If your financial life could use a little extra care and attention, these tips can help you decide where and how to begin.
What comes to mind when you think of fitness? For many of us, it's treadmills, weights, or maybe even those dreaded burpees - things that keep our bodies moving and strong. But fitness also applies to our minds, jobs, families, communities, and finances, all of which play important roles in our overall health and well-being. It can be tough to keep all those plates spinning at once, so it's worth revisiting how you're spending your time and energy to make sure each silo is getting the attention it deserves.
If your financial life could use a little extra cardio, these tips can help you decide where and how to begin.
1) Define your vision
It all starts with deciding how you want to live. What does your current housing situation look like - or what are you working toward? Where will your home base be? How much do you expect to travel? How much should you set aside for fun "extras" like recreation? The more specific you can get when listing your lifestyle goals, the more accurately you'll be able to budget and plan.
2) Crunch some budget numbers
Once you have an idea of what your expenses are (or should be), it's time to compare that number against your monthly income to see how it measures up. Don't be afraid to ask yourself important questions like, "Am I saving enough for the future?" and "Is my money working hard enough for me?" Be realistic, but don't be too hard on yourself. You might find an opportunity to refresh your savings goals and make an investing plan that can help you reach them - and it's never too early or too late to get started.
3) Double down on discipline
Think of investing as a marathon, not a sprint. As long as you're taking regular steps to improve your financial health, it's okay if they're small. You're still putting yourself in a better position to reach your long-term goals. Consider automating your monthly savings, paying down high-interest debt, starting an emergency fund, rebalancing your investments regularly, or updating your beneficiaries after major life events. Don't pressure yourself to do too much at once - nobody gets to the marathon before they can walk a few miles. Start with one good habit and work your way up.
4) Streamline, streamline, streamline
It's much easier to make good financial choices if you don't have to think about them too much! Make sure your financial information is organized and easy for you to access and that you're taking advantage of opportunities to automate savings and consolidate debt.