Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your finances.
Listed below are a few topics broken down with tips and tricks, plus extra resources, to help you achieve all of your finance goals.
One of the most important skills to learn in life is how to set a financial plan and stick to a budget. Living debt-free and having a full savings account aren’t things that happen overnight—it takes time and determination, but it’s so worth it in the end.
- Create your financial plan by determining your goals.
- Think about the end result. Do you want to pay finally pay off your student loans? Save up to put a down payment on a house? Overall cut down spending on impulse purchases? Use those specific goals to stay on track.
- Determine the necessities. Maybe instead of ordering takeout twice a week, buy enough groceries to cook at home. Try painting your nails yourself instead of going to a salon. Cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary.
- Track your spending.
- Figure out where exactly your money goes. For some, a spreadsheet does the job. For others, an app is a quick and easy way to keep track of purchases, even on the go.
- Here are some apps we suggest:
- Build a budget.
- Once you have an idea of your actual spending, limit expenses to stay on track with your financial plan. Remember, even though it may mean some sacrifices here or there, it will be well worth it to reach your goals.
- Know that saving isn’t impossible! Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Pack lunch at home instead of eating out.
- Ditch bottled water for a reusable bottle.
- Always go grocery shopping with a list in hand.
- Cut back on subscriptions you don’t need—maybe consider having Hulu or Netflix, instead of both.
- Use credit cards wisely and don’t rack up more debt.
Keeping track of your credit score is one of the most important aspects of financial well-being. A healthy credit score can make all the difference when it comes to renting from a landlord, applying for an auto loan, figuring out the mortgage for a home and more.
Here are some basic facts to know about a credit score:
- How it’s calculated:
- 35% payment history
- 30% accounts owed
- 15% length of credit history
- 10% new credit
- 10% credit mix (types of credit used)
- What can hurt it:
- Maxing out credit cards/ racking up debt
- Not paying bills on time, such as rent or a car payment
- Going bankrupt
- What doesn’t matter when it comes to your score:
- Ethnicity, race, religion, gender, age or marital status
- Amount of time at current employer
- How to improve it:
- Pay all bills on time. Set reminders if needed
- Pay off credit debt
- Don’t rush to open new accounts, especially those that wouldn’t be used often—think store credit cards
- Create a habit of making payments on time
- How to establish a good credit history:
- Apply for a credit card with a small limit
- Always, always pay on time
- Track expenses and budget so you can make all necessary monthly payments without any stress
- Not sure how to check your credit score? Try these apps:
Savings Plans for Every Age
Each stage of life brings new excitement and different challenges, but have you ever thought about how money ploys into each step? It’s important to know how to create a financial plan not only for short-term achievements, but also for lifelong goals.
- Use this time to start forming good, healthy financial habits
- Begin to form a foundation of saving not only to avoid debt and have a solid emergency fund, but also to achieve a sizeable retirement fund by the time it is needed
- The best time to invest in your future
- Increase your retirement fund contribution and invest savings so that amount can grow through the years
- Check the status of your funds by using a retirement calculator—this will give you an idea of if you need to increase your contribution or continue coasting along the same path
- Transfer any multiple 401(k)s into a rollover IRA so you don’t lose any of the money you have saved
- Transfer any extra savings to work towards other goals—maybe paying off a house or college funds for kids
- Increase your retirement fund contribution with the increased limits from the IRS
- Save as much as you can
- Get ready to retire!
- Form a plan of when you want to retire and exactly how—will you retire completely or lessen your load to only a part-tome position?
- Create a budget based on Social Security and your retirement fund so you know exactly how much can be spent
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