Creating Your Own Jackpot

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By Layden Hale

Christian Wilkins is a famously frugal Clemson University student-athlete not above bumming rides from teammates, sneaking snacks into the movies or asking for slices of lemon to make his own lemonade when dining out.

Layden Hale

Layden Hale

Manuel Franco is a 24-year-old Wisconsin worker whose primary goal until recently had been to get his bank account to $1,000.

Both have something in common. They each have hit jackpots – one literally. Wilkins became a first-round pro football draft pick of the Miami Dolphins on April 25; two days earlier, Franco won the $768 million Powerball drawing, the third largest in U.S. history.

But what if you are not so talented or lucky yet aspire to be comfortable - let alone a millionaire? It all begins with developing a financial plan that has savings at its core.

No one can predict the future, so you should always set aside money to cover unexpected expenses. According to a survey from CNN, 40 percent of Americans would have to borrow money to pay for an emergency over $400.

Here are five other good reasons to save:

  • College

  • Down payment for a house

  • Retirement

  • Travel

  • Financial freedom (to live your life on your own terms).

Now how much of your income should you be saving?

The answer to that question, for a long time, was 10 percent. The short answer today is, “as much possible.”

Future NFL millionaire Wilkins admires former pro Ryan Broyles, who lived on $60,000 a year during his wide receiver playing days for the Detroit Lions. When Broyles three-year injury plagued career ended in 2015, he had saved enough funds that by 2018 he and his wife owned roughly 40 rental properties in Oklahoma and Texas and a property management company.

Still, there are some people who buy into the 20-50-30 model: 20 percent to savings, 50 percent for necessities like housing, food, utilities, transportation, and 30 percent for discretionary items or wants like entertainment, holiday spending and travel.

Savings plan start-ups vary. For some, it might start with a surge of cash, like an inheritance or a refund from income tax filings. For most folks, savings comes at a grinding, consistent pace. Contact Homeport at 614 221-8889 ext. 134 or visit www.homeportlearning.org to sign up for financial fitness classes or counseling. It could be the start of your jackpot.

(Homeport Senior Counseling Advisor Layden Hale, layden.hale@homeportohio.org, has been in financial services and counseling for over 20 years.)