Here are 5 things you can do today to ensure you have enough savings to fulfil your dreams for the future.

1. Spend less than what you earn

The key is to live on less than you earn. Leave yourself some wiggle room so you don’t spend up to or above your limit. From your next pay, try to save more and spend less.

Talk to one of our experienced financial planners who can help you visualise and plan for your long-term retirement goals and try to save between 10% to 25% of your monthly salary to invest in that pursuit.

2. Make debt your friend not your enemy

The sooner people of all ages learn this fundamental philosophy, the better. If you have debt – whatever the source – organise it in order of interest rates and begin paying down the outstanding balances with the highest interest rates first. It might even be worthwhile to consider consolidating all loans under one umbrella – particularly if a lower overall interest rate can be negotiated.

The key is to clear out as much debt as possible as fast as possible so more of your monthly income can be put to use in long-term investments that will pay huge dividends in the future. Investment debt is the last debt to pay off.

3. Cash is king, keep surplus funds for emergencies

As a general rule of thumb, an emergency fund should be about three times your monthly expenses if you’re single and six times your monthly expenses if you are married or have children. Stash away whatever rainy day funds you can in the best possible interest rate or offset accounts you can find and leave it alone.

This is the parachute you may or may not need and will prevent you from taking on more debt and interrupting your established retirement savings plan when things go awry.

4. Re-evaluate your cash flow regularly

Let’s say, on average, you spend $10 a day on lunch. That’s $50 a week and $2,600 a year. If you earn $30,000 a year, you could potentially save up to 9% of your annual salary by brown-bagging your lunch. Apply the same scrutiny to coffee, drinks, cocktails after work, etc.

By reining in these non-essential expenses, you’ll have more money to throw into income-generating investments that multiply substantially over the course of three or four decades.

5. Set budgets, targets and financial goals to achieve

Having a budget enables you to maintain the four previous steps in saving money. It allows you to plan systematically to meet your goals.

The budget need not take the fun out of life but it provides a foundation upon which to build a satisfying future.