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Crunch Your ‘Survival Number’
Money is hard to deal with sometimes. Just talking about money can be one of the most difficult conversations to have with your spouseparents or children.
We might even feel uncomfortable seeking professional financial advice. Handling a long-term shaky financial status and then pulling ourselves out of it can actually make it harder to share information with a professional—or with anyone, for that matter.
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We might feel too bad to ask for financial help or advice. We might be afraid to take a realistic look at our finances, even for ourselves. One of the first steps to getting a handle on your finances is to open up about them!
Follow a Budget To truly think like a financial adviser, establishing a clearly defined well-planned budget is key.
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When creating your budget, the most important thing is to keep it realistic and set yourself up for success. These items will inevitably come up, and, as the saying goes: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Keep your budget realistic, but also make it as tight as you can stand.
Your goal is to set a budget you can both afford and follow. Try it how to make smart money a month or two and make adjustments as you go.
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Look at your budget to determine what you can work in. Keep Your Finances Organized Setting up your budget is one step in the right direction to financial organization.
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You can also try other ways to organize your finances like only using cash or sticking to gift cards to help you keep a handle on your spending. Watch for opportunities to use bonuses, benefits and trading signals from professional traders to stretch your money even further.
When you do spend, keep track of important receipts, warranties and rebates—and take care of them right away. If you have the opportunity to earn cash-back or reward points for spending, or if you take advantage of special offers like Groupon, always keep track of what you buy and pay close attention to expiration dates and restrictions. When looking at your bills and debt, plan to pay them as quickly as possible to avoid late fees and collections. Examine interest rates and consider negotiating better deals on your utilitiesphone, and other bills.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple phone call. Even fifty years ago, a mortgage was the only debt buyers would willingly take on and sometimes not even that.
TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR HOME LIFE
Nowadays, people spend on credit, take a loan out to get a car, and much of what is owned is bought on promise. We are living in a world of debt. Creditors can become relentless and debt can grow exponentially, quickly becoming insurmountable. Live within your means. Is it easy?
It can be challenging to turn down credit and to say no to bargains and things we want to spend money on. This method works surprisingly well, and is fast and satisfying.
When paying off your debts, sort them by size, and pay off your smallest debt first.
As you pay off each bill, the amount you can put toward payment increases, because you have fewer and fewer payments to make. Other advisors have suggested paying off bills by the size of the interest charged.
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While this method also works, the debt snowball can be even more satisfying because you can see immediate results and have the satisfaction of seeing your number of bills quickly go down. They may be able to help you identify realistic ways to pay off your debt, work with creditors to adjust your minimum payments, or consolidate your bills into an easier-to-handle format.
Keep Enough Savings Financial advisors tout the benefits of having a savings account that covers your emergency needs. Having emergency savings is a key part of working toward financial peace. There are many ways to start to seed your emergency savings—you can sell somethingpick up how to make smart money few odd jobs around the neighborhood, take up some freelance workor adjust your budget to allow you to put a little away each month until you reach your savings goal.
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Once your debt is paid off, shoot for saving even more money to help you during tough times like a job loss or sudden financial hardship.
Realistically, you should have 3 to 6 months of income put away for a rainy day. That means getting your money to work harder for you. If your employer offers any pre-tax savings for retirement, take advantage as fully as possible.
If you have the opportunity to participate in a Health Savings Account HSA or other vehicles that can help you cover regular bills without paying taxes, participate and save. One of the easiest ways to make your money work for you is to invest a little each month.
1. Create a Spending Plan & Budget
How to make smart money payments to life insurance, k s, and other investments to be automatically withdrawn. Ask your bank to transfer a small amount into savings on the day you get paid.
This way the money is never at your fingertips, so you can resist the temptation to spend it.
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When you have a few thousand dollars in savingsroll over the money into a CD, money market account or other savings vehicle where you will receive better returns on your investment.
It can get addicting to see all the ways your money can grow and the great rates of return.
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Some people love following the stock market and having money they can move quickly. Others prefer mutual funds and CDs, which require less involvement and hands-on activity. Whatever you choose, pick something you understand.
Financial advisors are prepared to deal with these big changes—they do it every single day. They can help you watch for loopholes and hidden fees, and keep you from making poor choices driven by emotion or fear. If you make a major investment, are heading toward retirement, want to return to school or switch from public to private educationthese are all times to seek advice. No one knows what the future holds, but we all can make certain plans for a few expected things. Talk to a financial adviser and have them help you figure out a plan that will work for you.
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If you or your spouse become injured or worse, you need to have a plan to protect yourself financially. Create a will and set up a trust or savings plan for the care of your children. It can be hard to address the future and to sit down and do long-term planning, especially if it seems like something far off in the distance. When it comes to financial situations, we often try to go it alone. Yes, we all deal with money every day, but a professional financial advisor can be highly valuable, especially when facing the unknown or dealing with situations that are new and unfamiliar.