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4 Steps You Can Take Today to Secure Your Financial Future

Life's busyness affects us all, from managing personal commitments to navigating the ever-growing to-do lists that seem to define our days. Finding the time to meticulously plan our finances can feel like an overwhelming addition to an already packed schedule. Yet, postponing this crucial planning can lead to missed opportunities for securing a successful financial future. To help navigate these challenges, here are four straightforward strategies that anyone, regardless of their life stage or responsibilities, can start implementing today. These steps are designed to bring financial peace of mind without contributing to the chaos of daily life.

Millennial woman looking up budgeting tools on laptop in home

1. Embrace Budgeting Tools

Budgeting is often misunderstood as restrictive, but it’s actually a liberating tool for managing finances. It provides a clear snapshot of where your money is going, helping identify opportunities to save or reallocate funds more effectively. Many financial advisors provide access to budgeting tools that can simplify this process. However, if you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, a quick Google search can reveal a variety of top-rated budgeting apps. The key is to find a tool that meets your individual needs and, most importantly, one that you will consistently use. This approach transforms what could be a tedious task into a quick check-in on your financial health, making money management less about restriction and more about empowerment.

2. Automate Your Savings

One of the simplest yet most effective steps you can take is to automate your savings. By setting up automatic transfers to your savings account and investment portfolio, you ensure that you're consistently building your nest egg without having to think about it each month. It's a set-it-and-forget-it approach that guarantees your savings grow, even when your focus is elsewhere.

3. Prioritize Investing

Investing is a cornerstone of financial security. The magic of compound interest means that the sooner you start, the more you stand to gain. However, it's essential to understand that it's never too late to start. For those who may feel they're getting a late jump on their investment journey, focusing on setting aside a portion of your income consistently towards a diversified portfolio can still yield impressive results. Diversification, or spreading your investments across various asset classes, can help manage risk and increase the potential for returns. Remember, every step taken today towards investing is a step towards a more financially secure future. The key is to begin with whatever resources you have available, making informed decisions that align with your long-term goals and risk tolerance.

Here’s how to approach it, regardless of where you are in your financial journey:

1. Start with Retirement Accounts: Initially, focus on retirement accounts. If your employer offers a 401(k) with a match, contribute enough to capture this match—it's essentially free money.

2. Consider a Roth IRA: Next, explore contributing to a Roth IRA. Unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs offer tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement, making them an attractive option for many, especially if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket. The ability to withdraw your contributions (but not earnings) without penalty before retirement provides additional flexibility.

3. Maximize Contributions: Aim to maximize your contributions to the retirement accounts if possible. The tax advantages of these accounts can significantly enhance your savings over time.

4. Expand Beyond Retirement Savings: Once you're on track with your retirement accounts, diversify with a taxable investment account. This allows you to invest for other goals beyond retirement, with more flexibility in accessing funds.

4. Consult a Fiduciary Financial Advisor

With all of life's responsibilities, keeping up with personal finances can feel really daunting. This is where partnering with a fiduciary financial advisor can make a significant difference. These professionals are committed to your best interest, offering customized advice that considers your unique financial situation and goals. With their expertise, you can navigate through life's changes and economic shifts confidently, keeping your financial plan both dynamic and resilient. Regular meetings with your advisor ensure your strategy stays on track, freeing you to focus on what's truly important.

Tori Anguiano meeting with client

Incorporating good financial habits into your busy life will ensure that your efforts today reflect positively on your future. For those seeking to expand their financial knowledge or in need of personalized guidance, our team at Baker Boyer is ready to support you every step of the way.