If you are like most people, you never received instruction on personal finance in school, and your parents probably did not discuss money with you either. After you moved out, you had to muddle along on your own, figuring out on your own how to best manage your personal finances. This article will discuss a few important concepts that you need to know, and will offer a few tips on getting the most out of your money.
Exercise caution when you estimate what sort of mortgage payments you can afford. A mortgage is a very long-term financial proposition. Meeting your payment obligations will rely on how much money you will earn over a number of years. Keep in mind the possibility that your income may stay constant or even fall in the future, when you consider mortgage payments.
Monitor your accounts for signs of identity theft. Purchases you don’t remember making or credit cards showing up that you don’t remember signing up for, could all be signs that someone is using your information. If there is any suspicious activity, make sure to report it to your bank for investigation.
It is never too early to save for the future. Even if you have just graduated from college, starting a small monthly savings program will add up over the years. Small monthly deposits to a retirement account compound much more over 40 years than larger amounts can over 10 years, and have the additional advantage that you are used to living on less than your total income.
Protection from identity theft is something that you should insure yourself against, especially if you do a lot of work on your computer. Make sure that all of your information is password protected and that you have a solid anti-virus protection program. This will reduce hacking and protect your financial information.
Spend less than you make. Living even right at your means can cause you to never have savings for an emergency or retirement. It means never having a down payment for your next home or paying cash for your car. Get used to living beneath your means and living without debt will become easy.
Even if your home has decreased in value since you bought it, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to lose money. You don’t actually lose any money until you sell your house, so if you don’t have to sell at the moment, don’t. Wait until the market improves and your property value begins to rise again.
Look for a free checking account, as there is no need to waste money unnecessarily. Get something that has no minimum balance requirement, no transaction fees and no monthly fees. The majority of banks still offer free, no interest checking accounts. Others have checking accounts that can be free if you sign up for direct deposit.
The chances are high that your money will work harder, not in savings, bonds, stocks, etc. but in paying down your credit cards. Generally, credit card debt is the most punishing debt that households have. Credit card interest rates are now so high that paying your card debt is like putting money into a double-digit interest yielding, risk-free account.
Your portfolio needs to be rebalanced annually. This can help make your investments realign with risk goals and tolerance. Rebalancing also gives an opportunity to exercise the discipline of selling high and buying low.
When you buy a new car, make the biggest possible down payment. The car depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot, so without the big down payment, you’ll soon owe more than the car is worth (you’ll be upside down on your note). Any change in your finances and you could be in default.
Stay Organized! Organization can be very helpful in personal finance. Organization usually leads to success and being organized in your personal finance is not very difficult. Keeping track of your bills, due dates, and how much money you have can work wonders. Using a calendar and a specific station for all of your personal finance information can help you keep very organized.
Checkbook management, taxes, budgeting, and stock market investing are all equally important in your personal finance portfolio. Taking care of your personal finances isn’t difficult, but it does require discipline and a little education. Now that you you know the best ways to manage your money, you can put your money to work for you, turning it into a fungible resource.