To set yourself up for financial success, it helps to have a routine. "There's a reason athletes have routines. There's a reason CEOs tend to wear the same clothes," says Ryan Holiday, author of the bestselling book "Stillness Is the Key."
Every time we make a decision, there's a "transaction cost," Holiday says, which can leave us exhausted. Routines take the stress out of making decisions, letting you conserve energy — and hopefully make smarter choices.
"Set up systems and routines," he says. "You only have to do it once and the decision is made for you." From a financial standpoint, that means "limiting the amount of money that you have to think about, that you have to make decisions about."
Here are two easy ways you can do that — both of which can have a real impact on your wealth down the line.
Video by Jason Armesto
Automatic contributions help you commit to your saving and investing goals. They ensure you're regularly putting money aside when you might otherwise be tempted to spend it.
"The vast majority of the money that comes in? I never see it," says Holiday, because it goes straight to his goals. The routine has helped him build up his savings significantly over the years.
You can sign up to automatically contribute part of each paycheck to your retirement accounts and to set up recurring transfers with your bank to fund your savings. Your employer's payroll department may also be able to split your paycheck — for example, sending 15% to a savings account and the rest into your checking account.
Some retirement plan providers will let you sign up to automatically increase the amount you're contributing to your retirement accounts over time. Typically, this feature will boost your contribution by 1% each year. You may be able to time the increase to when your company hands out pay raises.
This gradually increases how much money you're putting aside for the future, which can help you get and stay on track to retire comfortably.
"Increasing your contribution rate, even by 1%, can make a big difference in your long-term retirement savings," Kevin Barry, president of workplace investing at Fidelity Investments, recently told Grow. "What may seem like a small amount today can have a significant impact on your account balance in 10 or 20 years."
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