In most aspects of life, the journey itself is just as important as the destination. This includes the path you need to take to get your finances in order. It can be intimidating - but with the right directions and guides, it definitely doesn’t have to be!
Here are five goals you can get started on today to pave your path to financial success and stability:
Determine a budget
The first thing you want to do is collect all your statements, account balances, and any money hidden anywhere, and figure out how much you have on you right now. If you don’t want to crunch the numbers yourself, sites like Personal Capital can quickly do this and display everything nice and neatly for you - for free!
Once you’ve figured out what you have and what you owe, it’s time to set up a budget. There are a few ways to do this:
Flex those Excel skills and create a spreadsheet, where you can track monthly, weekly, or even daily;
Use a budgeting app like Mint, which can send you notifications in real-time about your budget (the “Set it and Forget it” method);
Set a meeting with your financial advisor (wink wink) and set up a budget for you together - this can allow for flexibility and you won’t be tracking it alone or relying on a robot.
Once your budget is set, you can see exactly how much you need to survive the day-to-day, along with how much you can allocate towards debt, savings, and investments.
Prioritize your debt
The next step is to start ticking away at those loans. Your budget will show you how much you can spend monthly on your loans - now start applying it! The nice thing too is that you can adjust numbers here and there depending on if you want to be more liberal or conservative with your debt repayment - just make sure you adjust the rest of your budget to make up for the difference so you don’t end up putting more money towards your payments than you can actually afford.
Decide how you will contribute to retirement
After setting a budget and paying off your debt, the next task you’ll want to tackle is getting yourself set up for retirement. What kind of account do you want to contribute to? Does your company have a 401(k), or will you need to open an IRA? Be sure to research all your options, and pick the plan that’s right for you.
Figure out how to make your money grow
Congratulations! You’re beginning to set up a nice cushion for yourself. But - don’t get too comfy yet. While having a stable income is good, don’t you want to learn how to earn more?
This is where investing comes in. What is considered fun or a gamble to some can be intimidating for others - what if I lose all that I’ve worked up towards? More often than not, however, investing is worth it purely for the fact that you will walk away with more than you put in. As the old adage goes - “You gotta spend money to make money.”
Again, be sure to do your research: you can start with this article here.
Even if all your ducks are in a row, having an advisor or a mentor is a great way to stay focused and to be sure you’re making the right decisions. Many of the top successful people will say that they had a mentor, and wouldn’t have made half of their money-making decisions without them.
Whether you’re planning for retirement, looking to get out of debt, or just wanting a question answered - we can help. Click here to contact us and schedule your free 60-minute consultation today!
What are your goals financially to help build and secure your future? Let us know in the comments!