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To save more money, find your why.

Have you ever said to yourself “I’m going to buckle down and start saving money?”

Did you get "really serious" about it? Writing out a budget - maybe even downloading the Mint app.

And then almost immediately went back to spending recklessly and wondering where everything went at the end of the month?

A lot of us have.

Saving without a goal is ineffective. Our brain needs a reason (a compelling one) to give up short-term or instant gratification (buying new Louboutins today) in exchange for a longer-term reward (a trip to Greece at the end of the year) or an even more distant goal (retiring in 50 years).

I started out my career saving the standard 10% for retirement, but I didn't get good at saving beyond that until I set a financial independence goal.

I had to plan and visualize: “In 10 years, I want to retire from my corporate career and travel around the world, only working if and when I want to, on projects that excite me, while being able to maintain a high-standard of living, including high-investment parenting.”

From there, I had to determine how much money that required, and work backwards to map that to a monthly savings goal. I did this while simultaneously working on strategically increasing my income.

Now, those systems are largely on auto-pilot. I use sub-accounts in my brokerage to save for smaller goals like:

  • Back-packing Southeast Asia in early 2018
  • Traveling Europe for 6 months in Spring / Summer 2019
  • Maintaining an education fund (I invest a solid five-figures annually on different learning opportunities) 

My brokerage makes this super easy - they let me manage big one account and direct money into different sub-accounts that have different asset allocations, goals, and timelines.

The point is: Goal-based investing, or saving with the end in the mind, is the key to sustainability in your savings plan. Robo-advisors like Betterment even use this type of behavioral science to design their software. When your money has a clear target (e.g. a honeymoon in the Philippines or a wedding in Paris) instead of a vague one (saving…because I should???), you’re much more likely to stick to the plan.

What are some of your big savings goals?

Pick one.

Then, create a sub-account in your brokerage or savings accounts to help you map to that goal.


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