Whilst on a run the other morning I was once again reminded of “The Six Jars” – this effective technique for managing money was developed by the best-selling author, Robert Riopel. I have been using this technique for years to gain control over and master my finances and thought I would share it with you if you’re looking to improve your financial situation. It’s a great technique to use to help you allocate your income for future financial independence and security.
The Six Jars technique encourages you to split your income into six categories. The best practice would be to have six physical containers (i.e. jars), so that you will have visible reminders of your finances in your everyday environment. You could put these jars on your desk or somewhere in your office, perhaps a windowsill at home.
The categories are divided up as follows:
- Financial Freedom Account (FFA Jar)
- Long Term Savings for Spending Account (LTSS Jar)
- Education Jar
- Necessities Jar
- Play Jar
- Giving Jar
The FFA Jar
This jar requires a monthly contribution of 10% of your earnings (after tax and deductions). These are long-term savings to give you financial freedom, so that one day you can retire and live off the interest/dividends from these funds. This can take the form of a revenue account or another fixed investment vehicle that you do not dip into.
The LTSS Jar
This is a special account (and you may have more than one in this category), that can be for savings for a deposit on your first home, a new car in 5 years, your children’s university, etc. You should be contributing 10% to this jar monthly.
The Education Jar
This jar is one of my favourites and is dedicated to your personal growth and development, helping add value to your own life and those you love and serve. Put away 10% of your earnings monthly, and this might go towards your MBA, Business Coaching, Seminars, etc.
The Necessities Jar
This is your living jar and is there to cover your lifestyle. If you can’t come out on 55% then you need to earn more or spend less. This is one of the area’s most South Africans—and possibly most people—battle with. It is very common today to meet people who are living at 110% of their take-home earnings; with big houses, expensive cars, the latest TVs, toys, and credit card financed holidays. This is where you can turn your life around financially and start taking control of your financial destiny. Cut up your credit cards, move to somewhere more affordable and get to that 55% target, and your life will change. Imagine how it would look if you also improve your earnings by 25% or 100%
The Play Jar
This is your fun account which is for spontaneous spending for experiences you wouldn’t normally spoil yourself and loved ones with. Tick items off your bucket list by saving 5% of your income every month.
The Giving Jar
This jar is for giving back to your community, such as a charity for homeless people, the old age home, animal welfare organisations, etc. The recommended amount of your income to donate would be 5% of your earnings, but if you would like to donate at a higher percentage, then live on 50% or adjust your Play Jar.
What seems to work for most people is having a few bank accounts and controlling your finances from there. One suggestion would be having a transactional account in which your salary is paid into, and then split from there into your investments, giving, and necessities.
If you cannot immediately live on 55% of your monthly take-home earnings, then set a goal of reducing your expenses by a set % each month until you reach that goal. You can test and measure what works best for you and take ACTION from there!
Luke Dillon, ActionCOACH Business Coach