Today’s millennials aren’t big fans of debt. Unlike the baby boomers, young adults today are straddling massive financial pressure – be it heavy student loans or home prices reaching unaffordable highs. While all of this welcomes plenty of financial advice, most of them are wrong. Here are five pieces of money rules you can afford to ignore.
1. Buy A House ASAP (And Not Rent)
With home prices almost doubling and trumping inflation and pay, buying a house could lead to a nightmare if you’re taking out a mortgage before your income allows you to afford one. A better option would be to rent until you have enough funding to put down 20%, while taking care to not make payments that are more than 30% of your total income.
2. Ditch Your Credit Card
While this might be popular financial advice from the older folks, getting a credit card that comes with a low annual fee can help you immensely – if used right. What’s more, it comes packed with perks like reward points, cashback, mileage for travel, and can help you meet a large unexpected cost.
3. Pay Down Debts With The Highest Rates
It might be tempting to tackle the biggest debt of the lot and let the smaller ones slip down your priority list. The trick here is to focus instead on paying off your smallest of debts with every dollar you can afford – once it’s paid off, roll over to paying off the next one, until you’re debt-free.
4. Start Saving For Your Retirement (Right Now)
Despite the upside to saving for your retirement now, millennials might often find money too tight. For folks who are just out of university, a wiser option would be to aggressively pay off your debts instead. Although, here’s a caveat – IF your employer offers a retirement contribution match, invest just enough to get that perk (It’s free money!).
5. Buy Yourself A Car
With the shared economy on overdrive, there are plenty of options ranging from car rentals to ride-hailing services. Pumping your money into buying your car could also demand more of your savings for repairs and maintenance – funds you can use to pay off other expenses with. The opportunity cost isn’t worth it if you haven’t got enough financial cushion to meet your important expenses.
Productivity Hacks Infographic: Top 20 Apps That Can Maximize Your Time
In today’s competitive and demand-driven world, there’s a constant need to stay on top of things. Between incessant emails and back-to-back meetings, phone calls and dozens of things to cross off your checklist, it’s no surprise we’re struggling to reach our productivity’s peak.
Here are 20 apps that helps you do just that.
DIY: Your 5-Step Financial Planning Guide
If you’re starting out to plan your financial future, it can get overwhelming. While many opt for a financial advisor to take care of the entire process, you can always handle your financial planning all by yourself (it’s simple, really) if you’ve got the right tools.
For starters, here’s what you need:
1. Set Goals!
Chalk out your goals—it can be short term, like paying off your card payment bills or long term, to meet expenses like retirement and your kids’ education.
Take a step back and do a reality check. Where do you stand now? How are your cash flows? How soon can you meet your expenses? Create a timeline to achieve these targets (and ensure you meet them!)
2. Do The Math
Calculate your total assets, after deducting the debts—and budget smart. Ditch your debt to stay away from piling on more to your list of financial risks. If you’ve got way too many debts to clear and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of them, here’s a great tool that comes in handy.
3. Build An Emergency Fund
Uncertainties can be hard, more so if they have a significant financial impact—be it an illness, job loss, or even global downturns.
To evade being stranded, ensure that you’ve built an emergency fund (a good start would be to keep aside six months’ worth of expenses), along with solid insurance coverage to back you up.
4. Hire The Right Agents
Apart from the general power of attorney, also ensure you lay out a directive in case a medical emergency comes up (if you’re incapacitated—we know, it’s not the best of thoughts to ponder over). To ensure you plan right, avail the services of an accountant, a real estate planning authority, and a medical power of attorney.
5. Earn Money On Your Money
The final step is to make sure you earn returns off your money. How’d you go about this? To start with, educate yourself. Read, read and read some more—research about what stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and other financial instruments do. Understand their risks, costs and how you can work on diversifying your investment.
It’s important to invest in something you understand.
Post this, set up your accounts to meet each of your goals—through monthly contribution plans, 401(k)s, low-cost index funds, IRAs or other savings plans. If all these details get you dizzy (or overwhelmingly hard), you’re better off with a financial planner who can do the research and investment planning for you.
VIDEO: How Shaq O’Neal Blew His Very First $1M Check In One Day
Shaquille O’Neal recounts spending $1M in under an hour, after locking in an endorsement deal just prior to being drafted by the Orlando Magic. The basketball star’s shopping spree gave way to a $150,000 Mercedez-Benz for himself, coupled with two others for his family.
What’s more, he successfully paid down all that his family owed and wanted to do “what all the homeboys do — gotta buy rings and diamonds and earrings and this and that,” he told Business Insider.