If you are handling to majority of your household finances, you probably have an extra grey hair or two then you would like, which means that you should not be the only one that has that financial weight on the shoulders that should be carried by all party involved, such as your significant other. When it means putting the whole family in jeopardy by the decisions that you make, it’s a good idea to seek guidance from a professional, or at least a family or friend that has a financial background. By avoiding putting off financial decisions any longer, you can be better prepared not only for now, but in the future when you are ready to retire and will need every available dollar that you can get your hands on.
Building an Emergency Fund
As you have probably noticed by now, you can have as good of a plan as you want when it comes to life, but there are always going to be curveballs that are thrown in that will put a damper on whatever plan you had, so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as you can. By keeping a few months’ worth of expenses in an account for easy access, you can have the money on-hand if you need to repair your car, pay an unexpected medical bill, or a home improvement project you were putting off, without having to put on a credit card and risk going into debt and paying interest.
Saving for Retirement
Whether you’re just out of college and starting your career, or you are winding down until retirement, it’s never too early to start saving, and the longer you wait, the more you will have to catch up later on. Saving for something that is decades away is probably the furthest from you mind but starting that early on you can allow to contribute say, 6%, of your salary, and then going up a percent or so each year without noticing it too much. Check to make sure at work if there are any company-matching contributions and that you are getting the max match, otherwise you could be leaving tens of thousands on the table over time.
Creating a Budget
It’s no wonder that experts say that two-thirds of the population do not use a budget; if it were easy, everyone would do it and no one would be living paycheck to paycheck, but we know that’s not the case. If you can allocate certain amount to monthly bills, food, gas, spending, and not go over, you should be able to free up extra money each month to put towards the emergency fund or retirement savings.
Looking into Investments
The stock market can be extremely overwhelming, probably why the younger generation is avoiding participating, but after all, there must be a reason why people get hyped, screaming and yelling over the market going up or down. If you want to build up an account for the future, you can start with as little as it costs to buy a share of stock you’re interested in, but like anything, do your research in what your strategy is whether it’s short vs. long-term, diversifying, what pays dividends, and the growth over time compared to your goal.
Getting Out of Debt
Knowing what you’re spending is the first task when it comes to reducing expenses and ensuring that more money is coming in than going out. If you take a look at last month’s debit or credit card statement you can go line by line and see every dollar that went out and put into categories of monthly bills, food, gas, spending, and then try and figure out how much you’d like to be spending each month. When it comes to spending money, even using a set amount of cash until next paycheck could be a good way to only spend what you have, and then when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Saving for College
Much like retirement, the earlier you can start saving the better, so when it comes to your child’s future, whether you’d like to help out with a college or wedding fund, then starting the moment your baby is born and then contributing monthly going forward is the best way to be as prepared as you can without having to play catch up for the months or years that you would have missed otherwise, and can be comfortable writing a large check or two when it comes time to help pay for the significant life even.