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.
10 Ways To Avoid Financial Stress
If financial difficulties are keeping you awake at night, take action and tackle your problems head on otherwise they are likely to get worse. The ability to pay for rent, mortgages, bills, and food are fundamental to our quality of life.
It is important to plan for future financial hardship by making saving a goal and budgeting carefully. It’s impossible to predict what will happen in the future, so to cushion any financial hardship, it’s worth putting a little money aside each month.
Developing a savings plan now will enable you to get on with living your life stress-free!
Reduce monthly bills
List all your current outgoings and look to see if you can make any savings. Often it’s tempting to keep the same standing order from the same insurance company for year upon year. You are likely to be paying too much for your premiums and it’s worth shopping around and switching.
Look at the amount of interest you are paying on loans, mortgages and credit cards, you could be able to secure a better deal. One thing to remember is to check your credit score if it is poor lenders won’t give you the best interest rate.
It is possible to repair your credit score by using the expertise of a credit repair company.
Utility bills can be reduced by switching utility providers. Use an online comparison site to secure the best deal. Switching is easy as most of the work is completed for you by your new supplier.
To budget carefully you need to be in control of your spending and to be in control you need to be aware of your income and outgoings. List every necessary outgoing that must be met on a monthly basis and you will be left with an amount which will have been spent on miscellaneous items such as eating out.
You can then design a budget plan so that you can put a certain amount into a savings account. You will probably be surprised at how much your morning coffee costs when added up over the month.
Cut it down to once or twice a week and you will make significant savings.
Make savings work to your advantage
Savings (if you have them!) can work to your financial advantage. Ensure you choose the best financial products that give the maximum return on your savings. Financial products change rapidly to factor in a financial audit of your savings every couple of years to check savings are in the best account.
You could also consider investing your savings property or financial shares. This has the potential to be lucrative but is not without risk. Consider hiring a professional and independent financial advisor for advice.
Ideally, you should set apart some of your salaries each month in order to build up an emergency fund. Life can be unpredictable and without savings to fall back on, your car breaking down or your roof leaking could plunge you into more debt as you borrow to rectify the situation.
Savings will cushion the blow of any financial hardship.
Stop Paying Extra Bank or Late Fees
Late fees are not helping you. They add up over time – fees can even accrue fees!
If you are the kind of person who always forgets to pay their bills on time, you can get around this by automating your finances so that the money automatically goes out of your account.
You should also avoid making any extra charges on your credit card unless you are sure that you are able to pay it off in full at the end of the month.
Don’t Pay Full Price!
Paying full price is a really common financial mistake that a ton of people make.
In today’s world, you can find a sale on just about any item. If you see something you need at the store, take a few moments to shop for it online and you’ll probably be able to save 10-20%
Not only does this method stop you from overpaying, it also gives you a moment to think and decide whether or not what you were thinking of buying is actually a worthwhile investment.
Create a Financial Defense Plan
All of us need to not only earn our living and grow our finances if we’re to live a comfortable and happy life, but we must also defend them.
That means ensuring you stay rational, sensible and forward-thinking in all matters related to your financial health.
There are a few considerations you can take care of in order to make this so, and generate a cognitive and systemic financial defense to keep your money yours, and flowing in the direction you most want.
Here are the keys to defending your financial interests
Know Good Lawyers
The most important thing is to have good counsel and good advice. So, hire the best attorneys that you can afford. From real estate to contracts to brand protection, you need someone behind you making sure you aren’t making any major missteps.
The world practically runs in the courtroom now, unfortunately. So, with good attorneys on your side, it will keep you out of the courtroom and focused on running your business.
Have A Contingency Plan
It’s always best to have a fail-safe.
This might mean never tying up all your investments in one basket. It might mean diversifying your investments .
Or, it could mean allowing only one or two financial handlers to have any kind of insight into your money matters in the first place.
The key is to be able to have a solid plan but also be able to pivot to something else should the first plan fail.
With the willingness to keep a backup plan, or a mode of operation to take when something fails or doesn’t go the way you expect, you at least won’t lose anything.
Keeping a solid contingency is also reliant on keeping solid discipline with your financial means – without this none of your decisions are likely to land effectively.
Pore Over Contracts
Whenever signing a contract, or forging a new one, you need to know exactly what terms are referring to.
You also need to read between the lines, and consider what situations a certain stipulation could affect in the future. Remember, even vaguely written terms in a contract do not fall there unexpectedly.
They are either there to make or defend a certain form of income, or persuade and dissuade a certain type of behavior. Every word counts.
Remember the first recommendation? Well, here’s where they come in. But, it’s important to know how to read and interpret the contracts yourself as well.
Study contract terminology and simply dedicate the time to observe and understand.
Look For Weak Spots
What are the weak spots in your defense system?
Could it be family members having access to your accounts? Do you think it could it be emotional family members asking for financial help, when this is not genuine?
Or perhaps it could it be the services you bank with.
Don’t forget about the way you log in to your accounts and store passwords.
To prevent your finances from being breached, keep up to date on modern security measures. From there, you should be settled.
To reduce your financial stress, the key is to lower your costs, increase your passive income, and protect your assets.
4 Money Principles You Cannot Ignore
We all want to achieve financial independence which is the final stage of having sufficient personal wealth without having to punch in the clock at work daily to afford basic amenities.
When your friends or family complain about the stress associated with their 9-5 jobs, you can’t relate as you’ve reached the stage where you can sit and watch your money grow.
However to reach this level of Zen in the personal financial sector, there are some things you should know about money and certain principles you should follow. Here are 4 money rules you cannot ignore:
You Can’t Afford Everything.
Look at that long list of things you want and look at your account balance. What can you afford to buy and what can you afford to let go of? You can afford to buy some things but definitely not everything which leaves you with the decision to choose which is more important and sensible to you.
It’s Your Money, Act Like It.
Have you ever seen questions or statements like “He/She has so much and won’t donate to so-and-so charity” or “why did you spend that amount buying a bag as opposed to giving to the church?” Learn to get rid of strange expectations society has over you and do what you want with your money.
If you listen to what society deems right, you’ll end up spending money where you really do not want to which is really a shame.
Mind the Money Gap.
People are of the notion that the more you earn, the more you save. I think that’s wrong. Most people who earn a lot more than they used to earn before, spend more than they used to spend before.
What you should be watchful of is the Money Gap. This is the space you leave between your savings and expenses. If you can increase that space as you earn more, you’re on a good way to financial freedom.
I’m serious. Try it for a month. What you should do is, take of your savings from your income the minute you get it and do with the rest as you please for the month. Don’t touch the savings at all no matter what. At the same time, don’t stress over which brand of cereal is $2 cheaper than the other.
High Debt Exposure? Here’s How To Fix It
Everyone at one point or the other have found themselves in either small or big debts. It’s not uncommon.
Companies or business owners borrow constantly to finance their business; students borrow to finance education; and people borrow when unforeseen expenses arise.
It becomes a burden when it piles up so much that it becomes hard to get out of, or to payback, leading to financial setback.
Call Your Creditors
The worst decision we can make when in debt is to hide.
The longer we do this, the more difficult it would be to resolve our issue. I think the first step we should take is to call our creditors to explain our present situation.
Creditors could be commercial or micro-finance banks, fellow business partners or even friends. They might be aggressive or furious, but they’ll be informed, at the very least.
- Have a clearly stated payback plan before calling.
- Do not make promises you cannot keep.
Following this step might result in the following:
- Creditors might reduce the payment.
- Might extend the period of payment
- Might reduce the interest rate on the money borrowed.
- Or charge debtor to court or jail.
This approach might not lead to a positive end result for everyone, but once in debt, we owe creditors a trail of information that assures them that they’ll get their money back.
Cut Spending And Make A Realistic Budget
A quick approach to getting out of debt is to cut our spending. This seems really hard but it’s inevitable.
A way to do this efficiently is to save, make a realistic budget weekly or monthly and stick to it.
Stick to it!
I am repeating this again because it is easy to prepare a realistic budget, but carrying it out and following it is the hardest part.
When doing this, we can take note of the following:
Review what you spend money on the most and try to cut down cost.
For example, I spend a lot on data subscription and I’m presently cutting it down.
Cut down wants (luxury items) and focus more on needs.
Allocate spending ratios to expenses e.g 15% to food, 7% to clothes, 20% to transport etc.
Make sure after preparation, you have enough left to pay installments of your loans/debt.
Doing all these, would help save towards paying back the debt.
This article originally appeared on Piggybank.ng. Follow them on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram.
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