Regardless of where our finances are today, all of us could stand to be a little more financially smart at any given time. And the best person to take care of the old you, is the young you.
Here are 16 smart money moves to make today
1. Pay off debt - Nothing will get you further along in the game of money, then erasing debt out of your life. Debt is a destroyer of wealth, and over the years, I've sort of learned to dislike it. There are two sides to your wealth equation: assets and liabilities, and debt is a liability. When you lower your debt, you automatically have more money.
2. Live below your means - Consider downsizing if you have to. Do you what you can to live with less. If you earn $60,000 per year, don't spend $80,000 a year. Sounds simple, but most people don't do it. This is one of the absolute easiest ways to have more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Every time you get a raise at your job, don't spend more.
3. Become an expert in your field - There is nothing more valuable than a subject matter expert. Work on becoming the "go to" person in whatever you do. When you add value, the chances of increasing your compensation drastically increase. Do what you can to be an expert.
Get a job, stay on the job, get good at the job, learn ferociously about the job, and willingly help others on the job! If you've been on your job more than 2 or 3 years, you are probably close to being an expert. There's always a demand for your services when you are the best.
4. Create and live on a household budget - Put demands on your money to do what you want it to do. Create a written monthly budget on paper that is unique to the month you are in, and follow it like it's the law. Discipline yourself to take this incredibly powerful tool called a budget, and use it to your advantage. A budget creates the one thing you need the most when it comes to money, which is discipline.
5. Start a business - Figure out what you are good at or have experience with, and monetize it for yourself. Take your God given gift, or a skill you've acquired over the years, or a talent you have naturally, and hone it, refine it, and make money doing it.
With the right commitment and persistence, and a steady diet of google and YouTube, you can do it. I started selling shoes on eBay by watching YouTube videos. Anything is possible with the right amount of desire.
Click HERE to check how I got started selling shoes on Ebay.
6. Invest a portion of your money - The sooner you start, the more "time" will work in your favor. Compound interest is a beautiful thing! Contribute, at least, up to the max in your jobs retirement plan. I contribute 7%. It doesn't take a lot. Just do a little over a long period of time, starting now.
At the same time, you should consider purchasing real estate or opening a brokerage account at a well-known brokerage house. The point here is to put your money into an investing tool that is appreciating (growing) in value. Even if you start small, just developing the habit, is crucial.
7. Read more books - Turn the television off and invest in a few good books about money. Commit to reading a complete money book a month. Don't listen to it via audiobook. Read it. Self-development and introducing yourself to new information, new terms, new ways of thinking about money, and new authors, will grow your knowledge quickly.
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My suggestion is to sit down and find quiet time to read on a daily basis. Something occurs in the dendrites of your brain when you read pages on a book. Feed your spirit through the power of reading.
8. Put aside an emergency fund - In the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, it's smart to put aside some cash, just in case. If Murphy's Law hasn't come knocking yet, just wait around, it will. Your goal should be to prepare yourself by putting aside 3 to 6 months of living expenses as soon as possible.
You need to be sure you are prepared for whatever comes your way. Instead of taking those 2 vacations you had planned, consider taking that $3,000 and putting it aside for an emergency fund. The furnace will go out, the car will break down, or the washer will go out. I guarantee it. If you aren't ready for it, you only have yourself to blame.
Check out the video at the end of this blog post for more tips on ways to manage your money
9. Help others - The more you give, the more you will have! If you aren't giving, you are losing. What you give and how much you give, is your choice, but if you aren't contributing your money to something other than yourself, you're missing out of one of the greatest joys of life.
Every one that's been granted the gift of life, should give something back to enhance the life of someone else.
10. Cook at home instead of eating out - This one not only saves money, but it's more healthy for you. A simple modest average of $10 dollars a day eating out adds up to $300 per month, which is $3,600 per year, which is $36,000 in 10 years. Add in the interest, as if you had invested that money, and the compound interest that you failed to gain on it, and you just squandered $150,000+, over a 30 year period, just by spending an average of $10 a day eating out.
11. Cut up your credit cards - Credit cards are bad on so many levels. I hear so many people say "I have my credit card for emergency purposes". My response to that is, If you have a properly funded emergency fund (see #8 above), you don't need a credit card for an emergency.
The other thing to think about is the fact that people tend to spend more freely when they swipe a credit card, rather then use cash. If you don't like carrying cash, carry a debit card that is directly tied to your checking account. The whole point here is this: If you can't afford it cash, don't buy it.
12. Create written short and long term money goals - Short term is 1 to 12 months, and Long term is 3 to 5 years, or more, down the road. Don't just write goals, commit to them and position them somewhere in the house where you can see them daily. Be creative here.
Put it on your phone, put it in your car, put it on your screensaver on your computer at home and at work. Whatever you have to do, do it. Set a big vision, have realistic and measurable goals, and add in 3 or 4 action steps under each goal. The action steps are specific things you need to do daily to reach your goals. Click HERE to check out a recent article on goal setting.
13. Make sure you have life insurance - If you have money to eat, then you can afford good term life insurance. This is the first and most basic piece of financial planning. If you don't have life insurance, you are doing a disservice to your loved ones.
You can get life insurance quick. Go through an online broker so that you can get the best rates. There is no excuse to not have a good term life insurance policy. Bottom line: Get Life Insurance.
14. Get an accountability partner - Success is a team sport. You go harder, when you have to answer to someone else. Ask any track athlete what makes them run faster? They always run their fastest times when they are being challenged and pushed. A spouse, a friend, or a family member will work. You need someone you trust to be on this journey with you.
15. Take good care of your health - Nothing else on this list matters if you aren't taking good care of your health. Eating correctly, drinking plenty of clean water, walking and staying active, and being conscious of your health, is huge. It's something that all of us can do right now and it can possibly help avoid future medical expenses down the road. You can only enjoy your money to the extent that you are healthy enough to do so.
16. Get to know new people. Networking is the piece of wealth building that most people completely miss out on. You need to add and subtract people to and from your circle of friends and associates that reflect where you are going financially, not where you are coming from. New people equal new experiences, which will likely lead to new habits and new ideas about money.
These are 16 things that you can do, starting today!
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Remember, your personal behavior and individual choices with money now, will mean more money for you and your loved ones tomorrow.
Check out the video below for more tips to manage your money