If you’re young and care-free, retirement may seem like a lifetime away. But it’s never too early to start saving and planning for your financial future. Even if you’re not putting a pension pot away, you never know when savings could come in handy. Life can throw us curveballs, and you may need to call on that rainy day fund. If you’re keen to get your finances in order, here are some tips to help you plan ahead.

Work to a budget

Budgeting is not just for chancellors and treasurers. Every individual can benefit from learning to budget. When you draw up a budget, you can balance your books, and work out how your income and spending compare. Do you tend to go days or even weeks without checking your balance? Are you always short at the end of the month? If so, sticking to a budget could really help to get your finances in order.

Budgeting is simple if you know what to do. You can use high-tech gadgets and apps to track your spending. Or you can stick to spreadsheets or even pen and paper. The aim of the exercise is to determine how much money you have coming in, and how much is going out. Once you have the figures, you can work out what’s left over. When you have a good idea of your monthly surplus, you can start saving. Set aside a sum every month, and transfer it to a different account. You may choose to open a new savings account. Or you may wish to add to an existing fund. If your circumstances change, make sure you adapt your budget. There may be some months when you have more to put away and others where things are a little tighter.

Get to grips with your employee benefits

If you’re employed, you probably have a benefits package of some description. One important consideration is superannuation. This is a fund supplied by employers that is used for retirement. Your employer will contribute to your super. However, it’s also advisable to top it up yourself. The more you can save while you’re working, the higher your income in later life. There are various superannuation schemes available, including Nationwide Super. It’s a good idea to do your homework to determine which fund is best for you.

Invest in financial protection

Have you ever thought what you would do if you couldn’t work all of a sudden? I guess that’s all about planning for your financial future is all about right? Have you got plans in place if you lose your job or you can’t work anymore for health reasons? Thinking about accidents, unemployment or illness is not something many of us like to do. But these are realities that we may face. It’s always preferable to be prepared, just in case. As well as saving money, you may also be interested in taking out insurance policies. If you’re self-employed, income protection may help to bridge a gap if you can’t work for a period of time. If you can’t work and you have dependents, critical illness cover could help to provide for your family.

We often moan that time flies. We may feel young and healthy now, but it’s never too soon to start planning ahead. Take these tips on board to help you save and protect your income in later life.

Become a side-hustle master

One of the simplest ways? Just make more money to plan for your financial future. There are many ways you can earn money from the internet these days. If you don’t know where to start or want more ideas, read my 50+ ways to make an income online from home as a blogger or entrepreneur for more ideas than the simple start your own blog (you probably already tried that once?!) and the ‘fill in surveys’ ideas. Although these are great ways to earn some money, they might not be the fastest road. I’ve created a 21-day challenge to challenge you to earn an extra $5000 in just three weeks by changing the marketing strategies of your business or blog. If you’re curious, check out the challenge here.

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