It's never too late to start making smart financial moves in your life. Follow these tips to help you get started now!
Upbeat Attitude - No matter how old or young you are, you may have some regrets about how you have managed your money. I know I wish I had started paying attention to my financial future in my twenties, but, guess what? I didn't! So, do I sit and dwell on my mistakes or do I look forward and try to change things now? I look forward. Any move in a positive direction is better than not moving at all or worse yet, going backwards in my financial behavior. There are things I can't control (like a global pandemic) that will affect my finances, however, there are so many things I can do to make things better for my future.
Live Below Your Means - One thing that can really help is to always live on less money than you make. Just because you CAN afford a very expensive car, doesn't mean you HAVE TO own it. Take a look at your finances. Consider your debts or if you have little debt, your monthly bills and even your grocery spending. Are there places you can live with a little less? Even if you have never had to stretch a dollar in the past, you may have learned while being quarantined exactly what you can actually live without when you have to. When you get a raise a work, put that extra money away in a savings account, or use the extra to pay off your debt. Don't just increase your expenses. The more you can live on less, the more you will actually live with MORE money and if you ever have to live on less money, you will still feel like you have all of your needs met because you know how to spend on what you need, not all your wants.
Less Truly is More - We hear the word "downsizing" all the time and think of those "empty nester" adults whose family has all grown and now it's just two people wandering around a large house! But, I recently met a young family of four who had purchased not too long ago a large new home. It was a beautiful home. There was nothing wrong with it, in itself. They could afford it just fine. However, they noticed that it had a lot of space they just didn't use. At all. So, when a home became available that was a bit smaller (and even older) in a more affordable neighborhood, they decided to give it a look and see what they thought. They really liked it the first time they saw it and decided to buy it the second time they saw it! The idea that their family would fit just fine in the house AND they would save a lot more on a lower house payment really appealed to them. It also was closer to family, which of course is more important than any possession. Find a car that costs less, or better yet get an older car with cash and no payments at all. Save for that expensive outfit you want instead of charging it and eat at home more than eating out. You will find you have more in your bank and less stress in your life because your wallet won't be so stretched to it's max capacity!
Kids Don't Need Everything - We all work hard so that our families will have all their needs and most of their wants met. But, sometimes we start to blur the line between the needs and wants and find ourselves in a financial mess because we have done too much for our kids. If your kids are young, you want them to have "everything you didn't have" and more, but, spending loads of money on those extra special dance lessons or private sports teams isn't necessarily providing them with more skills or fun than they would have in a less expensive dance class or playing sports at school. Most kids do what YOU start them off in. You set the tone. I am not saying that kids being in special activities is a bad thing, but, it's like anything else, you can be involved in something and not go overboard with the cost. The same is with adult children that might need some financial help from their parents from time to time. It's not a bad thing to be there for your family when they are hurting financially, but, when you are continually paying for an adult child's expenses and they can't seem to make it on their own, you are not only destroying your financial future, you really aren't helping them find their way to a good financial future either. Take a look at your financial relationships with your kids and make adjustments. This will not only help you out in the long run, but will certainly be better for your kids too.
Emergency Situations - Emergency situations will happen and it will affect your finances. Health emergencies, job emergencies and maybe a natural disaster that is unexpected (like a pandemic!) and you need to be prepared for them. Not only is having health insurance something that is necessary, but, when you are older you may need some long term care insurance as well. I am not quite there yet with that type of insurance, but, along with our health insurance we budget a certain amount from our pay to be set aside for health expenses such as prescriptions, over the counter vitamins and meds, and just to have money aside to meet the doctor visit payments we have to pay until our deductible is met. Also, having an emergency fund for any unexpected emergencies that come up helps us to insure ourselves against appliance breakdowns, unexpected home repairs and other things that slam us when we don't expect it. It's best to have 3 to 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund just in case you may be unemployed for some unforeseen reason. No matter how secure you may feel in your current job situation, sometimes things just happen. Be prepared.
Guaranteed Income for the Win - No matter what age you are or your job situation, having some sort or income that will come in like clockwork is not only good to keep your budget needs met but can keep stress at bay for those lean times you might have. Whether its a small side job or having some investments that generate income on a monthly basis, having something that will be there always will make for a safer, smarter and more stress free financial future.
The time is NOW to start some good financial moves for YOUR future. So start with a positive outlook and a burning desire to move forward and you will be ready to go!