Pay yourself first!

Your paycheck is in your pocket, ready to be cashed. Or, it has been directly deposited to your checking account. Either way, your next step will probably be to start drawing from that cash to take care of your expenses.

With any luck, there might be something left over — to add to your savings, investments, or “emergency fund.”

If that’s the way payday works in your household, you’re doing it all wrong say financial advisors and retirement planners.

You should reverse your payment routine, and pay yourself first!

Do it every payday, even if it means cutting down on discretionary spending. If you can have your saving goal deducted directly from your paycheck, all the better. Or, arrange for an automatic transfer from checking to savings.

Resist the temptation to skip a payment. Resolve to set aside something every month, or even more often.

It’s okay to start small.

Increase your contribution to your 401(k); channel that raise, bonus or other unexpected windfall into your savings vehicle. Come spring, use your income tax refund to help pave the road to financial security. Paid off your car loan? Put that same amount into savings from now on.

As you see your savings start to grow, you’ll find ways to increase your “Me First” payments. As you earn more, make saving more a priority right from the get-go!

Make paying yourself first a habit — a lifelong habit. You’ll never regret it.

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