1. Know your Numbers
This includes all of your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It’s not possible to build a house without the foundation.
2. Set Financial Goals
Set short, mid, and long-term goals. These are less than 5 years, 5-10 years, and longer than 10 years respectively. Having goals provides something to work towards and focus on. Without goals, it’s just a dream.
3. Have a Savings Account With 6 Months of Savings
Planning for the unexpected is somewhat of a theme here. In an unfortunate case of a layoff or unexpected expenses, it will ease your mind to know that you have that emergency backup. Whatever may cause you to dip into this is a stressful enough time in itself. You don’t need to also be worrying about finances at the same time.
4. Protect Your Greatest Asset: Your Income
Losing the ability to perform your job is never a fun conversation to have, but it is necessary. Having insurance in the case of disability or an early death will make sure you and your family are cared for in a time of hardship.
5. Create a Savings Plan That is Aligned With Your Risk Tolerance
Talk to a Certified Financial Planner about what this would look like for you. It is important that you are taking the right steps to invest in your future based on where you are in your life. This plan should align with your short, mid, and long-term goals.
6. Use Debt to Invest in Yourself Instead of Liabilities
Instead of going in debt with credit cards or unnecessary car payments, use that money to invest in yourself. This could be continuing education, learning new skills, or investing in your health.
7. Audit Your Subscriptions Annually
These days, monthly subscriptions can really add up. What may seem like a small amount can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. Make sure you have an updated list with all of your subscriptions so you can see how much is spent each month. Go over each one and determine if it’s really necessary to have.
8. Maximize Tax Advantage Savings over Taxable Savings
Taxable savings is what most people who are not familiar with tax strategies have. This includes your basic savings accounts and brokerage accounts. Talk with an advisor to learn more about how to get a more favorable tax strategy.
9. Have a Plan to Pay Down Debt
Prioritize what debt you have that should be paid off first. Make sure to stay on top of payments to avoid any late fees that can also hurt your credit.
10. Work Collaboratively and Transparently With a Certified Financial Planner
Just like going to the Doctor, going to a Financial Planner is vital to staying financially healthy. Let the professionals do what they’re best at in order to help you with all of these steps.