Basic Financial Tips

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Basic Financial Tips

Top 10 Financial Tips

Here's a printable version.

Keep yourself (or get yourself) organized: It’s important to have a system for filing your bills, tax information, insurance policies, etc. When you need information, it should be easy to find. Make sure your spouse, or someone else, knows where your important papers are in case you aren’t able to access them. Most households have one person who handles the “bills” and “money matters.” If that’s you, make sure your spouse is in the loop so that there are no “surprises.”

Know where your money goes: It is imperative to know where you spend money on a weekly or monthly basis. Keep a journal, budget sheet, spreadsheet, or download a bank app to keep track. Most people have more “month” than “money,” so check for any unnecessary spending habits.

Create a spending plan (budget): You now (hopefully) know where your money goes, so take the next step. Create a budget (spending plan) that gives you a “monthly plan and spending allowance” as opposed to “spending recklessly.” It will help you work towards having money left over at the end of the month (most people don’t). There is a helpful budget link at the bottom.
Review and reduce your debt: Debt is a cancer to your financial plan. Period. Most credit cards have high interest rates and will take many years to pay off if you pay the minimum payment. Most people make the minimum payment. If you can pay more than the minimum, add all the extra you have to one single debt (don’t spread the extra out) until that debt is paid off. When that debt is paid off, take the minimum payment and the extra (since your use to paying it) and add it to another debt. Keep doing this until all are paid off. Also, stop using them!

Set Financial goals: We set goals for work, for physical health, the gym, etc. Set financial goals such as when you will be out of debt or when you will have various savings in place. True financial strength comes from being proactive (making things happen) in a time when most people are reactive (letting things just happen). Have fun with your financial goals by making it a game.

Build or maintain a strong credit report: Know what your credit reports say, and verify them annually for accuracy. Also know what your FICO score (credit worthiness score) is, and study how to strengthen and keep it strong. Everyone is entitled to 3 free credit reports annually (1 for each credit bureau). Use them. There is a link at the bottom for you to use.

Pay yourself first (second actually): When you receive income, give God his share (10% is Biblical), then pay yourself next. Create a habit of taking care of yourself first. Put money aside into your retirement account. I have found most people will save what is left at the end of the month. Let me clear that up, you’ll have nothing left at the end of the month! You will grow old (God willing) and need income, so invest in yourself.

Learn about investing: If your employer offers a retirement plan with a match, contribute the maximum they are willing to match, it’s FREE money for you. Research what a Traditional IRA and ROTH IRA are. Research what a Stock and a Mutual Fund is, and teach your kids. There is a link at the bottom to help you.
Start teaching your kids early about money: If they get an allowance or do odd jobs, use it as a tool to teach them. Have them tithe, save some, and spend some. These financial lessons will carry them far in life if applied.
Keep learning: Money and possessions are the 2nd most referenced topic in the Bible, being mentioned more than 800 times. Money is the most common basis for fights and divorce in households. It is a serious matter. Keep learning, keep trying, and honor God with the financial choices that you make.

Some great links:

How to create a budget

How to get your free credit report

Understanding Roth and Traditional IRA’s  

Understanding mutual funds

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