Getting your financial house in order can feel overwhelming. Even when you know the things you need to do (stay out of debt and save money), but how do you do them? How do you prioritize? If you are the type of person who tends to get paralyzed by these choices, then rather than trying to optimize how you organize your finances, choose any one or more of the things below to work on.
Pay Off Debt
If you are not in debt, stay out of it, except for buying a home and getting an education. If you’re in debt, you need to work on paying it off. Doing so aggressively, if possible, is generally best, but you can also work on paying off debt while you aim for other financial goals. First, ensure your payments are high enough to account for interest rates.
There are several different facets to investing. Some might not specifically think of the retirement account they have through their employer as investing, even though that is precisely what it is. Retirement funds can be a great way to support with tax advantages, and you can use a self-directed IRA to invest in alternative assets. These are excellent choices for a retirement account because the real estate investment can increase in value in the long run with these accounts generally existing. You can review online how savvy investors can get the most out of real estate investments using a self-directed IRA.
Build Your Emergency Fund
You need an emergency fund of at least three to six months to cover unexpected costs ranging from vet or car repair bills to extended periods of unemployment, medical expenses, and more. Should you build your emergency fund before you invest? Yes, probably. Are you struggling to make it because you are more excited about investing? If you are up against this kind of mental block, start by building your emergency fund to just $500 and go slowly from there. Whatever the rate you make this fund, it should be available to you in an easily liquidated form, such as a savings or money market account.
Have a Budget
It’s not the most exciting element of organizing your finances, but it is one of the most important. However, like emergency savings, it also tends to be a step that people get bogged down with. A budget is a great place to start getting responsible for your finances, but if it’s so unappealing that it is stopping you from making any progress, skip it and do it later. It’s likely that once you start paying down debt, saving, and investing, you will begin to want a clearer picture of your spending and how to save money anyway.
Live Below Your Means
Alongside invest your money smartly, living below your means is one of the pillars of good personal finance behavior. Essentially, you should be able to pay all of your bills, do some fun things, and have money left over to put away in savings. If this isn’t the case, you must look at ways to either decrease your spending and expenses, increase your income, or both.