One of the most important factors of building wealth of any kind is to start paying yourself. It does not matter the amount that you pay, even if it is a small amount, the most vital part is that it will accumulate over time. In Tony Robbins, ‘Money Master the Game’, it mentions the power of compounding where it explains that time can actually make a small amount accumulate so that when you get to retirement age you will have a healthy pension retirement fund. It also tells us that it is very important to start paying ourselves no matter what the income level is. Some people may question the fact that they will be living on paycheque by paycheque but the point is that you should not wait until you are earning over a certain amount before you start paying yourself. As long as you are receiving an income, you should pay yourself and then eventually start to think about planning and paying your bills etc.
In this article, we will be breaking the whole process down into a couple of steps in order to make things clear on how you can pay yourself and how you can make the idea of paying yourself more fun and positive.
Be Clear with Your Value and Objective
First of all, in order to not forget to pay yourself you will need to prioritise your needs. You cannot neglect your needs and then think about paying yourself. If you do not know what you need and if you do not prioritise your own needs then it is very hard to make things easy. You need to decide how much you need to pay your bills, groceries etc. You will also need to consider the other aspects that are important to you because if you are living under a certain budget then you cannot have a lot of luxury things. You need to decide on what you value the most. For example, if you value going out that is completely fine but you would need to let go of what is not important in order to fund the parts of your life that are the most important to you. Always know your value, know what you need and be clear on why you need that extra money.
Set Income Goal
After you have decided what you need the extra money for and why, you can start to set an income goal. It does not matter whether you are self-employed or employed, you are always able to set an income goal. If something is really important to you, you will always find the extra money. When people state they cannot afford something what it really shows is that they do not want to do whatever it takes to pay for that or they choose not to buy that. Instead of saying you cannot afford something you should start to ask yourself how can you make it affordable and then set some income goals.
If you are self-employed, you might want to work backwards and figure out how much you need to fulfil your needs and the things you value the most. You are then able to work out your bare minimum and how much you have to earn as a minimum for that particular month in order to support yourself. If you are on a fixed-contract or if you are an employee, you can still set some goals based on how much you actually need in order to support the lifestyle you really want. You might want to consider negotiating a pay rise or sell some unused items from your home to create some income.
Put a % of Income Aside First
Whenever you have a pay cheque, you need to make sure you put a small percentage aside for your long term financial future. You should not wait to pay yourself after you have paid for the expenses and there is a bit of money left over. It will not work this way, you need to make sure you pay yourself first before anything else.
When you have a business, you need to use the same concept. Whenever a customer or client pay you, you need to put aside a small percentage first and then use the rest to pay bills or expenses. If you find out you do not have enough money to fund your expenses it does not mean you have to borrow from yourself, it just means you need to re-think your current strategy. You have to strategize your business to make sure you are making extra income or figure out if there are any expenses that you can save for the time being.
This concept works for personal finance too. If you are an employee, when you receive your net pay, you can put a small percentage into your pension pot. This is a very tax efficient approach because every £80 you pay in; the government will put £20 on top and for a higher rate tax payer the government will top up even more. Paying your pension means you will get 25% return and no other investment can be as good as that.
You can also consider putting money into an ISA which will allow you to earn some tax-free interest. If you have an investment ISA or if you sell the shares then all the dividends you get from your ISA wrapper is tax-free as well.
When you are a business owner, especially a limited company, once you decide how much money you need to fund your lifestyle it is important to go through everything with your tax advisor or accountant. You need to make sure you are extracting money in a tax-efficient way and doing it properly because when you have a limited company you cannot randomly withdraw money. You can either have a salary or dividends but you would need to work out which option is the most tax-efficient. If you have a home-based business, there are certain expenses you can claim as a business expense and you can let your company pay for it. An example of a type of business expense is use of home, which means that if you are working from home a portion of your bills will be paid for by your business.
If you are self-employed, there is no restriction. Whatever you earn, you can use as long as you have sufficient funds to pay all of your expenses as well as your tax bill. There are certain strategies as mentioned that you can use such as pension contribution and the ISA wrapper.
If you are earning really good profit but for some reason you cannot incorporate as a company it is best to consider taking more advanced advice on things like Venture Capital Trust investment which will give you good tax relief as well. Every £10,000 you invest will give you back £3,000. However, please note that this type of investment is very risky as it involves funding start-up businesses and it is likely that they will fail. If they succeed you will get tax-free dividends.
If you are running a profitable business from a limited company, you can think about retaining some money. You do not need to extract the money if you already have enough to fulfil your needs. Business can sometimes slow down, it is always ideal if you have money to have it in a vault account. You can also set up investment funds under the company name in order to keep the cash in there and get some return.
If you find this content useful, we do provide tailored professional advice on your personal or business tax matters. If you are interested, please direct message the author of this article so we can arrange a chat.