In an ideal world, we would never have to worry about our money running out. But in the reality we live in, ensuring we have the financial means to last us a lifetime requires us to be deliberate in our spending, saving, and investing habits.
“Making sure I don’t run out of money in the future is like preparing for a sunny day instead of a storm,” said Andrei Vasilescu, co-founder and CEO of DontPayFull. “I’ve learned it’s important to keep track of where my money goes.”
Below are some expert-backed ways to guarantee your money will last your whole lifetime.
Know Your Cash Flow
“Imagine your money as a river,” said Linda Schroder, real estate investor and owner of Cash for Houses. “You want to make sure it keeps flowing comfortably throughout your life, not running dry like a cracked desert stream.
The first step she recommends is tracking your income and expenses.
“Think of it as building a map of your financial landscape,” she explained.
Once you see where your money goes, she says you can identify areas to save, like plugging leaky hoses (subscriptions you don’t use) or building dams (cutting unnecessary expenses).
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Grow Your Money Tree With Investments
“Picture yourself planting a tiny sapling now that will one day bloom into a strong, money-bearing tree,” said Schroder. “That’s how saving and investing work.”
Start small, with regular contributions to savings accounts or retirement plans. She says that over time, with interest (like sunshine and water for your tree), your money will grow.
“Investing offers even more growth potential,” Schroder said. “But it’s like climbing a mountain — higher rewards come with bigger risks.”
For that reason, Schroder says you should consider diversifying your investments like planting different fruit trees, to spread the risk and ensure a steady harvest.
Vasilescu also notes that investing is a smart move to ensure your money lasts.
“I don’t just save — I put my money in different places to grow, always matching how much risk I’m OK with,” he said.
“If you’re young and still in your prime working years with a decent income, saving and sound investing in a combination of tax-free and tax-deferred accounts will prove to be an effective plan for you,” said Andrew Van Alstyne, financial advisor at Fiduciary Financial Advisors.
He explains that once this strategy reaches the distribution phase in retirement, it will be implementing a strategy where a minimum and maximum monthly withdrawal amount is established.
“Going below the minimum will mean the plan needs to get re-worked,” he said. “Going over the maximum means the excess gets redeployed into growth for future needs.”
Alstyne adds that those who are on the verge of retirement with no substantial savings amount should strongly consider an annuity or other fixed-income strategy.
“But be sure to work with a fiduciary who isn’t placing you into an annuitized product to serve their interests ahead of yours,” he said.
Spend Smart, Not Hard
“Remember that shiny gadget you had to have? Yeah, it probably sucked the juice out of your budget like a thirsty caterpillar,” Schroder emphasized.
Instead, she says spending smart means living below your means.
“Think of it as setting a spending limit that’s lower than your income,” Schroder said. “Prioritize needs like food and rent over wants like fancy gadgets. Don’t be afraid to hunt for bargains or even ditch expensive habits that don’t add real value to your life. Think of it as pruning your financial garden to focus on healthy growth.”
Vasilescu agrees: “Living below my means is crucial. It means I avoid debts for things I don’t really need. About 50% of people find living below their means helps them save more.”
Multiple Income Streams
Imagine having not just one well, but several, says Schroder.
“That’s how multiple income streams work,” she said. “Your main job is like your trusty well, providing a steady flow. But what if it runs dry in a drought?”
She says having side hustles, like selling crafts online or freelancing, are like additional springs bubbling up, providing extra security and even a chance to chase your passions.
“It’s like diversifying your water sources to ensure you’ll never be parched,” she said.
Similarly, Jake Hill, personal finance expert and CEO of DebtHammer, agrees that this is something to look into.
“Few things are as difficult to handle as running out of money during retirement, especially if you are at an age when returning to work is a difficult prospect,” he said.
To ensure your money will last a lifetime, he says it’s important to find passive income streams that can remain viable in the long term. For example, building a diversified investment portfolio that includes some low-risk assets can help you achieve steady growth.
Invest in Real Estate
“I retired at the age of 32, and one key strategy I used to ensure financial security was investing in real estate,” said Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal.
“From the age of 18, every dime I made from mowing yards was funneled into real estate investments,” he explained. “I paid off properties in full, knowing this would provide a consistent cash flow. I wasn’t a financial wizard, but I understood the timeless value of real estate.”
For anyone seeking a straightforward path to ensure their money lasts, Clayton says real estate is a solid bet.
“It’s not about being a financial genius; it’s about making wise, long-term investments that provide stable returns.”
He notes that real estate is a tangible asset that tends to appreciate over time, offering both rental income and the potential for capital gains. But the key is to focus on investments you understand and can manage effectively.
“Real estate can be that safe haven if you’re looking for a reliable way to secure your financial future,” he said.
Get Help When Needed
“Don’t try to navigate the financial jungle alone,” Schroder urged.
She suggests thinking of financial advisors as experienced guides who can help you choose the best path. They can analyze your situation, suggest strategies, and even warn you about hidden dangers.
“You wouldn’t climb Mount Everest without a Sherpa, why tackle your finances solo?” Schroder said. “Remember, seeking help doesn’t mean you’re weak, it shows you’re smart and value your financial well-being.”
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 7 Ways To Guarantee Your Money Will Last Your Whole Lifetime