What is Financial Security?
Financial security is often a term tossed around with long-term goals. The truth is that anyone can achieve it, but very few manage to do it. It is a challenging process because not only do you need a thorough plan, but you must stay diligent until you achieve the goal. However, the meaning to people may differ depending on what they want to reach.
Being financially secure means that you no longer have to worry about money. You have peace knowing your financial situation can comfortably cover all your needs and more. It also means being in the following circumstances:
Enough savings in the bank for emergencies
Have enough income sources to cover expenses
Being free from debt
Many people believe that it takes being a millionaire or even more to reach that point. Yet, we also see how people with a lot of money can lose it. Financial security doesn’t mean living in a big house or owning expensive luxury items. It’s not about the latest sports cars or gadgets.
It means being able to pay for everything needed and still having more than enough. It also means having control over your financial situation.
Determining Financial Security
Measuring financial security can often be difficult because it can be subjective. Some people may see their goals as different from others. One may want a million dollars, while another only wants to have money left in the bank each month. We can simplify it by removing the opinions and looking at the key factors that influence financial security:
In simple terms, net worth is your total assets minus your liabilities. The ideal situation is owning assets that are worth more than you owe.
Having a high net worth means you have more income sources than expenses. A positive net worth often indicates that a person is at or near financial security. To understand assets and liabilities better, here are some examples:
Assets: House, car, money in the bank, investments, other income sources
Liabilities: Mortgage, taxes, personal debt, monthly expenses, interest
Debt to Income Ratio
Another factor to consider is the relationship between your debt and how much you earn. The higher it is, the less freedom to use your income. Conversely, having low debt means you have more control over your money. Paying off debt should be a goal to reach financial security.
One way to measure this is to check the percentage of your income going into debt payments. Freeing up more of this tied-up money will provide more financial options.
Having money left for a rainy day is always ideal. It helps cover for a period when you may experience a financial drought. If you lose your job, having no emergency savings will lead to distress and many other problems. You’ll have to measure how long you can survive if you lose your primary source of income to get an idea.
Many experts recommend at least six months of your expenses saved in an account. Some may even want to prepare more in case we ever go through another extended lockdown or an unrelated crisis. This is one of the reasons why wealthy people invest in multiple income sources — they dedicate some of the extra money to building a hefty emergency fund.
Remember that emergency funds are separate from other savings like retirement. You should have an account solely dedicated to acting as a backup when needed.
While it isn’t necessarily a measurable element, knowing how you feel about your financial situation is essential. Are you stressed or worried about your current situation? If so, then it means that you still have some ways to go before you reach financial security.
Future funds indicate income tucked away for use at a later date. These can range from appreciating assets like stocks to retirement funds. Financially secure people have at least several as a part of their portfolio. This way, they are letting their money work for them.
Obtaining Financial Security
Obtaining financial security means improving on all aspects surrounding it. Work towards steadily increasing your income, reducing debt, and building an emergency fund. The best way to approach this is to create a plan that accounts for what you have right now. You can do this while looking into how you can achieve your goals.
Remember that you don’t have to start looking at the bigger picture right away. Start small and work your way up. Here are some of the ways you can begin the path to obtaining financial security:
Begin Building Your Retirement Account As Early As Possible
Retirement may not seem like a priority because it could be years or decades away. However, if you start early, you’ll have the power of compounding on your side. You’ll reach a point where there is enough money in the account to sustain you for the remainder of your life. When considering a retirement account, check all options before committing to putting money in one.
Set a Budget
Budgeting will help you limit your expenses and see where everything is going. Understanding it will help you make better financial decisions when you want to adjust your spending. It will also ensure that you have money that goes into your emergency fund.
There are many ways to create a budget, from apps to more traditional means like paper. You can write down all your expenses and limits within a sheet to view. An app tends to be more accessible as you can track your budget through your phone. If you go over the limit, you’ll know if you need to make adjustments the following month.
Begin Paying Off Debt
Being free from debt will change your financial standing significantly. There are two ways you can approach it. You can pay off smaller debt first, eliminating the number of monthly payments and interest rates you need to deal with. Another option is to tackle the debt with the highest interest first, reducing its weight on your income and freeing up more money for other things.
Seek Out a Professional
Many of us don’t know where to begin when getting our finances straight. One of the most efficient ways to handle it is by hiring a financial planner. Tell them your goals, and they will help you create a plan that fits best for your current situation.
You Can Achieve Financial Security
With planning and dedication to your goal, you can get to a point where you are financially secure. Begin by understanding where you are right now and set your destination. You can then make moves that will steadily bring you to a place where you don’t have to worry about money.