When it comes to maintaining a happy, healthful lifestyle, we shouldn’t just be whipping up healthy culinary creations in the kitchen or getting in our mile walk a day. In fact, when was the last time you analyzed your finances for their state of health? I get it…looking at them can be like getting on the scale after the holidays. Sigh and cringe time. And, it’s not necessarily how much money we have but how astute we are with our funds that dictate our financial health. Let’s take a look at several life-changing actions to keep your finances thriving for life.
Keep Your Finances Thriving For Life #1: Prepare and Understand
Before you can get financially fit, it’s necessary to prepare your plan and understand where you are now. This isn’t just about your bank balance either. It’s vital to know all of your expenditures, debts, investments, income, and future needs. Additionally, understanding exactly how and why you and your family spend money is imperative. Leave no stone unturned with your preparation. Write out EVERYTHING! It’s a good time to have a family pow-wow about what things are important and how you want to live.
Keep Your Finances Thriving For Life #2: Put Your Family on a Budget
Once you completely understand where you are and where you want to be, set a budget to help guide you. Each member of the family needs to know the goals and how you plan to reach them. Little Johnny may be set on having a dream vacation to Disneyland. And you could be worried about having the money to set up a college fund for the kids. Know this: you all can dream and you all can go for those dreams! It just takes some planning and discipline.
Keep Your Finances Thriving For Life #3: Reduce or Eliminate Debt
The strongest financial plans are those with little or no debt. That said, I understand how hard it can be to live without using credit sometimes. The best piece of advice I ever got about borrowing money is really very simple. If it won’t be important to you in five years, don’t borrow to buy it. Of course, there are exceptions to this theory. It’s OK to use credit to pay for small items if you pay it back monthly or bimonthly. This helps to keep your credit score healthy and active. However, some savvy women like to keep debt to their mortgage and vehicle.
If you do have a significant amount of debt now, try to pay the small ones off first. Eliminating those payments will free up a chunk of money to put toward the larger bills. If you do this consistently, your debt will be paid faster, saving you money in the long run.
Keep Your Finances Thriving For Life #4: Save a Portion of Your Income Each Week
I can hear you now…”How can we save if we can hardly pay our bills?” Look, I get it. It’s not always easy to discipline yourself to put away money for a rainy day. Being able to put money in the bank and not touch it may be a foreign concept to you. Please know that change happens over a period of time. I’m not saying that you need to shove half of your paycheck in the bank each week. Start with some of the extra you find when setting your budget. Don’t see any extra? Wait until you pay some of that debt off and redirect the money to savings. You can also tighten things up a bit. Find ways to trim the extras from your budget.
Keep Your Finances Thriving For Life #5: Invest
As well as saving some of your disposable income, consider investing some of it. Though there are huge differences between professional traders and amateurs, you can do quite well in the market. This article at Forex might help to put it into perspective for you. If dabbling in the stock market fills you with fear, you might want to consider hiring a financial consultant or employing a fund manager to invest money on your behalf.
Another way to invest is purchasing property or other valuables such as art or precious metals. This might be a better option for you if you prefer less risk. Plus you get to enjoy the items you buy while you wait for the value to go up. Do know that all investing has some risk.
Keep Your Finances Thriving For Life #6: Teach Your Kids How to Handle Money
As a part of your financial legacy, it’s important to teach your children how to handle money from the beginning. After all, they will more likely do what you do than do what you say. Show them how to be frugal and still enjoy life. Be careful about how you present your attitude about money as well. If they believe dealing with money is hard or to be feared, they will act out those things in the future. Give them the opportunity to save, spend, and make money choices as soon as possible. They can be responsible for a part of the family’s finances and budget.