Best Practices to Living a Financially Healthy Lifestyle
Friday Nov. 19th, 2021
One thing that often gets missed in formal education these days is financial literacy. Many people go their whole lives without ever learning how to manage their money properly and often end up losing out as a result. But the good news is, it’s never too late to learn, and you don’t have to do it all at once to start seeing the positive effects. You can learn a little bit at a time, and these are just a few suggestions to kick start your monetary education.
Learn How to Budget
It’s on every list, and it’s on them all for a reason. Properly understanding why and how to budget is the first fundamental skill you should learn. Knowing where your money is going is key to identifying where you might be overspending - allowing you to nip problems in the bud. Learn about practices like paying yourself first and zero-based budgeting. Decide what is going to work best for you and stick to it. Budgets are also great tools for helping you learn where you can seek out discounts. For example, there may be ways to lower your energy bill that you never realized you were overpaying for, because you never tracked it.
You may want to allocate your spare money to savings or investments at the beginning of the month before you spend it. If you struggle with impulse spending, read up on the methods people have found effective to help. Planning for the future often factors in here as well. Knowing what size housing deposit you need can help dictate how much to put away each month. You could also consider setting aside an emergency fund - turning a surprise bill from a major problem to a mild inconvenience.
Decide If You Need Insurance
Some insurances are essential - home and car insurance being two of the most obvious. Certain policies may even offer added benefits like legal aid or critical illness cover. But there are some circumstances where you may find your life insurance premium to be an unnecessary expense. In this case, it’s possible that the money could be put to better use. If you decide it could, you may choose to use a life settlement company to sell your life insurance for a cash sum. Check out a guide online that lists the top life settlement companies so you can pick the right one. You should also consider the company benefits package provided by your job; if your company offers health insurance, you can save by ensuring you aren’t paying for two policies.
Pay Attention to Interest
Learn how interest works. The interest you pay on your car loan, for example, is likely to be more than the interest you can earn on savings. This is why it often makes sense to pay off debt before starting to build up your savings. You can also consider investing. It’s riskier but often pays bigger dividends faster than savings alone. In today’s economy, understanding the fastest way to save or increase your funds is going to make a world of difference.
Take Professional Advice
Everyone is quick to offer advice when it comes to money; some of it is sound advice, but some might be anecdotal. Just remember that the world is changing quickly, and what worked for our parents and grandparents may not always hold true in the modern day. In some cases, it may be worth hiring a financial advisor to help you make the best decision with your money, especially when it comes to scarier concepts such as investing.
Consider Your Future
Don’t get in the habit of spending all your money each month because you think it’s spare. This feeds back into your budgeting. Those unexpected quarterly bills can put you in a real bind if you aren’t prepared for them. Beyond that, though, you need to plan for your retirement and start contributing to a pension fund now. The future is uncertain and it’s unwise to rely on social safety nets, so consider living a little leaner now as a trade-off for a more secure future.