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If You Don’t Do These 12 Money-Savvy Moves Now, You’ll Regret 30 Years Later

If You Don’t Do These 12 Money-Savvy Moves Now, You’ll Regret 30 Years Later

No matter how big the income you get from your job or business, if you don’t know how to manage finances, you will never be able to move from point A to point B. Point A is where you are, money-wise, and point B is where you want to be. Before leaving your 30s behind, you should have mastered this bit of money wisdom.

Just to add more to your financial education, here are twelve moves you can do to take care of your treasure house.

1. Save while you can. When parenting necessities and mortgage costs rise, it will be hard to save money. You want to maximize the opportunities you presently have to stash away some cash, even little by little, so when the economically slow years will say hello, you won’t say mea culpa.

2. Plan for long term goals and identify your priorities. Now that your earning power is at its prime, grab the opportunity to plan on buying a house (that’s if you still haven’t), or think about how to implement college savings plan. When you start to have more expenses due to additional parental responsibilities such as the birth of another baby, school-related expenses for your children, or due to a bigger budget for a bigger car, etc., you’ll have lesser capability to put your plans into work.

3. Start a home business. As early as now, try to learn some new skills you can offer as a service and turn it into a business. You can also use part of what you have saved to start a business you can run from home. No, you don’t need to give up your job, not just yet. You need to grow it first and when it reaches a stage when it starts earning even more than what your getting as an employee, that’s the time you can think of slowly leaving work behind.

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Or better yet, start saving buffer cash, so when you finally resign from your job, you have money to spend while building up your baby startup. A business, something you are qualified to operate, is one of the best investments you can have, and a money-savvy move you can’t miss. Just make sure of 2 things: One, you are confident you can manage the line of business you’re planning to put up (because you’ve thoroughly studied it). Two, you’re passionate about the business.

4. Create wise and solid money habits. It’s high time to develop money habits that will help you weather financial storms for the rest of your life. Kerry Hannon, a personal finance expert who wrote “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+,” says that in her 30s, she used up all available credit on her retirement savings accounts and even saved a part of her extra income from freelancing for retirement. She told us, those funds have served her well over the past years as reserved funds to help pay for vacations, emergencies, and more. She says, she still saves apart from retirement accounts scrupulously in her 50s, too. She’s proud to say, it’s a habit she started way back in her 30s.

5. Prepare for contingencies. It’s always wise to prepare for any eventuality. The worse that can happen to you at this time and era is to have a financial bankruptcy. Now, to avoid this you can prepare for one. The thing is, if you prepare, you will have a bigger chance of not having one. Nice paradox, right? Well I think this is the coolest realization for today. But, how do you prepare for one? There are three essential ways: by saving, by educating yourself, and by investing. Saving is self explanatory, but what I meant by educating yourself is reading books, magazines, attending seminars/workshops and talking to mentors about finances. Heck, we take time and make efforts to learn to drive, why not spend time learning how to manage our finances!

6. Want to leave a job? Roll over your retirement. Most people change jobs in their 30s several times, seeking the right spot where to grow and elevate their value for future career moves. However, this can lead to a patchwork of 401(k) plans at a number of past employers. A wiser move is to re-invest them into an IRA or into your next job’s 401(k), tax-free.

7. Save for retirement. The best time to save for retirement is now that you are young and capable. If you start saving when you’re nearing retirement age, that will decrease your chances of accumulating enough funds to have a comfortable life in your twilight years.

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Recently, I read a book about financial planning by Francis Colayco, and I find it full of tips on how to retire with a bank full of cash. In a TV interview, he was asked why some high-income workers find it difficult to save money for retirement. Mr. Francis Colayco explains: “The biggest mistake people with money can make is premature acquisition of assets. They have enough for a down payment, they make the purchase. When asked how they will pay the amortization, they answer, ‘I’ll find a way.’ You can’t think like that, because the agreement you’ve entered into is an obligation that you have to pay whether or not you’ve made any profits. If you have no guarantee that you can pay, don’t make the investment, even if you have enough for the down payment.”

These unwise purchases will hinder you from saving for your future.

8. Get comfortable with negotiation. Learn and start to negotiate for higher salaries. A 52 year old certified financial planner who hails from Park City, Utah, Nancy L. Anderson, says while she has done many financially wise things in her 30s like saving enough college funds for her child, investing in rental property, buying a house, and setting aside 20% of her income, she realized she should have been bolder and asserted her right to get a higher salary. She said “If I’d negotiated a higher salary each time I changed companies in my career, I’d be wealthier today.” Most people move to other jobs approximately 11 times in their lifetime, negotiating for a better salary in those transitions could have accumulated me around $600,000,” she added.

9. Scope out cash for a down payment – prepare for a down payment for your first house. Even if retirement accounts are almost sacred, and many believe it’s not a wise decision to touch them, some financial planners consider it fair to use them as down payment for your first home.

You must justify this strategy by making sure you have enough time to replenish the accounts before retirement. In case you’re 45 or older, better not consider this idea. You must also be strategic with what account to tap. With a 401k, for example, you will incur a 10% penalty on early withdrawals and taxes. With an IRA, the U.S. government waives 10% of penalty on a distribution of even up to $10,000 for people buying a home for the first time. Despite this, you will still pay taxes on the withdrawal. The main point is, in your 30s you must find a way to make a down payment for your first home and look for ways to have enough consistent flow of income to pay for the amortizations. 

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10. Talk about money with your partner. If you’re married, working together with your spouse to be on track regarding finances and settling any disputes early on can prevent conflicts in the future. “People often comingle finances with their partner, and open communication is key. Make sure you talk about your finances and life goals with your partner, and align on how you will get there together,” Suzanna de Baca, Vice President of Wealth Strategies at Ameriprise Financial, suggests.

11. Set a goal for college savings. I know it’s a tough game. You are funding your retirement, and you are also demanded to plan and prepare for your kid’s college expenses. However, you can be practical by aiming to go to a public school for three years and two years at a private school and think of a way to pay the rest using current income. It will also help to have your student assist you in the expenses by encouraging him to take summer jobs. Use the college-cost calculator at Savingforcollege.com to manage scenarios like these. Sandy Block and Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine say, “To meet 50% of the total cost of four years at a public university, based on the current average annual cost ($17,131) and a 6% inflation rate for college costs, you’d need to save $222 a month for 18 years, assuming a 7% annual after-tax return on your college savings fund. If you covered half of only the tuition bill, you’d need to save $107 a month.”

12. Two salaries equals more taxes  It’s common, couples most often don’t realize one essential thing: they are taxed as a single entity. It’s true, the so-called “marriage penalty” has been diminished by legislation in the past recent years, so the obvious and easy way to reduce liability is for the husband and wife or both earners to save funds into tax-deferred accounts–IRA or 401(k).

Sources:

Business Insider.com, KIMBERLY PALMERU.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

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Financial Plan About.com,  

Money MSN.com, Sandy Block and Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine

Forbes.com, Mitch Tuchman, Contributor

Featured photo credit: *money explore*/John via flickr.com

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Anthony Dejolde

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

Reference

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