5 tips to help simplify your finances

There is no shortage of directives being given to us on how to navigate with our money. Do this, don’t do that, have this amount saved, invest in this for now-but wait, that stock just tanked, so invest in this instead. Our brains are left swirling with information. Some we act on and others we ignore. At any rate, from year to year it’s essential that you simplify your finances to calm some of the angst that you may be feeling as a result of information overload. Here are five tips to get you started. 

Clarify your goals or desired milestones

Determine a few short and long-term goals to focus on. Short term goals are things that can be accomplished within a years’ time, while long term goals can range anywhere from five years to a couple of decades. If you aren’t sure that a purchase or a financial decision is acceptable – stop and ask yourself, “does this align with my goals?” Make sure the goals align with the SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound).

Strategize

Strategy is your best friend. Becoming acquainted with shifting gears once goals have been reached keeps you consistently aligned with your money. Let’s say you’re looking to add a new bundle of joy to your family. Increasing HSA (Health Savings Account) contributions to assist with medical visits, setting up a new savings account and thinking through the changes that need to happen are all ways to proactively plan.

Save up

Saving will always remain a goal. One of the most important things you can do is pay yourself every pay period. Determine a set amount or a percentage that you will set aside. Every quarter, try to increase this amount. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by increasing incrementally over time.

Invest in your retirement

If you’re an employee, be sure that your contributions are at minimum matching what is provided by your employer. For example, if they match up to 4%, make it a priority to contribute 4%. In this way, you’re doubling your 401(k)-retirement earnings year over year. If you aren’t able to maximum the match, set a goal to increase your retirement strategy by 1% each year until you’re at the max.

Keep your eyes on your account

Check your bank activity often. This is not only a good habit to have, but it could also help you to spot potential fraud. Over the past few years, financial institutions have collected on average over $12 billion in overdraft fees. Save yourself the hassle and be sure to check your accounts daily to make sure transactions are clearing properly.

What methods do you use to simplify your finances?

 

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About

The Finance Bar is a personal finance suite helping women and couples achieve financial wellness through financial therapy, education, and an innovative learning hub on wheels. Creator Marsha Barnes is Certified in Financial Therapy, Financial Social Work, and serves as an Official FICO Brand Ambassador, and was named GOBankingRates’ Best Money Expert in the Net-Worth Category.

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