YOUR DREAM BOAT
Wondering how you can afford it? Here are three simple moves you should make – right now.
“AMERICA IS TOO GREAT for small dreams.” When Ronald Reagan shared these inspirational words in his 1984 State of the Union address, he was challenging Congress to fund the country’s first space station program. But he was also speaking to each and every American about our dreams – about the legacies we want to build, the places we want to visit, and the adventures we long to experience.
Whether your dream is a starter yacht or a brand-new fishing boat, we want to help make it a reality. But let’s be honest: It’s not easy! Major investments require a lot of discipline and smart, longterm thinking, and knowing where to start can be very challenging.
We consulted a diverse group of financial experts and distilled their best advice for anyone who wants to grow their savings during turbulent times. These tips are time—tested and very easy to execute; you won’t need an expensive advisor or pay pricy fees. What’s more, these tips are tailored for today’s market conditions. Right now, we all need a plan to weather the impacts of trade wars and fluctuating stock values – not to mention the recession many analysts are predicting will hit in the next 24 months.
Here are three simple, actionable steps to make your dream come true.
ONE AUDIT YOUR MONTHLY SPENDING
Do you grab a $5 latte en route to work? Warren Buffett doesn’t. Did you upgrade your car and wardrobe after your last raise? Mark Zuckerberg didn’t; he still wears t-shirts and drives a Volkswagen. And then there’s Danica Patrick, who’s worth more than $60 million but still cooks her own meals while traveling.
The common theme is frugality, a practice that many self-made millionaires credit for their wealth. It’s a practice that’s easy to mimic – provided you know how much you’re really spending and stick religiously to a more conservative plan.
Start by self-auditing your monthly expenses.
Grab your credit card bills and bank statement, then open a worksheet on your computer or download a personal budget app like Mint, Wally, or YNAB. Catalog your spending by category: groceries, entertainment, insurance, mortgage, and so on. Most apps will upload data from your spending accounts.
Once you’ve totaled at least three months of expenses, you’ll probably be surprised by some of the figures. For many of us, it’s the casual treats and impulse buys: A twice-a-day latte habit can cost $2,500 a year.
The next step is to question every eye-catching number. Can you live without a new car this year? How about a national park vacation instead of a Caribbean resort? And that coffee habit: Invested at a 6% return, that $2,500 a year for latte would be worth $100,000 in 20 years.
Last, write down your plan and stick to it. Better yet, use an app that automatically cuts you off once you reach a pre-set spending threshold.
T WO PAY THE BOAT BEFORE YOU PAY YOURSELF
According to a recent study, only 25% of working Americans follow the first commandment of wealth management by setting aside a portion of each paycheck as savings. Psychologists and financial experts say this comes partly from reckless spending and the lack of a disciplined budget, and partly from the absence of a tangible goal. When we’re saving for an indistinct, far-away goal like retirement, we tend not to allocate as many dollars as when we have a specific dream in sight.
The good news is that you’ve learned how to audit your spending and create a budget – and you have a tangible goal to give urgency to your saving. Right now, before you forget, set up an automatic deduction that goes straight into your “dream boat” fund. Just $250 per paycheck could turn into $225,000 over 20 years.
THREE DIVERSIFY YOUR SAVINGS
Before you allocate a portion of your paycheck to a mutual fund or 401k, look at the mix of your investments. Are you heavily weighted into stocks, like many Americans? In the last recession, many funds dropped 30% to 40% overnight, and it’s taken years to get the value back.
With analysts predicting another correction, you should consider putting a healthy portion of your boat fund in gold to keep it safe. It’s the oldest and safest form of savings, having held its value through innumerable bank crises,