Just like professional development or a healthy lifestyle, financial well-being is something that should be part of our daily lives. Personal finances can have such a big impact on you and those around you that it is important to understand its principles, and put them into practice as early as possible.
The below offers some tips for putting financial well-being in place and incorporating it into our routines.
1. Build a strong base
Take a look at your paychecks and review them. Ask yourself if you understand each of the line items and deductions. Are there any line items that can be reduced or optimized? If you have more than one account, ensure they all are linked with each other so transferring money becomes convenient. Check that beneficiaries (both primary and contingent) have been designated for each account you own. You want to make sure your assets are passed on to loved ones if something happens to you. Last, try creating a map or diagram as a visual representation of how your money moves from the moment you earn it until it hits all of your accounts. Include all income sources you have. This will help you understand how your money flows.
2. Create a budget
Just like we have a schedule on any of our engineering projects that the team holds on to, we must have a budget to stick our personal finances to. From your monthly net income, think about which of your expenses are “needed” (rent, food, commuting, utilities), which are “wanted” (dining, travel, subscriptions), and what will go to savings/investing. Account for all expenses when building your budget and then track that budget for two or three months to see how you are doing.
3. Optimize debt payments
If you are fortunate enough to not have debts, you are in a super-advantageous position! If you do have debts, it is important to pay them off as quickly as possible. Understand how to recognize a “good” versus a “bad” debt. Which of your debts has the highest interest or the lowest balance? Are any of your debts used to finance an asset? Consider these points when building a plan to pay off your debts, and get started as soon as possible.
4. Have a safety net
Life is unpredictable, so we better be prepared for it. When we lose our jobs, have a large medical bill or unexpected expense to pay, that is when our safety net comes into play. Whether in cash or invested (depending on your risk tolerance), it is important to have some money set aside for these situations. Consider also what your insurance needs are depending on your situation. Life, short/long-term disability, hospitalization, accident, illness, legal, and identity are examples of additional insurance coverage one can opt for.
5. Make money work for you
Whether by investing it or using it for a side hustle, it is important to consider using any additional income or savings you can afford to create additional income for you. Here again, understand what your risk tolerance is, what type of investment account makes the most sense for you, and what type of asset you understand and feel comfortable with. Making your investment contributions as automatic as possible will help you stay on course and be persistent.
6. Set yourself goals
Similar to how you may set yourself goals at work and have performance reviews with your manager annually, it is important to do the same with your finances. By setting goals, you’ll be able to track your progress and adjust as needed. There is a good chance your priorities will change throughout the year, so reviewing your plan and goals will ensure they are in line with your personal circumstances.
Visit thefinancesavior.com, or follow @thefinancesavior if you want to learn more and take action on personal finances. You may book a complimentary intro session or enroll into one of the programs for personalized one-on-one sessions to redefine your finances.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed attorney, accountant, or financial advisor. The information in this article is not a substitute for professional legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. It is expressly recommended that you perform your own research and seek advice from a licensed professional.
Salvador is currently a Civil Engineer, specialized in Water Resources. He currently works as a resident engineer at AECOM and has experience with planning, design and construction of water supply, irrigation and wastewater systems.
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