Begin by taking stock of your own financial situation. Review your goals and make sure you’re on track to reach them. If a discrepancy exists between what you should do and what you actually do, take action.
Start at home
For example, if you want to save 12%–15% of your income (including your company match) for retirement, and you’re currently saving 8%, schedule an annual automatic increase or commit to manually increasing your savings rate by 1% or more each year for the next four to seven years. Then hold yourself accountable. If you need help staying motivated, consider partnering with an investing coach who can help you stay focused.
Looking for more than a conversation?
Your financial house doesn’t have to be perfectly in order before you broach the subject of money with someone you trust. You may be surprised that you’re not the only one who makes impulsive purchases, struggles with prioritizing multiple savings goals, or reacts hastily to market volatility. Having an honest conversation with others can help you be honest with yourself so you can recognize both your strengths and opportunity areas.
For example, you may be a disciplined investor, but you struggle with indecision over choosing individual investments. Awareness of your tendency to “park” your savings in a money market fund will help you know what resources—online tools, questionnaires, or even advice services—to seek out.
Having an informal conversation with a friend or relative can increase your confidence and make you aware of new strategies (such as using a Roth IRA for tax diversification or saving for future healthcare costs in a health savings account) to potentially include in your financial plan.
Now you’re talking
Here are some conversation-starting ideas:
- Bring up a relevant news article or blog post you recently read and ask others about their take on the topic. (Check out our news page or see what our experts have to say on the Vanguard Blog.)
- Talk about what motivated you to start saving for retirement, college, or other goals. Or, on the flip side, talk about what’s holding you back from starting.
- Discuss a hypothetical situation. For example, 44% of those who have won large lottery prizes were broke within five years, according to a 2015 Camelot Group study. If you received a windfall, what would you do? (You may be surprised at how lively a discussion over a “what if” scenario can be.)
- Set the stage for a future conversation by sharing a news article with a friend or family member. When you’re on vanguard.com, just click E-mail or Share at the top or bottom of the page.
Actions speak louder than wordsYou don’t have to be an ambassador of financial awareness. Investing—and communicating honestly about your financial priorities, triumphs, and challenges—will not only motivate you, but also inspire others to think long-term.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.