5 Ways to Improve Your Money Management

5 Ways to Improve Your Money Management

5 Ways to Improve Your Money ManagementWhile it ranks below feeling connected to family and friends, having your finances in order through good money management ranks right up there with excellent health as an accomplishment that makes for a higher quality of life well into your Golden Years. Unlike excellent health, however, with its uncontrollable genetic component, good money management is, for the most part, available to everyone.

Whether you’re a natural whiz at managing the ins and outs of your money, or you’ve worked for years to make it look natural, here are five tips that will guide you to improve your money management skills.

5 Ways to Improve Your Money Management

1. Set Specific Goals

Setting goals is something all good money managers do, but how specific do you get? If your goals are as broad as, “Manage money better,” how will you know — until you experience the unexpected effects of managing money poorly — whether or not you’re succeeding? You have to get specific. It isn’t enough to set a goal of saving more money; declare how much you’re going to save each month and then set about doing it.

Likewise, it isn’t enough to say you’re going to pay down debt. Set a specific goal of reducing your debt by a certain percentage by the end of the year, and then, craft a plan that will help you follow through. Only by getting as specific as you can about every financial goal you have will you be able to take the steps necessary to reach them.

2. Always Track All Your Spending

The rise of the debit card has allowed for far too much wiggle room in many people’s spending — even the spending of self-professed excellent money managers. Whether it’s a $2 coffee or a $.50 newspaper, tracking all your spending all the time is the only way to truly know where your money is going.

Not only does keeping track keep you attentive and aware of the places in which you may need to tighten your belt, but it will also keep you safe against unauthorized charges or a rare mistake committed by your bank. Don’t trust the system, and don’t trust your memory. Write it down as you spend it, and you’ll always know exactly why you did — or didn’t — meet your financial goals.

3. Save and Invest

Many good money managers are good at saving money, but if you aren’t yet investing, your money isn’t working as hard for you as it could be. Investing can seem tricky. Especially if you didn’t grow up in an investment-savvy family or major in finance or banking in college, figuring out how to invest might seem daunting. If that’s the case, seek out help.

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Should You Move When You Retire?

You see them every year, returning in the fall with their tans and highlights. They’re the retirees who move to Florida for half the year when you retire. And, then there are those friends who packed up and moved to the locale of their dreams the moment they both retired. If you’re nearing retirement, you might be contemplating joining them. Here’s what to think about before you make the move to retire. Should you move when you retire? What Will Moving Cost You? Being retired doesn’t mean you can suddenly make frivolous financial decisions. If anything, you’ll have to be more frugal now than ever when you retire. Think long and hard about the true costs of moving when you … Read more

Lessons Learned from Selling My First House

Lessons Learned from Selling My First House

Lessons Learned from Selling My First HouseMy wife and I finally received an offer on our home. We had been selling my house, after failing as landlords, for about six months now. Looking back over the time we’ve owned the home, there have been quite a few lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Becoming a landlord had been my idea. My wife didn’t want to rent out our home after we had to move to a new state thanks to my job. I had dreams of having a real estate portfolio that threw off thousands of dollars in passive income in retirement. It was part of my grand scheme, buckets of passive income in retirement. I had dreams of becoming the next Donald Trump.

Lessons Learned from Selling My First House

Becoming a landlord isn’t for everyone. It takes guts, especially in this economy, although the housing market is starting come back in many regions across the United States. I thought that I could stomach swings in the stock market and in real estate prices because of my long time horizon until retirement. I’m only in my mid-thirties. I have another 30 years of working, saving and investing before the gold watch of retirement calls my name. But, I was wrong.

Being a landlord really opened my eyes, and my wife’s eyes too, as to what our risk tolerance truly is. We found that we didn’t have the appetite that we thought.

A Good Realtor Makes All the Difference

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a great real estate agent. I’ve always said that you don’t want to pick professionals like a real estate agent, lawyer, doctor from the Yellow Pages. You need to get recommendations from your friends, family and coworkers. You also want to interview these professionals to ensure that you’re both the right fit for each other.

Your personal finance team, in which a real estate agent will be a prime player, will help to lay the foundation for your financial life and the moves you make now and in the future. Think of your real estate agent, lawyer, certified public accountant and certified financial planner to be members of your own board of directors.

My wife and I found our first real estate agent from a mutual friend. My wife and I were moving to a new town, and one of her girlfriends knew an excellent real estate agent that specialized in working with first-time home buyers. It was a match made in heaven. It was a great experience when my wife and I purchased our first home in the spring of 2009.

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