Our Life-Centered Planning process is designed to help you and your family achieve important long-term goals like buying a house, sending your kids to college, and enjoying a secure and fulfilling retirement.
But the journey to those major milestones begins with the smaller steps that we take every single day. These five daily and monthly actions can grow into money habits that will have a big impact on your financial future.
- Automatically pay your future self.
Adding monthly saving and investment goals to your household budget is a good way to make sure you're dedicating a part of every paycheck to your future. But many folks tend to dip into these future funds for short-term expenses because they know that money is available. After all, you don't need to retire tomorrow, so why not have a few extra carry-out meals this month or buy a new TV you don't really need?
To set those saving and investing budget items in stone, pay your future self first by automatically deducting contributions every month. By committing to those investments in your future, you'll also be committing to the rest of your budget.
- Pay off your credit cards in full.
In some financial planning discussions, credit cards get a bum rap. But there's nothing wrong with using credit cards – or even multiple credit cards – if you are using them responsibly.
And the most responsible way to use credit cards is to pay them off completely, either right after a big purchase or at the end of every month. Other debt items on your monthly budget, like student loans, car payments, or your mortgage, typically have much lower interest rates. Paying off high-interest credit cards in full and on time will keep your spending under control and build up your credit rating.
If you do find yourself struggling to stay on top of your credit card bills, it might be a good idea to switch more of your spending to cash. Using a debit card or a payment service like PayPal that’s tied to your bank account can help you be more mindful about what you’re about to buy and how you’re going to pay for it.
- Maintain your most valuable assets.
Try as you might, you can't wish away the check engine light on your dashboard. Eventually that spot on your roof that only leaks when it's raining hard is going to run like a faucet any time there's a sprinkle. Take care of small problems when they're still small and you'll avoid paying bigger bills later.
That goes double for your single most valuable assets: your health and your family’s health. The best and most affordable medicine is preventative. One way or another, you're paying for health insurance every month. Use those benefits!
- Eliminate your spending triggers.
We often don't think to consult our household budgets when there's a sale at our favorite store, or when a daily deal bouncing around our social media feed looks too good to pass up.
If you find yourself susceptible to splurge purchases, think about ways you can reduce spending opportunities. Turn off ad notifications from shopping apps. Unsubscribe from magazines or email newsletters that just make you want to buy more stuff. Keep your wallet or purse by your nightstand. The long walk up that flight of stairs might be enough to deter you from a purchase you're going to regret when your next credit card statement shows up.
- Give your finances a professional checkup.
Is a big promotion about to change your financial goals?
Does your elderly mother need to adjust her living situation?
Is there an opportunity to refinance your mortgage while rates are low?
Have there been any major changes to tax laws you should be aware of before filing?
Whenever your life and your money are about to turn a corner, talk to a professional who can help you sort through your options. We certainly want to be on that speed dial, so if you need to discuss long-term goals, short-term concerns, or anything in between, don’t hesitate to get in touch.