While insurance can help you be prepare in case of emergency, and to some extend for the future of your family members if something tragic were to happen to you, it’s how you handle your day to day finances that can really set you up for success. Sure, it may be decades away until you do finally retire and continue to enjoy life without the responsibility of work, but the earlier you can prepare, the better, as your nest egg can continue to grow over time. Now is the time to get your finances in order by reducing expenses and increasing saving, putting your hard-earned money to good use. Certainly, you should consult a professional if you are in need of help, but there are definitely a few moves you can make on your own to set yourself up for success.
Review Your Credit Report
These days you just never know who your information with the amount of identity theft can have, whether it’s sneaking a picture of your credit card, hacking into a retail computer, and even credit bureaus are not invisible from getting breached, so it’s a good idea to pull your credit report to ensure accounts are up to date and accurate. The major credit bureaus offer a free copy of your credit report once a month, and you can stay up to date on your credit score on monthly credit card statements to make sure you are continuing to head in the right direction towards ‘excellent’ credit.
Build an Emergency Fund
Much like your credit identification sometimes being out of your control, you never know when unexpected charges may hit you, whether it is medical or vet bills that are piling up, you hit a pothole and are in need of auto repair, or even worse, you lost your job and you need to hold your family over until you find one. By setting up an emergency fund and putting a few months’ worth of expenses into an account, you can give yourself cushion to have the funds available instead of putting on a credit card and paying back later, or worst of all, not being able to pay at al.
Get (and Stay) Out of Debt
Debt can be a scary thing and take it from someone who used to have a spending problem, once you’re in debt you can have a weight on your shoulders, feeling like you will never get out, and some don’t. If you were fortunate enough to make it out alive and haven’t gone back to your old spending ways, great, but if you are heading down that path, try and make the largest payment you can afford until the balance is gone. Carrying over to the next month and paying interest is a recipe for disaster.
Use the Right Credit Card
Speaking of using a credit card, while they may not be for everyone, credit cards can provide benefits such as giving you a grace period on purchases, and even better, earning cashback in the form of points or dollars just by making the purchases you were going to be making anyways, the excellent rewards. There are so many cards out there they are trying to get your business so keep looking for the best one with the highest rewards, lowest APR if you do have to carry a balance over, and preferably no annual fee. The higher the credit score you have the more opportunity you will have to get the best products on the market.
Increase Retirement Contributions
Before you know it, you will be winding down your working career and getting ready for retirement, and you don’t want to be left relying on the government to provide you an income. Ideally, you’d like to keep up your current quality of life and continue to enjoy life experiences, so saving for retirement is your best bet. Check at work to see if there are any company-matched contributions that you are not missing out on, as that could be huge amounts of free money you are not taking advantage of, especially that could be growing over time.
Sure, you can make all of the right moves, but when it comes down to it, you need to have more money coming instead of going out, so that may mean cutting some expenses, and even making some sacrifices in order to free up extra money. Things like avoiding going out to eat and going grocery shopping to prepare your meals at home could be the new lifestyle you may have to lead.
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