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As we have covered throughout this month, people set goals for all kinds of activities. Yet, one of the most important, i.e., financial goals, often gets overlooked. It’s amazing how many people haven’t set up a budget or are not putting away enough for their retirement.
Don’t Forget Your Budget
Always create a budget and try to stick with it. This isn’t to say you can’t alter the budget if something isn’t working out. But, staying on track requires that you keep your expenses lower than your income. When you create your budget, bear in mind that you don’t want to cut out everything that you enjoy. You want to also have a life. But instead of going out two times a week try only once a week or even twice a month. But don’t stop going out altogether.
Don’t Forget The Tax Man
Another interesting factor is the number of people that don’t factor in taxes into their financial management. It is true that taxes are a very complicated beast. But taking the time to see what kinds of deductions and other incentives you are eligible for can make or save you hundreds of dollars. The IRS is not above making mistakes, either. If you find a mistake that is in your favor, you may be able to reduce your tax burden by significant amounts.
Don’t Forget About Savings and Debt
If you decide you can determine your own destiny, make sure that you have all the bases covered. You will want to have backup savings of about six months of expenses. If you can do more than that, you will be even safer. Also, reduce as much of your debt as you possibly can, especially credit card debt. It makes no sense to start investing in the stock market when all the returns are going to get swallowed up by interest rates of the credit cards. If you make 10% on your investments but have to pay 15% or more on your credit card debt, you will never get ahead. Paying down this debt must become a top priority.
Don’t Forget Official Help
If you feel financial planning is too complicated to deal with on your own, consider hiring a professional that can help you with your goals. A financial planner can set up a budget for you, help you save money for emergencies, and keep you on track with your entire financial picture. You should do your due diligence when searching for a planner, though.
Making a financial plan is a smart way to keep your finances from getting the better of you. Being financially free is a wonderful goal to strive for.
Loving Life–The Reboot!