It is never too late to start taking care of your financial needs, if you recognize that you need a well developed financial plan to meet your current and future financial needs. If you are still unsure where to start and what decisions to make, here is a list of top 10 financial decisions you shouldn’t be putting off to kick start a better a financial future for yourself.
If your finances are not on track and take time to really think about them and start now. Now is the best time for you to start building a secure financial future even if you are too old to save much.
Stop relying on your single income
Find new avenues to increase your income. If you are relying on just one income, be on an active lookout for developing a second stream of income. You can do part-time jobs, online work , work from home, sell on ebay and Gumtree but start looking for new and innovative means of increasing your income. Higher level of income can help you to not only achieve mental comfort but it will also help you pay off your debts easily or save more.
Start building an emergency fund
Do this by making regular contributions to the saving accounts offering you best returns. A basic rule of thumb is having savings at least equal to 3 to six months of salary but it can vary depending upon your circumstances, family size and income level. A good way to trash your savings is to save it into money market funds. If you are living in UK, you have a really nice way of saving your emergency funds in tax-sheltered individual saving accounts or ISAs as they are normally called.
Automate your finances
This will help you develop the habit of saving automatically as well as help you pay off your bills and debts online. Remember, there is always a choice to automate savings or debts. A better way is to automate your savings and expenses rather than debts because if you automate debts, you may end up not having enough cash flows in the end to fund your other expenses.
Decide about timing and location of your retirement
Start saving for your retirement now because if you start now (if you are not in your 40s already) time will be on your side and with compounding impacts, your retirement savings can easily reach your target level once you reach the age of your retirement. If you are young and starting your career, look for investing into IRAs and 401(K) if you are employed. Sooner you start saving for your retirement, a bigger saving pot you will have in the end. With cost of medical care increasing, chances are that most of your savings will go to your healthcare so save enough so that you can really enjoy your retirement savings.
Develop a plan to pay off your debt and stick with it
There are different methods to start prioritizing your debts and paying off. Snowball method suggests paying of smaller debt first whereas another technique of paying off your high interest rate loan first is also often recommended. However, debt also has an emotional drain on all of us so you can start to prioritize debt on the basis of their emotional intensity rather than their cost.
Have a life insurance policy in place
In the case of an emergency it can help your family to actually get some financial cover. There are lots of insurance policies ranging from covering damage to your appliance to your life but put off all insurance decisions but one of having a life insurance policy in place. Having a right amount of life insurance however, can vary depending upon your individual circumstances but focus at least on having a sum assured at least equal to 3 years of your current salary.
< h2>Start to save for your down-payment of your dream home
Paying as much as you can in down-payment can reduce your monthly mortgage payments as well as interest rates. If you are planning to buy your home now with no or very little down-payment in savings, it is better to rent rather than buy.
If you are considering buying your own home, you may have to recheck whether you should buy or rent
If costs associated with buying such as interest rates, repairs, taxes etc are greater than what you can afford, it is better to rent rather than buy.
Start to build your credit history
It can help you get good rates when you finally decide to buy your own home. Credit cards can be a great way to develop your credit score provided you don’t mess with them. Use credit cards to develop your credit history rather than as a tool to buy things which can depreciate in value quickly.
Personal finances can easily be managed provided we take right decisions at the right time. When in doubt, always seek advice and focus more on things which can help you save more. One final word! Start now to track your expenses not to know where your money goes but to know how you can discipline yourself by cutting some of the unnecessary expenses.
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