to Personal Finance Expert, Sinead Ryan, on ways to start really defining, refining and really achieving our savings goals – no matter what they may be.
Sinead worked in the financial services industry for 15 years before becoming a journalist focusing on consumer, property and personal finance issues. She is someone who ‘walks the walk’ in addition to ‘talking the talk’ and among some is considered the Queen of Mean! Her attitude to not getting ripped off, taking shops and utility providers to task and highlighting consumer problems means she’s always on the lookout for value and good customer service.
Sinead believes preparation spent and time spent before money is spent makes all the difference. It might mean sitting down with a pen and paper and making more calls than you normally would, but when it comes to banking, renewing insurance or buying something expensive, it’s always worth the effort. Financial education is in short supply, and busy family life means most of us don’t have the time to wade through renewal forms or subscription contracts, but companies count on that! Getting even a little bit more financially aware can add up to real savings.
Sinead’s Top Tips On Achieving Your Savings Goals…
There’s no mystery to savings; it’s a habit. If you had a smoking habit or a drinking habit or you eat the wrong foods, you might try to cut down or back. A spending habit is no different, but you can divert your bad habits into good savings!
1 Make savings a part of your normal expenditure, not something you do with ‘left over’ money at the end of the month. Savings should form part of your monthly budgeting and be specific in its intent. It’s not enough just to save because it’s ‘a good thing’ (although it is!) but why and what you’re saving for is important. Savings should go out of your account on payday, just like your other financial commitments.
2 Set up savings accounts for each of your goals (e.g. new car, kids education) and NAME them! It’s harder to justify siphoning it off that way and if you need money for something that crops up, you have to make a conscious decision on where to ‘steal’ it from. Delaying your holiday for a month in order to buy those shoes? Maybe you’ll think twice.
3 Teach your children the importance of budgeting and saving. Use money boxes, jars or financial institutions and get them to verbalise their financial goals – a new bicycle, or money for Christmas – they should get pocket money commensurate with their age and ‘divide it up’ just like you do!
So if you’re saving to buy a house, looking to invest in a car or simply want to flex your savings muscles, stay tuned to image.ie and pick up the next issue of IMAGE Magazine for more financial insights, top tips on de-stressing and follow our three real women as they attempt to achieve their financial goals!
To find out more about setting up a savings account with the savings specialists, RaboDirect visit RaboDirect.ie or call 1850 882 244