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Practical Financial Tips From a Successful Investor

Practical Financial Tips From a Successful Investor

Gaining control of your finances might look impossible, especially if you find yourself swimming in debt or without a high paying job. Financial freedom is never attained overnight, however, so keeping things in perspective and sticking to a plan is very important. By learning what successful investors do to maximize each dollar, you can quickly put yourself on the right financial path.

Create a Realistic Budget

There is no point in creating a budget if there is no way that you can stick to it. If you always spend $200 to commute back and forth to work, do not allot only $150 of your budget towards this, as you will never meet your goals. All of your goals should be reasonable and based on what you have spent in the past, as this will give you a better chance of reaching them.

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    Learn About Healthy Spending

    Most consumers have no idea what healthy spending looks like. As a general rule, go by the 50/30/20 plan, which means that 50 percent of your monthly income goes towards needs, 30 percent goes towards wants and 20 percent goes towards your savings. This plan can help you to avoid financial mistakes and will build your savings quite quickly.

    Decide on Needs

    Perhaps the largest financial mistake that people make is classifying wants as needs. Many of the items that you spend money on each month are luxuries, rather than necessities. If you can survive without an item, it should be labeled as a luxury and, therefore, you should not spend money on it unless you have money after you have purchased your necessities.

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    Only Spend Money That You Have

    Some people make the mistake of spending money before it arrives in their back accounts, such as relying on a bonus that is not guaranteed to come. This is always a gamble because a bonus is never a sure thing. Choose your spending based on your current financial state, rather than your projected financial state, as this can prevent some serious problems in the future and leave extra money for investments.

    Use Cash

    Overusing credit cards usually leads to financial problems. If 20 percent or more of your monthly income goes towards paying off your credit cards, it is a sign that you have a problem that could escalate in the future. If you are unable to pay off your entire credit card balance each month, you end up paying more for all of your purchases. This limits the amount of money that goes into your savings and will prevent you from reaching your financial goals.

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    Work Towards Retirement

    Many people do not even think about retirement until it is too late. The main reason to start putting money away for retirement right away is the compounding of your earnings. Basically, the earlier you begin putting money away, the faster this money will grow, since it compounds monthly. Starting earlier also means that you can put less money in your retirement fund each month and still end up with the same payouts once you retire.

    Save Anything

    It might seem pointless to put a few dollars into an account each month, but this money really does add up. It is always a good idea to save something, rather than nothing, as this money will grow over the years. Even if your lifestyle has made it so your bills and loans are high in relation to your salary, if you can invest some money while you are in your 20s, it could grow to something significant by the time you reach your 60s.

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    Avoid Getting Ahead of Yourself

    Countless young people make the mistake of changing their lifestyle too greatly once they start making money. While it is a good idea to reward yourself for working hard, make sure that this money is spent in a short-term manner, rather than one that you could pay for down the line. For example, it is perfectly fine to take a vacation or buy yourself a new computer, but you should avoid buying a fancy car or moving into a new apartment just because you have a little extra income. Purchasing these things commits you to higher spending in the future, which limits your ability to invest.

    Diversify Your Portfolio

    Simply put, investing in a number of different things lessens your risk. While a diverse portfolio is also less likely to outperform the market, it allows your more successful investments to float any investments that do not work out for you. When starting out, this is the best way to prevent yourself from taking a massive hit.

    Look at Bonds

    When looking for investment ideas, United States Treasury bonds are about as risk free as you can get. This is because the government is highly unlikely to ever default and high interest rates are the only thing that can hurt your return. If you are looking for a place to start investing, this is as good as any.

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    Last Updated on April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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