Here’s what she had to say.
KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Looking at what comes in and what goes out can be intimidating. It’s the moment of truth when you find out if you are going to make it to the next month on top or if you’re going to keep spiralling down.
There are many reasons to put it off: there’s no hope for me anyways, why bother looking? Maybe if I don’t look at it, I won’t have to feel bad about myself.
The problem: if you never know where you are, how are you going to know how to get to where you want to be?
The first step to taking control of your life and your finances is by looking at where you are sitting today. The only way to do that is to start figuring out how much you earn monthly and how much you spend monthly.
Tip: It isn’t about where you are, it’s about where you’re going!
MANAGE YOUR DEBT
If we haven’t been working for awhile, sometimes our debts can start to rack up.
Be mindful of which company you are holding your debt with. Find the companies that will give you better interest rates. You will be able to pay off your credit cards faster when the interest is lower.
Also, once you find the perfect card for you, DON’T MISS MINIMUM PAYMENTS. Missing a payment often gives the credit company reason to re-raise the rates on your card! Then you’re back to square 1.
Tips on getting rates:
- Having a long history with the banks will often incentivise them to give you offers for better rates.
- Having a good credit history will make it easier to apply for better credit cards.
- To maintain a good credit history, often you just need to ensure that you are making your payments on time. Build a schedule to know when your bills are due, or have automatic payments set up on your account so that you never miss a minimum payment.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
When we get our income, there are many ways we can look at how to spend it. Our initial instinct is to pay out our expenses first and then keep whatever is left over.
The problem: there just never seems to be an end to our expenses.
Paying yourself first means that when your income comes in, the first thing you do is set aside some savings for yourself. Then you start to allocate what is left over towards your expenses and bills.
“But I don’t have enough to put away!”
The idea here is that we build a habit of saving money. You don’t have to start off big, you can start small. The important key is starting. If all that you can muster up is $25/month, start with that! After a few months of doing that, you can then re-evaluate and see if you can increase up to another $50/month.
Now, will $25/month be enough to make your future if that was all that you did for the rest of your life? Not likely. But it will start the habit of putting money into your pocket first before you start to give it away to someone else. As long as you start putting something away for the long haul, the possibilities of where it will lead you become endless!
But why don’t I wait until after my debts are paid, or after I get a raise, or after I start to see what my budget is like at the end of the month?
A lot of people want to “wait until they are ready” to start saving money. The thing is, there is no perfect time to start. And time is our greatest asset when it comes to putting money away.
So what are you waiting for? Start today!
FIND AN ADVISOR YOU CAN RELY ON
Advisors are experts in their field; they have 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to learn about the best methods of managing and handling your finances. Their expertise and advice could be what leads you down the path to financial riches, but with the wrong advice, it could also be what hinders your financial future.
Things to look for in an advisor:
- Find someone with long-term plans to stay in the industry. Someone looking ahead into the future will recognize that if they do right by you today, they will gain your loyalty forever. It gives them the incentive to ensure they are providing the best service and advice that they possibly can. They will want to see your money grow just as much as you do.
- Find someone who meshes well with your ideals and personality. The road to financial well-being does not come over night. It is a process and you will want to walk through that process with someone who you can identify with, who you enjoy seeing, and who you know you can trust.
- Find an advisor with a large array of products to offer you. Not just within one company, but across the entire industry. The financial industry is constantly changing: the company that is performing the best today may not be the company that is performing the best tomorrow.
Our thanks to Felicia at World Financial Group for contributing to this blog post.