Monday, December 03, 2007

8 Tips to guarantee a stable financial life

Just because you’re a doctor, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be financially set for life. Nor does it mean that because you’re a teacher, you’ll always have to live day by day. The job you have does not guarantee a stable financial life. What really makes a difference, is how well an individual plans his personal finances.

The difference is smart planning. And if you want to be a successful individual, then you’d better make sure you’re following these nine back-to-basics tips:

1. Maximize Employment Benefits

Make the most of your professional benefits and take advantage of the ones that can save you money, by reducing taxes or out-of-pocket expenses such as dental and medical insurance.

2. Review Your Insurance Needs

If there’s anyone in your life that depends on you financially, then insurance is not an option; it’s an obligation. These days, you need to have enough insurance to protect your dependents and your income in case of death or disability.

Unfortunately, most people pay for more than they need when it comes to life and disability insurance. Before making a final decision as to what kind of insurance to buy, I recommend you review your insurance needs.

3. Contribute to a Retirement Plan

This move is a no-brainer; everyone should contribute to a retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan that you don’t use, you’re literally throwing a good deal down the toilet. If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, contribute directly to one through an IRA.

4. Spend Less Than You Earn

The first basic personal finance rule to follow, is to spend less than you earn. It sounds simple, right? Yet so many people exert great effort in order to follow this rule — probably because of the ease of spending with credit cards.

This is where many people find personal budgeting helpful, by setting guidelines in their expenses. But keep in mind that no matter the size of your personal income, you’ll never get ahead if you spend more than you earn.

5. Pay Off Credit Card Balances

Although convenient, once credit card debts add up and you find yourself paying ridiculously high interest rates, you’ll soon realize that you’ll never be able to get ahead financially.

Make your money last by managing your credit card expenses and paying off your monthly balances, to avoid any useless expenditures on interest fees that eat away at your wealth.

6. Follow Your Budget

Not enough people have personal budgets, and even fewer follow them. Yet having a budget is so basic and important to succeed financially. How can you set saving and spending objectives if you don’t know where your money is going? Everything starts with a plan.

7. Develop a Savings Plan

Before you pay anyone a dime, make sure you’re paying yourself first. After all, you work hard for that paycheck. I recommend that you set aside 8-10 percent of your salary for savings before making purchases or payments.

8. Invest, Invest, Invest

Don’t be afraid to make money with your own money. You’ve worked hard for your money, now it’s time that some of it starts working for you. If you’re contributing to a retirement plan and a savings account, and can still manage to put some money into other investments, all the better.

money matters

No matter how much money you make or what employment position you hold, it is important to realize that you need to plan your personal finances today, in order to enjoy the fruits of your labor tomorrow.

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