We all probably feel like we could use more income, and we’re probably onto something. I mean, more income would mean more savings, more fun, better retirement, and just an easier life all around, wouldn’t it? Well, if getting a second job is out for you and selling some of your stuff isn’t going to cut it, take a look at these financial planning tips and tricks that can help you with all of the above — without having to add more working hours to your busy schedule.
1. Maximize Retirement Savings
Yeah okay, but how? Well, there are three elements to maximum retirement savings. Number one is putting savings on autopilot, via sending deferring percentage of your salary to a 401(k), automatic deposits into savings from your paycheck, and paying down — or off — your mortgage. The second element is to ensure you’re using tax advantages to reduce your taxes owed, such as with an IRA or Roth. The third element to maximum savings is to put that money away and FORGET ABOUT IT.
2. Plan for Your Estate
One day, you’ll leave this earth. Sadly, you don’t know when. Planning for your eventual or premature death will bring peace of mind to you AND your family. You’ll need to have personal and retirement savings, life insurance, and other factors in place to protect your assets and make sure they go to the right place. Speak to an attorney and / or financial planner to make these important arrangements.
3. Manage & Eliminate Debt
If you don’t have a strategic plan for managing and paying off debt, it’s way too easy to get sucked into more and more of it. Operating this way can easily let things get out of control. Pay off the most expensive debt first, like credit cards and personal loans. After that should come car and student loans, with housing debt coming last. Spending smarter will help you avoid debt altogether. With a little planning and will power, you’ll be in much better shape.
4. Talk to Loved Ones
First of all, you and your spouse should never keep financial secrets. Not only can this add to things like compromised retirement savings and excessive debt, but it can also cause marriage trouble. Talk about financial goals and how you’ll achieve them, and agree never to spend over a certain amount of money without talking to the other. If you have kids, talk with them about money. Be open about discussing financial goals (even without actual numbers) and how you’re working to achieve them. Teach them to save and spend wisely.