Since we began covering personal finance in earnest, we’ve learned a great deal—from the dozens of “I got out of debt” success stories we’ve highlighted to the dozens of psychology studies we’ve covered that relate better financial decision-making to behavior change.
To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, we’ve gathered 50 of our best money advice articles into one handy resource for you to peruse. They still have the same zing as the day they were written, with advice on everything from the best methods to budget to the best ways to increase your earning potential.
What Is a Personal Finance?
In the context of personal finance, money management, saving, and investing all fall under the umbrella of the phrase. A financial advisor may help with everything from budgeting to estate planning to retirement savings.
In many contexts, the word “financial advisor” refers to the entire industry that provides financial services to individuals and households, as well as providing them with financial and investment advice.
There are many different types of financial goals that can be met through personal financial planning, including short-term demands, long-term financial planning, and college savings.
It’s all about figuring out how much money you have, how much you spend, what you need to live on, and what your own objectives and aspirations are.
To make the most of your earnings and assets, it’s critical to gain a basic understanding of money management so that you can spot bad advice when you hear it and act accordingly.
Top Ten Financial Advice Suggestions
Many individuals find it simpler to make financial resolutions at the beginning of a new year, even though it’s a good idea to do so at any time. The fundamentals don’t change no matter when you start. The following are ten essential hints for improving one’s financial situation.
Spend Less than You Earn and Get Paid What You’re Worth
Even though it appears to be a straightforward guideline, many people have difficulty using it. If you don’t know how much your job is worth, do a market appraisal of your talents and productivity, as well as your contribution to the firm, as well as what the market rate is for what you do.
Over the course of a career, even a $1,000 annual pay cut can have a big impact. If you spend more than you earn, no matter how much or how little you’re paid, you’ll never get ahead.
You may save money by decreasing costs in a number of areas, and it’s sometimes easier to spend less than to make more. It doesn’t necessarily necessitate large sacrifices, either.
Keep Your Finances in Order
Budgeting is a crucial consideration while attempting to improve one’s financial situation. In the end, if you don’t budget, how can you know where your money is going?
Set spending and saving objectives only once you have a clear picture of your finances. Even if you make a few thousand dollars a year, you need to put up a budget.
Clear Debt on All Credit Cards
One of the biggest obstacles to financial success is credit card debt. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we’re dealing with actual money when we pull out our credit cards to pay for anything, big or small.
The reality is that even when we promise to pay off the balance promptly, we often fail and wind up spending significantly more on products than we would have spent if we had used cash.
To Ensure Your Financial Security in The Future, You Should:
As long as you can afford it, you should contribute to your company’s 401(k) plan (or another employer-sponsored retirement savings program). Your employer may contribute to your 401(k) plan up to a specified percentage of what you contribute.
The term “employer match” is often used to describe this situation. An individual retirement account (IRA) may be an option if your company does not provide one.
A Savings Plan Is Essential
The phrase “pay yourself first” has been repeated many times before. A healthy savings account or investment portfolio is unlikely to be achieved if you wait until all of your other financial commitments have been met before looking at what’s left.
Save at least 5 percent of your paycheck before you begin paying any of your debts. Set up an automated withdrawal from your paycheck and a different bank account instead.
Put Money Towards Your Future
There is nothing wrong with putting money into other investments on top of your contributions to a retirement plan and a savings account.
Maximize Your Employee Benefits to The Fullest Extent Possible
The value of a 401(k), flexible spending accounts, health and dental insurance, and other similar perks is immeasurable. Use the ones that can save you money by minimizing taxes or other out-of-pocket costs to the fullest extent possible.
It’s Time to Check Your Insurance Policies
Whether it’s via attaching life and disability insurance to auto loans or purchasing whole-life policies when term plans make more sense, too many consumers are pushed into paying too much for life and disability insurance.
On the other hand, it’s critical that you have enough insurance to cover your loved ones and your financial needs in the event of your death or disability.
Ensure that your will is up to date
Fewer than a third of Americans (33 percent) have a strong enough resolve in 2021. You need a will regardless of how much money you have or how many children you have.
You can also use software like Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker if your case isn’t too difficult. Consider making a will in order to provide for your loved ones in the future.
Maintain Accurate Records.
Maintaining accurate records is essential if you want to take advantage of all of your tax deductions and credits. A system can be set up now and used throughout the year. It’s a lot less stressful than trying to find everything at tax time and risking missing items that could have saved you money.