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World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

World’s 20 Most Expensive And Affordable Cities To Live In

Many different rankings of the world’s most affordable and expensive cities exist, but several fail to take into account different ways of life in other countries. For example, over populated countries that raise the price of registering a car in order to encourage residents to take public transit are often cited as more expensive countries. This does not take into account the fact that most residents in these countries do not typically own a car.

On the other hand, lists of the cheapest cities to live in usually do not take into account the lifestyle and safety of a place. For example, Haiti or Pakistan may be among the cheapest countries to live in, but civil unrest means you are unlikely to settle there. One ranking from Expatistan however, compares cities based on a slew of realistic purchases in food, living, entertainment, and transportation.

Among the 247 cities categorized, many fall in dangerous or underdeveloped regions. For this reason, and to compare a wide spread of locations, we’ve taken twenty cities out of Expatistan’s most and least expensive cities around the world. With these practical considerations in mind, these are 10 of the most expensive and affordable cities you’d want to live in:

Most Expensive

10. Hamburg, Germany

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    Gunther Wegner

    Ranked number 66 out of 247 cities, Hamburg is among the more affordable “expensive” cities. With nearly 2 million residents and an impressively temperate climate, Hamburg is one of the most attractive cities for expats.

    Average costs:

    • Fast food combo meal  $8
    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
    • 1 kg of apples  $3.27
    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.81
    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 577
    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
    • Monthly transit pass $92
    • 1 roll on deodorant $2.48
    • 2 tickets to movies $26
    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $7

    9. Vancouver, Canada

    1793982892_3ac7d7f535_b

      JamesZ_Flickr

      Also among the more affordable cities in the “expensive” list is Vancouver, Canada. Ranked 53 out of 247 cities, Vancouver boasts about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area.

      Average costs:

      • Fast food combo meal  $7
      • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.47
      • 1 kg of apples  $2.75
      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.35
      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 124
      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $125
      • Monthly transit pass $89
      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.98
      • 2 tickets to movies $23
      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

      8. Tokyo, Japan

      4092898500_572c94582e_b

        sebastien batardy

        The next most expensive city on our list is Tokyo, Japan, ranked number 37 out of 247 cities. Unsurprisingly, with nearly 38 million residents, this city is among the more expensive cities when it comes to rent.

        Average costs:

        • Fast food combo meal  $5.60
        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.82
        • 1 kg of apples  $5.42
        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.29
        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 749
        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $70
        • Monthly transit pass $92
        • 1 roll on deodorant $6
        • 2 tickets to movies $31
        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.88

        7. Honolulu, United States

        7109721751_2ce3abb315_b

          John Fowler

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          With only about a million residents in the greater Honolulu area, Honolulu’s isolated location in Hawaii likely accounts for it’s higher than average prices. Coming in at number 27 of 247 cities, this slice of paradise is still more affordable than New York City, Sydney or San Francisco.

          Average costs:

          • Fast food combo meal  $8
          • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.08
          • 1 kg of apples  $5.95
          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.47
          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 620
          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $74
          • Monthly transit pass $80
          • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
          • 2 tickets to movies $21
          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $10

          6. Amsterdam, Netherlands

          5238675948_3b5dd8fe83_b

            Moyan Brenn

            Originating as a small fishing village around the 12th century, Amsterdam has grown to a premiere European destination. Ranked 23rd out of 247 cities, Amsterdam sees slightly lower rent than other “most expensive” cities, but higher prices on day to day purchases.

            Average costs:

            • Fast food combo meal  $9
            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.27
            • 1 kg of apples  $3.07
            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.57
            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 266
            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $127
            • Monthly transit pass $113
            • 1 roll on deodorant $3.17
            • 2 tickets to movies $26
            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

            5. Paris, France

            6672156239_822c689d3d_b

              Moyan Brenn

              Ranked 14th out of 247 cities, Paris is home to some of the most famous destinations in the world, including the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and countless fashion and food events. While transit costs and basic groceries are average priced, on this list only New York City and Zurich cost more for rent.

              Average costs:

              • Fast food combo meal  $9
              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.62
              • 1 kg of apples  $3.02
              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.98
              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 285
              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $102
              • Monthly transit pass $81
              • 1 roll on deodorant $4.85
              • 2 tickets to movies $25
              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $9

              4. Sydney, Australia

              2553570276_1106779499_b

                Corey Leopold

                Another popular tourist destination, Sydney is ranked 13th most expensive by Expatistan. While rent costs are lower than some of the other “most expensive” cities on this list, more expensive transit and consumer goods push this city higher in the rankings.

                Average costs:

                • Fast food combo meal  $7
                • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                • 1 kg of apples  $3.60
                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $3.05
                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 708
                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $123
                • Monthly transit pass $127
                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.80
                • 2 tickets to movies $33
                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $17

                3. New York City, United States

                10842014626_6e48b04fa1_h

                  Roman Iakoubtchik

                  Number 7 of 247 cities, New York City sees high prices for most goods and services. With about 8.5 million residents, New York also is among the most pricey for rent costs.

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                  Average costs:

                  • Fast food combo meal  $7
                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.54
                  • 1 kg of apples  $3.92
                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.19
                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $4 075
                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                  • Monthly transit pass $114
                  • 1 roll on deodorant $4.13
                  • 2 tickets to movies $28
                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $13

                  2. Oslo, Norway

                  4468389726_8b2b18e43d_b

                    2Tales

                    Oslo, the capital of Norway, ranks 4th most expensive out of 247 cities around the world. Though rent costs fall below those in New York or Paris, Oslo sees higher costs on groceries, transit and other goods.

                    Average costs:

                    • Fast food combo meal  $14
                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $2.36
                    • 1 kg of apples  $2.91
                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $4.55
                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $2 883
                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $134
                    • Monthly transit pass $107
                    • 1 roll on deodorant $5.90
                    • 2 tickets to movies $33
                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $15

                    1. Zurich, Switzerland

                    11875643915_13dc8540e9_k

                      kuhnmi

                      According to Expatistan, Zurich is the most expensive city to live in in the world. On average, from fast food to rent to entertainment, purchases in this Swiss hub cost more than anywhere else.

                      Average costs:

                      • Fast food combo meal  $14
                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.76
                      • 1 kg of apples  $3.58
                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $2.71
                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $3 594
                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $154
                      • Monthly transit pass $97
                      • 1 roll on deodorant $6
                      • 2 tickets to movies $38
                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $8

                      Most Affordable

                      10. Valencia, Spain

                      valencia

                        Felivet

                        Velencia is the third largest city in Spain, with about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area. Ranked 165th, this city also boasts affordable rent, transit and consumer goods. 

                        Average costs:

                        • Fast food combo meal  $8
                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.40
                        • 1 kg of apples  $2.18
                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.78
                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $93
                        • Monthly transit pass $52
                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.94
                        • 2 tickets to movies $21
                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $5.97

                        9. Bangkok, Thailand 

                        7032083211_a730e00ce8_k

                          Evo Flash

                          Since Thailand is known for affordable vacations, it should be no surprise that Thailand is one of the more affordable cities to live in, ranking 194th out of 247 cities. Despite nearly 15 million residents in the greater Bangkok area, rent for this city remains accessible.

                          Average costs:

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                          • Fast food combo meal  $4.64
                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.34
                          • 1 kg of apples  $2.68
                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.16
                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 200
                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $106
                          • Monthly transit pass $28
                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.93
                          • 2 tickets to movies $11
                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.57

                          8. Lima, Peru

                          9444298324_6e28dfb861_k

                            Serious Cat

                            With a bustling population of about 8.5 million, Lima is not only the capital of Peru, it is the fifth largest city in North and South America. Despite a high population density, this city offers affordable groceries, rent and transit.

                            Average costs:

                            • Fast food combo meal  $4.84
                            • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.28
                            • 1 kg of apples  $1.95
                            • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.96
                            • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 006
                            • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $95
                            • Monthly transit pass $27
                            • 1 roll on deodorant $4.91
                            • 2 tickets to movies $11
                            • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.67

                            7. Budapest, Hungary

                            8082258732_dd1e56bdd8_k

                              Moyan Brenn

                              Another affordable European city is Budapest, capital of Hungary. Ranked 208th, Budapest not only offers cheap cost of living, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

                              Average costs:

                              • Fast food combo meal  $5.74
                              • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.12
                              • 1 kg of apples  $1.20
                              • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.57
                              • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $669
                              • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $90
                              • Monthly transit pass $40
                              • 1 roll on deodorant $2.87
                              • 2 tickets to movies $14
                              • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4

                              6. Casablanca, Morocco

                              Parc_de_la_Ligue_Arabe,_Casablanca

                                Unknown

                                Slightly more affordable than Budapest is Casablanca, Morocco, coming in at 210 out of 247 cities. While rent in Casablanca is higher than several of our most affordable cities, residents get a break on the price of transit, groceries and consumer goods.

                                Average costs:

                                • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                • 1 kg of apples  $1.83
                                • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.35
                                • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $1 098
                                • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $78
                                • Monthly transit pass $21
                                • 1 roll on deodorant $3.33
                                • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.72

                                5. Prague, Czech Republic

                                St Charles Bridge Prague

                                  Jorge Royan

                                  Also on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is Prague, ranked 211th out of 247 cities. Another top European city for cheap cost of living, this city is also home to a temperate climate and is consistently ranked as a top vacation destination.

                                  Average costs:

                                  • Fast food combo meal  $5.81
                                  • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.95
                                  • 1 kg of apples  $1.36
                                  • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.59
                                  • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $962
                                  • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $79
                                  • Monthly transit pass $25
                                  • 1 roll on deodorant $2.99
                                  • 2 tickets to movies $14
                                  • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.57

                                  4. Bucharest, Romania

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                                  8020977260_94c7cde397_k

                                    Mario Sánchez Prada

                                    With around 2 million residents, Bucharest is the center of Romanian culture and art. This eastern European city is ranked 214th, making it another affordable option with a rich cultural past.

                                    Average costs:

                                    • Fast food combo meal  $5.13
                                    • 1 litre of whole milk  $1.33
                                    • 1 kg of apples  $1.09
                                    • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.65
                                    • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $800
                                    • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $80
                                    • Monthly transit pass $16
                                    • 1 roll on deodorant $4.22
                                    • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                    • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.08

                                    3. Krakow, Poland

                                    5214905_ddee0e6f0e_b

                                      Craig Wyzik

                                      One of the oldest cities in Poland, Krakow is ranked 217th on the list of most expensive cities. Affordable living expenses and commercial goods make this city an ideal place to settle for expats.

                                      Average costs: 

                                      • Fast food combo meal  $5.05
                                      • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.83
                                      • 1 kg of apples  $1.05
                                      • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.68
                                      • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $909
                                      • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $73
                                      • Monthly transit pass $27
                                      • 1 roll on deodorant $3.15
                                      • 2 tickets to movies $12
                                      • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $3.76

                                      2. Lodz, Poland

                                      8076430869_84885dca06_b

                                        Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

                                        Also located in Poland, Lodz is centrally located with about 1.5 million residents in the greater metro area and sits at number 227 out of 247 cities. Another affordable European city, Lodz is a relatively safe and secure city boasting impressively accessible cost of living.

                                        Average costs:

                                        • Fast food combo meal  $5.19
                                        • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.86
                                        • 1 kg of apples  $0.85
                                        • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.51
                                        • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $706
                                        • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $85
                                        • Monthly transit pass $24
                                        • 1 roll on deodorant $3.22
                                        • 2 tickets to movies $13
                                        • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $4.01

                                        1. Delhi, India

                                        6849982923_9b58efd08d_b

                                          VasenkaPhotography

                                          Delhi, the capital of India is the most affordable city to make it onto our list, ranked 239th out of the 247 most expensive cities. Known for it’s high population density and rich history, Delhi is truly a hotspot for those looking for affordable international destinations.

                                          Average costs:

                                          • Fast food combo meal  $3.93
                                          • 1 litre of whole milk  $0.74
                                          • 1 kg of apples  $1.92
                                          • 2 litres of Coca-Cola  $1.11
                                          • Monthly rent for 85 square metre apt in expensive area $502
                                          • 1 pair brand name sports shoes $56
                                          • Monthly transit pass $17
                                          • 1 roll on deodorant $2.70
                                          • 2 tickets to movies $8
                                          • 1 pack of Marlboro cigarettes $2.72

                                          All prices are in US dollars, based on conversion rates in November 2014. See Expatisan’s full city ranking here.

                                          Featured photo credit: sebastien batardy via flickr.com

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                                          Alicia Prince

                                          A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                                          Last Updated on September 2, 2020

                                          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                          How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                          Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                          In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

                                          4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

                                          Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

                                          1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                          Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                          It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

                                          Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

                                          2. Keep Goals Realistic

                                          It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

                                          It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                          3. Account for Inflation

                                          Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                          Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

                                          For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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                                          4. Short Term Vs Long Term

                                          Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

                                          As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                          By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                          How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                          Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

                                          • Ensuring healthy savings
                                          • Making smart investments

                                          You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

                                          Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                          Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                          This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                          1. Track Expenses

                                          The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

                                          Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

                                          If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

                                          2. Pay Yourself First

                                          Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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                                          Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                          The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

                                          Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

                                          3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

                                          Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

                                          Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

                                          At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                          Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                          You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                          4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                          In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                          Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                          • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
                                          • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
                                          • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                          The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                          5. Talk About It

                                          Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

                                          Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                          6. Maintain a Journal

                                          For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                          If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                          When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

                                          Making Smart Investments

                                          Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

                                          1. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                          Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                          Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                          2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                          Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

                                          Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

                                          As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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                                          3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                          Einstein once remarked about compounding:

                                          “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

                                          Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                                            Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                            Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                            4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                            All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                            If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                                            Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                            The Bottom Line

                                            Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                                            and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                                            More Tips on Financial Goals

                                            Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                                            Reference

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