Do you make a good salary, but still feel like you struggle to find money to pay the bills every month? Or maybe you run out and spend your paycheck the minute it hits your bank account – forgetting that you’ve already got bills and credit cards to pay. Oops! Money management sounds scary and many people are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. The good news is that with just a few simple skills, you can change the way you think about money and discover you have enough for everything you need, including saving.
Build an Emergency Fund
Let’s face it, emergencies happen. Instead of relying on credit cards or other debt in a crisis situation, build an emergency fund. Depending on your situation and lifestyle, it’s suggested you keep three to six months’ worth of expenses set aside. If you’re single or the sole provider for a family, six months is better. If you’re a two-income family, at least three months is recommended. More is always better, but these are good targets to get you started.
What do you want to do with your money? Buy a house? Go on a fabulous vacation? Retire? Keeping these goals in mind will impact how you allocate your fund each month and also help you talk with a financial planner about the best options for you.
Assess Where You’re At
How are you doing with those goals? What can you do to manage your money differently to help you get, and stay, on track with them? Consider working with a Certified Financial Planner or other money management professional to help you get organized and come up with an investment plan.
You need to know where your money is going every month. Keep track of what you’re spending. Look at what you can change to reduce expenses. After you’ve made some cuts, remember to pay yourself first. Determine how much you can and need to save each month and make that the first “bill” you pay each month.
Your savings account is a key component of money management, but it’s not going to be enough to help you retire. You’ll need to invest to get the return you need. Don’t let this stress out you! There are amazing financial planners out there. Ask for recommendations and take the time to speak with a few before deciding on one. They’re going to be in charge of handling your money. You need to be sure you trust them and they understand your goals and values.
With these simple steps, you’ll have a much better handle on your money – and it won’t take long!
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