With so much going on in the world, it is time to take a look at your money. Time to start prioritizing the road to financial freedom.
This is a process – it can take time…stay with it. Make a commitment and move forward.
What Are Some Examples Of Financial Goals?
- Making more money
- Becoming a millionaire before 40
- Be Debt Free By 2022
- Pay off student loans by 2025
Top 7 Finance Goals to Start Now
- Create an emergency fund (5 months pay in bank account or savings)
- Pay off debt* (will circle back on this)
- Pay off the car
- Home Ownership
- Save for Retirement
- Plan for Fun
- Invest in Education
Emergency funds should be used for emergencies. Things like job loss, less hours, car accident repairs, unexpected medical issues, higher than expected tax bill, loss of transportation, family crisis, sudden move, broken ÁC would be examples.
Questions like: Is it unexpected? Is it absolutely necessary? Is it urgent?
This criteria is pretty helpful to determine it is an emergency and thus emergency fund use.
Emergency funds should not be used for wants such as Christmas, a good deal, upgrade to a better car, new gadget (typically a phone) or back to school shopping.
Paying Off Debt
Bills like electric, gas, and utilities are not debt – they are monthly bills. If you owe a balance and make payments – you are in debt to someone.
Tackle this right away. Look at the numbers and face them. Decide how you want to deal with the situation. There are a few ways: 401k loans, debt settlement, consolidation, home equity line of credit.
No – No – No- and No
401k loans are a bad idea. Do not borrow against any retirement income you have. There are penalties, fees, and tax you must pay to withdrawal and you want that money to keep earning.
Debt Settlement companies are loan Sharks that will agree to help you out and just take your money without much help. Call yourself and work out a payment plan – do not leave it to someone else.
Consolidation sounds like a good option at a quick glance but in reality it is not. All debts are added together and one payment is made per month – it lengthens the time of repayment and increases the cost.
A Home Equity Line of Credit is borrowing against your house to deal with debt. You will lose your house if you do not or cannot pay back the loan on time.
All of these options are bad… so how do you deal with debt?
There are two ways to approach it….
1. Snowball the Debt which means you write out all the debt and payments for each – you set the plan to pay off the smallest debt first and tackle each debt as a separate entity – no matter the interest rate, the focus is starting with smallest debt, paying it off and moving to the next one.
2. Disciplined Debt Removal means you write out all the debt and minimum payments and you tackle the highest interest first and pay off, then move to the next debt.
For most people, option 1 is the best option and helps the person see progress sooner.
Pay Off the Car
The life expectancy of a car is short especially for the cost. Sometimes it can be a better option to eliminate the payment all together and buy a “cheap car” or make the plan to pay it off and keep it.
Remember if you are in the position to buy a house, do not buy a car beforehand – wait until you have the house – many loans will not be approved with a new car payment.
If you do not own a home, you need to make this a priority and let me tell you why. This is exciting stuff and when it is not the best idea is if you are planning on a short term stay in a location; outside of that, add this to your priority list.
Home Ownership comes with a variety of benefits:
- Deductions on taxes
- Cheaper stay than apartment
- You are paying into it
- It is yours
- You can always sell it for cash
- It allows you to save without you thinking about that
Owning a house can be a great gift and a great instrument of torture depending. At times – a love/ hate relationship.
For your first house, banks will tell you that you can afford a certain tier of house or a specific range to stay within. I recommend staying at the lower end unless you are buying something new and it is a little bit higher than that. Do not go crazy. A new house can offset some of the expenses of an older home – like replacement of an AC unit for example.
Save For Retirement
Here are some easy ways to save. In education, companies come a few times a year and talk about 403b and 457 and disability etc. Add $25 a pay to one of these programs. See if that impacts your lifestyle; after 6 months, if it does not, then add more.
If you work outside education, I strongly encourage friends and family to look into Roth IRAs and the amount per year is around $6500 so anything you can contribute toward that will be a plus.
In addition to retirement, think about AFLAC for short term disability (they also cover maternity), long term disability plans.
Plan for Fun
This is my favorite! Plan for fun. What vacation would bring you joy? What would make you happy? Is it a concert or a big screen tv or ? Set aside money to make this happen.
Invest in Education
When the above is taken care of, consider saving for a class or your kid’s college fund. This is something that can wait a little bit ..just figure out your goal.
Hope this helped you think about making financial goals!