Being financially secure is the foundation for a successful life. Having your money matters in order, allows you to dream bigger, care for your family, and be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. Ramona Ortega, Founder of My Money, My Future gave us some great tips on how to go from surviving to thriving!
Let’s Talk About It! - Many of us shy away from talking about money. Ramona suggests, removing the stigma from talking about money, and to be comfortable talking about it with friends, family and significant others. You need to be able to discuss debt, credit, savings and making difficult decisions around caring for elderly parents with people in your life. For example, if your significant other has student debt, or helps out his/her parents, or has credit card debt that will impact your ability to buy a home, or pay for daycare in the future. It is important to have a clear picture of your finances before having children or as you discuss adding more children to the family. Ramona also recommends having regular money meetings with yourself and your partner. Speaking freely about money will also ensure that your children will be more financially savvy adults.
Have a Budget- If you don’t know where you money is going, it will be very hard to set goals, and have a good understanding of your money habits. Regardless of how much money you are making, it is important to put yourself on a budget. This is what will enable you to save for retirement and that vacation you have always wanted to take. You shouldn’t be in the dark about any aspect of your money. My Money, My Future created an awesome budget planning tool to help you get started.
Your Credit Is Everything-Having bad credit or no credit makes it hard to rent an apartment, buy or lease a car, get a loan for your business, or purchase a home. But building good credit takes time and effort. As a general rule, a score of 700 above is considered excellent. While credit cards are one of the tools you use to build credit, you should avoid the trap of using them to sustain your lifestyle or pay for things you cannot afford. A great rule? Don’t charge any amount you can’t pay off at the end of the month. If you don’t know your current credit score you can download a free report here. If you are looking for a credit card to help build your credit, here are some things to consider.
Save and Prepare, and then Save Some More -Saving and preparing for the unforeseen is what will help you build wealth and go from living paycheck to paycheck to financial security. We should always be ready for a financial emergency, this means building up savings for unexpected expenses like car or home repair. This is how you avoid having to use your credit cards or having to take out high interest loans to pay for things. On the podcast, we also talked about how we avoid talking about things like life insurance and wills for fear that it means we are attracting death. But if we have children, it is important to have things in place in case of a financial or health emergency. You should also consider having a college savings plan for your child called a 529 plan. This is also why having a budget is important, as this is how you will know how much money you can set aside for insurance and savings. Ramona also encourages women to keep their own savings set aside even if they are married or in a relationship.
Don’t Be Afraid of Investing- Investing is a way of making money while you sleep. This is how 401k’s and many retirement plans grow over time. Becoming familiar with investing will give you access to another set of money making tools. Sites like Acorn help you invest minimal amounts to learn about the process of investing. Ramona recommends avoiding high brokerage fees to invest. Learn more about the basics of investing here.
For more great money tips check My Money, My Future.