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10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Have to Face Financial Crisis

10 Ways to Make Sure You Never Have to Face Financial Crisis

Samuel Johnson once said, “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments.” He couldn’t have been more right. It’s not enough to earn money. It’s equally important to spend and save money wisely. On one hand, we need to spend money to fulfill our needs. On the other hand, if money runs through our hands as soon as we get it, we are in the state of perpetual deprivation and are unable to save anything for the future.

Many of us have to face a point in life at which we are in a terrible financial condition. Your savings could be low, you may have recently (or not-so-recently) lost a job, or you could lose your savings due to battling illness. There are so many possible paths to arrive at that dreadful situation, but we can surely avoid it with proper planning and forethoughts. Below are 10 ways to help you make sure you never have to face a financial crisis.

1. Maximize your liquid savings.

Liquid assets such as cash in hand, cash in currents, saving and money market accounts, and certificates of deposit are our most important financial assets to ensure financial safety. The value of these assets doesn’t fluctuate with market conditions, unlike stocks and index funds, and we can have them at our disposal any time we want, without any financial loss. Maximize your liquid savings. It’s very important to not invest in stocks or other higher-risk investments until you possess several months’ worth of liquid cash.

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2. Keep record of all your earnings and expenses.

The principal reason people face a personal financial crisis isn’t that they do not earn enough but that they don’t save enough. It’s easy to advise someone to save, but equally difficult to actually save something on your own. However, much of the trouble can be spared by keeping a record of all of your earnings as well as expenses. Keeping track of money coming in and going out will help you know if you are overspending or living within limited means. This will help adjust your expenses to align with your income.

3. Prepare your monthly budget and live by it.

When there is no bar set for tour expenses, you are more likely to end up overspending. Monthly budgets prepared at the end of the previous month can help you balance your finances. Prepare a well-organized monthly budget clearly specifying the budget for food, rent, recreation and so on. But remember, there’s no point in making rules if you can’t live by them. You also need to live by your monthly budget allocation if you want to ensure sound financial health besides setting it.

4. Keep your possessions in good condition.

Keeping your possessions in good condition is another effective way to avoid financial crisis. Keep everything you possess, from your car and household utensils to electrical and electronic appliances, in proper working condition. It costs much less for routine maintenance compared to the price you have to pay when they stop working completely, either to replace them or while repairing them. Investing small amounts to keep your possessions working will reap greater rewards in the long run, as money not spent is also money earned.

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5. Stay healthy.

Just as routine maintenance of household appliances helps to save significant amounts of money, maintaining your body also helps the cause. Most often we visit doctors only when the problems we’re facing have become severe. This traumatizes the body and requires significantly higher medical costs. With regular exercises and healthy habits, along with frequent medical checkups, you can pretty much avoid the possibility of major financial setback on the back of substantial illness.

6. Pay off your debts on time.

The best advice would be to never take any debt. But it doesn’t mean that your financial condition is doomed forever if you have taken debts. The first concern of any debtor should be to pay off all debts in full. Having existing debts doesn’t only distress our brains continuously, but also means that we can’t afford further debts, which would be necessary in the face of the adversities. So plan wisely and allocate a portion of your monthly budget to pay off the debts.

7. Safeguard against job loss.

Losing a job is the major event that leads a person to financial crisis. With the loss of job, a person doesn’t have any money to use, particularly if the person has never spared any thoughts for saving before. Safeguarding oneself against potential job loss is a chief way to avoid financial crisis. This could be done via unemployment insurance from your office or the purchase of a private unemployment insurance on your own. You can also find an alternative source of income besides your primary job.

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8. Save a portion of your earnings every month.

Saving shouldn’t be thought of as a luxury, something that you do when you feel like it. You should cultivate it as a habit. There’s no better way to save than putting away a certain amount of your earnings every month. The popular 50/20/30 rule suggests you allocate 20% of your monthly earnings for things like debt payments, retirement funds and savings. If you’re not in any debt as of now, saving 20% of your monthly income would be a wise idea. However, even if you’re in debt, save at least 10% of your earnings, as you need liquid cash in hand in case anything serious happens in future.

9. Try to minimize your monthly bills.

Just because you earn enough and are not facing any financial setback as of now doesn’t mean that the case will be the same forever. Try to minimize your monthly bills before the alarm bell rings. The focus for minimizing the monthly bills should be on cutting out unnecessary expenses as soon as possible. Look over your expenses and find out possible ways to deduct them. You could be turning on your heater or air conditioner even when you’re not home. Simply turning those appliances off when you’re not home will help reduce energy bills and thus, the monthly bills, significantly.

10. Spend wisely.

“Every penny saved is a penny earned.” You won’t be financially secure all the time, unless you are wise enough to spend wisely. Spending wisely is an art in itself. There are several techniques to spend wisely. One is to abstain from buying things you are hardly going to use. The other could be to compare prices amongst multiple vendors and go for the best deal. This could even mean spending money as an investment for the future, as the money you spend today could generate you further capitals tomorrow.

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Featured photo credit: money career upstairs/Anatoly Tiplyashin via fotolia.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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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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