I remember being at an event and hearing my mentor David Wood say we should all save at least 10% of our income. I was over $50,000 upside down in credit card debt and had more month left at the end of my money. All I could hear my mind screaming was “How? I can barely make it through the month.” My thought was I would begin to save when I had a little extra. The sad thing was when would extra ever be available. As my mind raced, David said words that would begin to change my financial future. He said, “Saving is a habit.” Developing a habit of saving money monthly will get you to a place where you will eventually be able to save 10% of your income. The trick is to replace the habit of spending with the new habit of paying yourself first. Don’t wait until you have money to establish this practice because you most likely will never start. Rather you will continue your well-established habit of spending, only now you will have more to spend.

So the question is do you pay yourself or do you pay everyone else?

The bank, the cable company, your mortgage company, your car note…..the list goes on. You may be thinking to yourself I need my car and a roof over my head. I can’t argue with that. Now take a moment and think of some of the things that you prioritize before yourself and possibly your retirement, freedom, and peace of mind. Is it truly more important to pay your cable company before yourself? Is Starbucks a better investment than your retirement? This may sound odd, but truly why would you give the cable company money when your savings and investment account is empty?

Recently 80% of Canadian express concern about not having enough money for retirement. In a study by T.D. Bank 47% of those poled did not contribute to a retirement saving plan. Stats Canada reports that only 23.7% of Canadian tax filers actually took advantage of the opportunity to contribute to an RRSP.   A December 2011 report by “USA Today” reveals that half of all U.S. retirees have less than $25,000 in savings of any kind. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a Washington, D.C.-based research firm, reports that 20% of Americans who died at 85 or older had no financial assets left, and 12% had no assets at all.

For those of us who are committed to our financial future the first person we pay is always ourselves.

When I was struggling financially I cancelled cable and used that money to begin my financial freedom account. Every month $100 dollars was automatically withdrawn from my account and so began the habit. Interestingly once I began the habit of paying myself first I also began to explore ways to create new money. My journey into Network Marketing came as a result of my quest for new money. As my income grew I began to save more, soon I was saving 10%.

A habit is an automatic way of being. Something we do without much thought. If you desire to change a habit or create a new one, the trick is to begin small. If things are tight begin saving a small amount. Select an amount that makes follow through easy. You will be amazed at the compounded effect of your actions over time. As things improve increase your commitment, it will be easier to because the habit is already formed and your subconscious mind will be less likely to resist. As you save and increase your commitment you will soon notice that there is no resistance and paying yourself first is just what you do.

Let say John has an annual income of $50,000 per year. Ten percent of John’s annual income would be $5000 per year. This would be a monthly contribution of $416 approximately per month.   If John earns 6% interest in his first year, John’s investment would grow by about $161 and create an estimated value of $5153. This may seem small but watch what will occur by year ten. By contributing $4992 each year, in ten years John will have deposited $49.920 and earned an estimated $17,998. This would create an estimated value of $67,918. Following the same plan, by year thirty, John would have contributed $149,760.   At a conservative 6% growth John would earn $257,661, giving him a retirement nest egg of $407,371.

Secure your financial future

The habit of paying yourself first will be one of the most powerful actions you can take. Begin with the end in mind. Work with a financial advisor to determine how much money you will require to create the retirement income you desire. Once your number is determined, build a monthly financial action plan. No matter where you choose to start, the trick is in getting started. The magic is in the habit of paying yourself first.

Suzan Hart is an inspirational speaker, master trainer and author.  Knowing that your inner game creates your outer game Suzan’s mindset mastery, teaches hard working, results driven black men and women, to be un-apologetically recognized for their value, financially rewarded for their brilliance, and celebrated for the fullest expression of themselves.  Suzan Hart went from physically exhausted and financially upside down to becoming a Black Woman Millionaire. Suzan Hart is president of HartZone Inc and the founder of the F!T is the New $eXy movement. Learn more and claim your free gift at http://www.hartzone.com.