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10 Money Mistakes Successful People Don’t Make

10 Money Mistakes Successful People Don’t Make

Managing money effectively is a key success skill. Successful people make the decision to become effective with money, many of them early in life. Like any area of life, it is important to educate yourself about the threats and challenges in the world. Taking the time to master a few key principles will pay off for years to come.

1. They don’t overspend; they live on less than they make.

Living on less than you make is an essential money management skill. Some of the world’s wealthiest people have taken this principle to heart. For example, Sir John Templeton, a legendary investor who became a billionaire, saved 50% of his income even when he grew up with limited means. If that is more than you manage, don’t worry! You can reach financial success by saving 10-15% of your income.

Tip: Learning to live on less than you earn takes time. Start by looking for ways to save money: 55 Practical Ways To Save Money Efficiently.

2. They don’t fixate on price; they understand the importance of value.

The price you pay for an investment, a meal or piece of clothing is only part of the story. Successful people also think about the value of that good. For investments, they consider the prospects for the investment growing in the future. For personal items, they look for high quality products that will last. For example, a well made pair of business shoes may cost $200 or more but these shoes can last for years with proper care.

Tip: Buy high quality products that will last for a long time.

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3. They don’t waste cash on fees and interest; they know how to manage their banking

Carrying a balance on your credit card is incredibly expensive and sadly common. According to CNN, the average American household carried over $15,000 in credit card debt. Successful people also keep an eye on their bank fees–how much they pay for ATM use and other transactions. These fees are easy to avoid with planning once you understand how the system works. Simply reviewing your financial accounts for 5-10 minutes each month is all it takes to understand your fees.

Discover: 7 Essential Ways To Avoid Unnecessary Bank Charges.

4. They don’t forget to adjust their finances after big changes in life.

Did you get married recently? Is your spouse referenced in your will? These are some of the points that financially successful people manage effectively. While you can automate a great deal of your finances, it is vital to make adjustments when your life and family circumstances change significantly. Sitting down by yourself (or with a financial expert) at least once a year to review your life and financial plan is an excellent way to stay on top of important changes.

Learn: Arrange your finances for the long term with estate planning.

5. They are not satisfied with a stagnant income; they look for ways to increase their income.

Some people never ask for more money or simply settle for 1-3% increases. Unfortunately, that rate of income growth means you are simply standing still–inflation is slowly eating away at your purchasing power. Instead, successful people look for ways to earn more income. Increased income gives you more options for personal enjoyment, more capacity to give money, and a sense of security.

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Successful people take daily action to increase their income. For example, they take a course to improve their skills or they contribute ideas to improve the productivity of their companies. They also know how to ask for more money.

Tip: Do yourself a favor and learn about high paying fields: earn $100,000 in project management and discover the highest paid jobs in America.

6. They don’t ignore financial statements.

Reaching financial success requires some slow and steady habits. That includes forming a habit to monitor your financial statements. Successful people set a time each month–30 to 60 minutes–to review all of their financial accounts: investments, bank accounts, credit cards and more. When they detect an error or omission, they take immediate action.

Tip: Set a recurring reminder in your calendar each month to review your financial accounts.

7. They don’t take foolish risks in money.

Warren Buffet is often quoted as saying, “Rule number one is never lose money.” All investments carry some measure of risk (and therefore the potential to lose money). That said, successful people use two powerful tools to avoid losses. They understand the value of insurance to control risk (e.g. home, auto, and life insurance) and the importance of asset allocation.

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Remember: If it sounds too good to be true (or if you don’t understand how it works), slow down and start asking plenty of questions.

8. They don’t pretend to understand everything when it comes to money.

The world is a vast and complex place–successful people know and deeply understand this truth. When it comes to money, there is a lot of information out there. That’s why successful people like Warren Buffet understand their limits and focus on their strengths.

Tip: Review your knowledge of money and investments. If you are just starting out, read one or two classic personal finance books. Or read 9 Can’t-Miss Secrets Behind Warren Buffett’s Wealth for more insights from one of the world’s most successful investors.

9. They don’t transfer responsibility to experts.

Successful people do seek out the advice of experts, yet they never yield responsibility. For example, it is reasonable to seek advice from a tax accountant in planning your financial affairs. However, successful people take the time to ask questions and evaluate the person providing advice to them.

Tip: When seeking advice from professionals like accountants and lawyers, ask questions and seek to have the advice explained to you. Otherwise, it is difficult to act on the advice.

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10. They don’t let the pursuit of money overcome other values.

Seeking financial success is a valid goal. Significant financial resources give you more options to give to causes you believe in. It also means improved access to technology, health care and leisure. However, successful people understand that financial success is only one aspect of a successful life. For example, neglecting health in the pursuit of money is a poor strategy.

Tip: Review your personal goals to see if you have a balance between financial goals, career goals, family goals and other activities.

Featured photo credit: Money/martaposemuckel via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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