Four Financial Habits You Should Establish Sooner Rather Than Later

Believe it or not, building up your financial future isn’t about coming into some massive inheritance or being a mastermind investor. Instead, it’s about making responsible decisions and small changes over time.

Whether you’ve been struggling to save or realize that it’s time to beef up your investment portfolio, consider how establishing good financial habits today could be potentially life-changing for years to come. The takeaway here isn’t to chase secrets or quick fixes, but rather actionable advice that’ll keep more money in your pocket.

Conventional wisdom tells us that establishing any given habit takes approximately one month. So, consider the following habits you can start forming today to protect your financial future for the long haul.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Investments

Generally speaking, there probably isn’t much major movement in terms of your day-to-day cash unless you run a business. Otherwise, the only big potential shifts are going to happen in terms of your current and prospective investments.

Rather than allow potential investment opportunities pass you by, keep a close eye on trending stocks to buy on at least a daily basis. After all, you never know what might come your way unless you take the time to actually look for new opportunities.

…and Your Bank Account

Regularly checking your bank account may seem like a no-brainer; however, most people are more concerned about their social media profiles versus their bank balance. If you haven’t gotten into the habit of logging in daily or setting up alerts, you should consider doing so for the sake of security if nothing else. In many cases, bank fraud can be caught and avoided in a timely manner if you watch your statements like a hawk.

Likewise, most banks these days offer a mobile app which puts your account information directly into your pocket. In short, it’s easier than ever to make sure your finances are safe and payments are coming in or going out accordingly.

Track Your Spending Habits

Although traditional checkbook tracking has gone the way of the dinosaur, free spending trackers such as Mint have become the bread and butter of serial savers. Such apps allow you to allocate a weekly or monthly amount of your budget to expenses such as food, entertainment and other bills. Understanding how you spend objectively is the best way to change your habits and understand where your money is actually going.

For example, you might think that you have your food budget under control when in reality you’re blowing it out due to late nights out. Tracking your spending habits helps hold you accountable and also uncovers potentially opportunities to save.

Put Away Extra at End of Month

Putting away between 10 and 20 percent of your income is the “standard” for saving; however, unless you’re making a conscious effort to do so, it’s easy to sleep on your savings account. This is exactly why auto-deposit features are so important (either from your bank or employer) so you can save without thinking about it. Meanwhile, you can also go the route of simply putting away any extra cash you have into your savings account on either the last day or first of the month even if it’s more than what you usually save.

Regardless of your current financial situation, you won’t regret establishing these habits as soon as possible. Again, your financial future is all about small steps: you’ll thank yourself down the line for the changes you make today.