Have you ever wished someone would just tell you what you need to do to best manage your money? Do you feel like there is so much information out there, it would be nice to have it simplified for you? At SimpliFi, our goal is to take the complexity out of financial management so you can enjoy life with a little less stress.
To streamline things, we created a list of the top seven steps you can take to manage your finances. And, of course, you can count on us to help guide you every step of the way.
1. Have a Financial Plan
For the average person, this is easier said than done. Choosing which funds and avenues to invest in requires a strong picture of the overall markets and understanding your investment objectives and goals. While it’s important to understand what you’re investing your hard-earned dollars into, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re called Certified Financial Planners for a reason, and we are here to help you decide how to invest your money.
2. Have an Estate Plan
Too many people, even older adults, don’t have an estate plan. This often seems cumbersome or unnecessary to those without a large estate, but everyone benefits from protecting their assets and ensuring their wishes are followed through with in the event they can no longer make decisions for themselves.
A strong estate plan needs only three key documents: A will stating how you want your assets managed upon your death, an advanced healthcare directive making your wishes clearly known for how you want to be cared for should you become incapacitated, and a durable power of attorney appointing a trusted source to handle your finances should you become unable to manage them yourself. These three documents can provide great peace of mind knowing no matter what, your voice will be heard regarding your assets and personal well-being.
3. Know Your Credit Score
This one number can have a huge impact on your ability to generate credit, as well as the interest rates you can qualify for. With identity theft all-too common in our online world, checking your credit on a regular basis helps you stay in control of your finances. You can get a free credit report each year with a list of all credit accounts open under your social security number providing you an opportunity to ensure all accounts are legitimate. If you find fraudulent activity, you can work to correct it before it drags your financial life into the gutter. When it comes to your credit score and report, you can never be too vigilant.
4. Take A Holistic Approach
Take an honest look at your whole financial picture. What are your assets? What are your liabilities? Do you have a spending plan for each month giving you power over your money and not the other way around? Are you taking the time to take care of yourself? When our bodies and minds are strong, our finances generally follow. Without our health, we have nothing. We can have a strong financial portfolio but be too sick to enjoy it. We may have great health and the vibrancy to travel the world, but if our finances aren’t in shape, we can’t achieve our dreams. Taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally can help lead us toward better financial health, and financial confidence can help alleviate detrimental stress. It’s all interconnected.
5. Live Within Your Means
Debt is a surefire way to acquiesce control over your money. You are no longer in the driver’s seat when you have debt – your debtors are. Your money isn’t truly yours until you are out of debt, so make paying off any debt your financial priority. That and having a robust savings account. It feels pretty awful when you’ve worked hard to pay down debt only to have your car need major repairs and having no money in savings. Back into debt you go! So start with a savings account you can draw from for emergencies while you pay off debt. It’s hard work sticking to a debt reduction plan, so don’t forget to reward yourself for successes along the way. We all need a little love to keep our motivation high!
6. Shift Your Attitude
Too many people think debt is simply the American Way. It’s the way the majority of American’s have gone, but it doesn’t have to be. According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trust, 8 in 10 Americans have debt. In the same study, 69 percent of the survey respondents felt non-mortgage debt was a necessity for them, even though they preferred not to have it.
So often our spending is related to our mindset. We get our wants confused with needs and have a hard time shifting that perception. Imagine cutting out the daily latte run and making coffee at home or the office. You’d save over $100 per month, not to mention countless calories. Next time you think you need something, consider whether it’s truly a need or simply a want. If you don’t have the necessary funds in hand, you can’t afford it. It’s that simple.
A home mortgage is often considered the only acceptable form of debt, and even that should be a realistic expense. What do you need in a home, what do you want, and what can you reasonably afford? What will utilities cost? Can all of this be managed without going further into non-mortgage debt? If the answer is no, well, you have your answer.
Learning to appreciate what we have and being mindful of how we spend our money yields great shifts in how we spend and value our financial resources. It’s never too late to live a money-conscious life!
7. SimpliFi Your Finances
Finances shouldn’t be complicated. The more complicated they become, the more stress it adds to our lives, and the less likely we are to make sound financial decisions.
This list is a general guide for how to best manage your finances, but you’re not alone on your financial journey. We are here to help empower you to truly control your financial life, so please contact us if you ever need guidance. We’re here for you every step of the way.
This information is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice. The information in the articles should not be relied on for tax reporting, accounting, or valuation purposes. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
Please note that links to third party websites are provided as a courtesy. When you link to a third-party website, you are leaving this website. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these websites. Nor are we liable for any issues or consequences arising out of your access to or your use of third-party technologies or websites made available through this website.