5-step financial plan to kick off 2022
BY JULIA ANDERSON
Yes, we are living in a whacky time with inflation taking a bite out of household budgets, stock markets in volatile territory and the Federal Reserve Bank deciding when to raise interest rates. All these factors will affect how we manage our money in the coming year. Here are 5 money tips to get the year off right!
No. 1 Keep up your long-term savings plan: No matter your income put money into a savings plan. This can be once a week, once a month. Just do it. Build an emergency fund so you don’t have to use credit cards if something bad happens. Put enough money into your employer’s 401(k) retirement program to at least earn the company matching money. Or start your own tax-deferred Individual Retirement Account or a Roth IRA. Plan out your retirement investment strategy, and don’t be too conservative.
No 2. Look over your household budget. Find ways to reduce expenses. Sure, gas prices are up, how about taking public transportation to your job or work from home? Save on food costs at the grocery store by buying in bulk, avoiding prepared items, and sticking with lower-cost fresh items. Budget management takes takes concentration and effort but worth it if you can cut costs. In fact, review all your fixed costs – insurance, mortgage, medical bills, Internet and TV subscriptions. Lower the temperature on your water heater to save energy costs?
No. 3. Get a NEW AND BETTER JOB: Employers are desperately looking for reliable committed employees --- railroads are hiring, manufacturing is hiring, retail and hospitality are hiring. A new job is the best way to increase household income by finding a position with higher pay. Don’t worry if you don’t have prior experience. Many employers will give you the technical training. All they want is someone who will show up every day and do the job.
No 4. Invest for the long-term. Don’t be afraid of the stock market. Stocks remain the best place to save and invest for the LONG TERM. U.S. markets have done well in the past three years and are likely to cool off as higher interest rates go up. Remember U.S. markets deliver ON AVERAGE a 7 to 10 percent return (every year for the past 50 years). If you are under 30, start saving for retirement now. Time is money. The rewards are huge if you start early!!
No 5. Kick your credit cards to the curb. Pay off anything you put on a credit card at the end of the month. If you have carry-over credit card debt with high (18-20 percent interest fees) pay it off as soon as possible. Put the money saved into your savings and investment plan.
ONE MORE TIP: Covid-19 taught us ALL that we need a Will and designated healthcare directives. Easy and cheap to do online. Download a form that pertains to your state. Fill it out and get it notarized at a bank for free. Give the documents to your family.
I meet women all the time who face job and money transitions and who want to do them right. It’s about building confidence and taking charge of the future. This is your money. No one cares more than you do!
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