By setting goals and assessing the flow of your money you can establish a cash flow plan
Even when we know how to save in theory, putting our knowledge into an actionable plan can be a challenge. Start new habits by following these six quick tips.
Set ambitious, but realistic goalsThe first step to building better cash flow is to visualise where you want to be financially. The best way to do that is to write down your financial goals.
Make sure you don't limit your goals to what you think is achievable now. If you are really serious about changing the way you manage money, write down 'stretch goals' – targets that will demand continuous improvements in your performance but are not impossible to achieve – and put a time limit on them to help you track progress.
When setting your goals there are a number of factors you should consider:
- your age
- your health
- upcoming financial commitments
- short-term obligations
- existing debts and assets
- likely income.
Pay yourself firstOne of the most difficult (but important) aspects of cash flow management is having the discipline to pay yourself a set amount to cover your day-to-day living expenses. By using a central cash hub, such as a Macquarie Cash Management Account (CMA), you can arrange to have your living expenses transferred into a transactional account and bills automatically paid. Meanwhile, the remainder of your salary accumulates in the cash hub, so the money you have worked hard for starts working hard for you by earning interest
Review the flow of your moneyIt helps to think like a business. They measure the money coming in against what is spent, as well as looking at what they own versus what they owe. They use this information to make financial decisions such as investment, borrowing, cost-cutting and expenditure.
It's important to understand how these measures connect. When you can see the connection between money in (income) and money out (expenses), as well as what you own (assets) and what you owe (liabilities) it reinforces the importance of building assets that may help you generate income, and reducing the liabilities that create expense.
Once you have committed to a list of goals, you will have a stronger motivation to change your money habits.
Consider your costs versus incomeHaving a view of your expenses against your income will also lead you to understand the status of your cash flow. By simply understanding how much you are spending versus how much you have coming in, will allow you to have visibility over your potential to save.
Best practice is to look to minimise your costs in relation to your income. If you can calculate the proportion of your income that goes to meeting your expenses, you will be better placed to save money, reduce debt and start to build positive cash flow. It will potentially help you identify key areas where you are spending more than you realised.
Start budgetingThe first step towards achieving your financial goals is to have a budget or cash flow plan. Your budget should take into account your entire financial position so it is important to make a list of all of your expenses. Speak to your financial adviser or accountant who can provide some useful tools to get you started. Once you have a written budget, you might be able to see how a number of your expenses fall into a certain category, such as 'entertainment'. Visualising the percentage of your money going into these categories is often a good opportunity to reprioritise your spending.
Get adviceThere are a range of financial services professionals who can help you to get and stay on track towards achieving your financial goals, but it can be hard to know who to speak to. Understand the role of each financial services professional and then choose the one(s) who you think are able to give you the specific advice you require.
To find out more about the cash management options available to you, call 13 62 00 to speak with a Macquarie specialist.