By Robert M. Church
While money doesn’t buy happiness, understanding finances is key to owning a home, starting a business, raising happy children, and being independent. When people struggle to understand their personal finance, they struggle to achieve, to live and be successful. By providing personal financial education in high schools and in underserved communities, people can be empowered to be financially fit and achieve a better future. The impact of implementing an engaging, comprehensive personal financial literacy course in high schools is both life-changing and inspiring.
Many schools approach meeting the broad standards covered under financial literacy education with offerings that fail to provide a comprehensive focus on the basic skills needed to manage personal finances. Additionally, support for financial literacy education programs offered by the business and financial services sector as solutions often focus on marketing opportunities and products offered by those entities, not on the needs of the students. Statistics suggest that even with all of the attention given to financial literacy education over the last 9 years, there continues to be a systemic lack of education and understanding of personal finances and a financial illiteracy epidemic that is currently plaguing our country.
#FitKit Programs are inspired curricula created by DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation (DMFLF), a non-profit dedicated to building a better tomorrow by educating people today, in order to forge a “Financially FIT America”. These comprehensive turn-key personal finance courses are available to schools and empower young adults with the knowledge they need for a lifetime of financial responsibility, growth and prosperity. They teach students the entire spectrum of fiscal topics necessary for success. The #FitKit engages students with the use of video, animation, humor, and social collaboration. Unit topics include: Income and Careers, Pay, Benefits and Deductions, Taxes, Budgeting, Banking, Savings and Investments, Credit, Insurance and more.
Young adults want to learn about money and appreciate the tools #FitKit gives them. Recently a student in Pennsylvania, named Andrew, felt so empowered by the FitKit materials, he spoke to his local Board of Education about it. He credits the FitKit course that was available to him in high school for preparing him for adulthood. “The course material is well rounded and easy to comprehend. In just five months, I was able to build a foundation in investing, budgeting, debt and taxes.” He continues to be a vocal promoter of FitKit in his local community.
Teachers see the ripple effects of financial literacy in families and communities too. While teaching the FitKit to his high school class, Chris gave his students an assignment that involved speaking to their parents about the family budget. When he got a call from one of the parents the next day, he braced himself for a complaint, but instead received a call of gratitude. “The parents said it was the first time their son ever asked about budgeting and has a new appreciation for how hard his parents struggle to provide for him. With financial literacy, Chris’s student can finally understand his parent’s reasons for denying luxuries such as expensive sneakers and video games.” What used to be a constant source of conflict is now an informed conversation.
Teaching people early in life to understand basic financial concepts helps them take personal responsibility for their futures, it follows that successful stable citizens make for a successful and stable economy, so it’s important for us as parents to ask what efforts are schools are making to teach students about personal finance?
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation is a non-profit organization that relies on generous donors and volunteers who share the vision of giving a new generation the tools they need to be financially responsible and prosperous. If you want to offer your support with a tax-deductible gift, find out how you can sponsor a #FitKit in your school or community.
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation believes its important for students to choose the right bank when considering checking and savings accounts. The FitKit Personal Finance 60 hour program for schools covers Banks and Banking in Unit 5. Peer-to-Peer video contributor Damali shares some important factors to consider when choosing a student checking account. #getfinlit
Comprehensive #PersonalFinance education for #youth is more important now than ever. The FitKit™ Personal Finance eLearning course platform is preparing to launch this spring. With introductory costs as little as $6.00 per user per month. Our online interactive classroom includes such key features as:
- Curricula designed by educators for real-world application
- Background information for students and teachers
- Teaching tools
- Peer-to-peer videos
- PowerPoint presentations
To explore subscriptions, co-branding or #FitKit™ sponsorship opportunities for schools, or to custom craft a FitKit™ Express community program please contact us at email@example.com
Let's work together to prepare today's students for a lifetime of financial responsibility!
Avoiding Delayed Maintenance: Home Maintenance and Repair Tips
Failing to maintain your home could create a money pit that you may never be able to fill once the situation spirals out of control. While delayed maintenance could solve your short-term money and time constraints, it could also reduce the value of your property when you attempt to sell it in the future.
Delayed maintenance, the practice of postponing small and large repairs, can be avoided. This article identifies home maintenance and repair tips that will ensure that your home will always be in a good state of repair. It answers some common questions about home maintenance, such as the cost of some common home repairs and how you can best track maintenance and repairs in your home.
We end the article by looking at how a home warranty can be the solution for homeowners who find themselves having to defer maintenance because of a shortage of funds.
How Do I Handle the Most Common Home Repairs?
Most of the maintenance problems that end up becoming colossal problems start as small issues. Also, most maintenance issues can be avoided if you follow some easy tips to ensure that they do not happen in the first place. Let’s look at some of the common problems and how you can handle them.
What's In This Guide?
Suppose you have ever had the water heater stop working on a cold January morning. In that case, you will understand the importance of ensuring that the water heater is well maintained.
Some small signs can show that something is not right with your water heater. These include leaks or strange noises. When you feel that the heater is no longer working as it did before, there is probably something wrong with it.
The best way to deal with a water heater is to start by reading the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. Get the heater looked at by a professional at the intervals stipulated by the manufacturer. As soon as you see a leak, or hear unusual noises from the heater, call a professional to look at it.
Peeling Paint and Dry Wall Cracks
You start by ignoring that part of the peeling wall, which you hope nobody is noticing until you end up with a house that looks like it is falling apart from the ceilings to the walls. Once walls start to peel and show signs of disintegrating, you should know that you may not have been attending to maintenance as well as you should have.
It’s essential to have a schedule regarding when your home needs a fresh coat of paint. Most paint manufactures will tell you how long the paint will last before you need to re-paint. Painting is one of the easy jobs that you could do for yourself.
Cracks on walls need to be appropriately filled before painting over them. This may take more time and money initially, but it will save you much work and money later on.
Leaky Roofs or Walls
You look at your ceiling and see a part that looks like it was once wet, and you know there may be a leak on your roof. If you ignore this, you do at your own peril. Most of the time, the hardest part is to find the place in the roof that is leaking. Repairing the leak is usually straightforward.
Finding the leak is something you are better off leaving to the professionals. This is because a leak can either be on the roof or in other parts of the building. Attempting to deal with this issue using stopgap measures would usually leave you more frustrated because it doesn’t usually deal with the underlying problem.
Leaking or Burst Pipes
Pipes that carry water are under much pressure most of the time. This is why burst water pipes are some of the most common maintenance issues in the home. This is especially the issue in areas that get so cold that the water in the pipes freezes.
One of the most common repairs in the home is fixing a faucet washer. Even though some people will ignore water slowly dripping off the tap in one room, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that about 11,000 gallons of water are lost every year in the U.S. due to drips and leaks. For a homeowner, leaks and drips can result in a massive bill while also damaging other parts of the house.
Once a pipe has burst, the first thing you should do is close the main water supply into the property; therefore, it’s always important to know where this is. Also, keep the contact details of plumbers in your area where you can easily access them so that you can get assistance as soon as possible.
How Much Do Common Home Repairs Cost?
One of the reasons you need to attend to home repairs when they are still minor is that significant home repairs are expensive and require labor, professional expertise, and permits (in some cases). In contrast, minor home repairs can be done with the minimum and basic knowledge of the homeowner.
The cost of the most common home repairs will depend on several factors. These include the area where you live, materials needed, the availability of people with skills, the extent of the damage, and whether the repair is an emergency or not. Of course, it’s never possible to get an exact cost because situations differ.
Here are a few estimates:
Roof repair: Will cost an average of $550. You will pay between $5,372 and $10,968 depending on where you are and the material you use if the repair involves installing a new roof.
Water heater repair: Will set you back between $218 and $936 on average per job.
Peeling paint repair: Can cost a homeowner between $0.90 and $2.20 per square foot.
Drywall cracks: Can cost a homeowner back between $150 and $325 for the smaller repairs, while water damage could cost between $220 and $380 to repair.
Leaking or burst pipes repairs: Smaller jobs can cost between $125 and $350, while bigger jobs will cost between $500 and $800.
How Do I Minimize the Need for Repairs?
By now, it should be clear that when a home is left to disintegrate, more things will need to be repaired at the same time. There are a few actions you can take to minimize the need for repairs, including the following.
The AARP, an organization that helps Americans aged 50 and above to improve their quality of life, has a helpful page on avoiding costly home repairs and how much you could save.
How Do I Track Home Maintenance and Repairs?
It could be a daunting task keeping track of maintenance schedules and repairs as they all have different recommended inspection periods. We look at different ways homeowners can keep track of these repairs and maintenance:
Apps: Various mobile apps help homeowners keep track of different maintenance schedules, vendors that offer these services, and stores where maintenance tools and materials can be ordered. Examples include Angie’s List, Maintenance Reminder, Builder trend, and TaskRabbit.
Maintenance manual/home report: Is a file for home system and appliance instructions, maintenance records, and all home warranty information.
Maintenance checklist: This checklist will list the required maintenance tasks for each system on a monthly, yearly, or biennial basis. It also includes the required materials to carry out the maintenance or repairs, their cost, and the cost of professional labor. See the annual home maintenance checklist provided by The New York Times here.
How Do I Improve My DIY Maintenance Skills?
To ensure that you can deal with home maintenance issues as they emerge and before they become huge issues, you will need to gain some simple DIY skills. Here are a few tips on how you can do that:
Start small: Tasks like the clearing of drainages or checking the rollers of your sliding doors when they come off the hinges are the first steps in your DIY journey.
Research: For more complicated tasks, you can find instructions, books, and videos, search the internet, or ask friends and neighbors to show you how they attend to these repairs. Homeowners can take DIY home repair classes at the local hardware stores.
Observe: Whenever you call a professional for a routine maintenance check or repair, you can observe while they work so that you can learn and carry out home maintenance tasks.
Volunteer: By volunteering in home improvement projects in the community, you can learn advanced maintenance skills like landscaping, plumbing, and electrical repairs.
DIY vs. Professional Home Maintenance
Even though the thought of doing DIY home maintenance can be enticing for the homeowner that wants to save money, not all home maintenance jobs are DIY. But how do you determine
Whether to call a professional or to do the job yourself?
If you don’t have the skill, then you’re not qualified to do the job. If you do the job yourself, you could get injured, harm others, or make the problem worse.
Ask yourself a few questions before you decide to do DIY maintenance. Am I physically up to the task? Will the job look like it was done by a professional? Will I be able to correct things if the repair becomes a disaster? Is it legal for me to do the repair? Do I have the right tools and protective equipment? If the answer is no to any of the questions above, you need to find a professional.
Home Warranty Cost vs. DIY Repairs
One of the main factors that make homeowners either delay maintenance or choose DIY is to save money and time. But do you know that a home warranty can ensure that you can maintain some systems and appliances in your home, find the best professionals, and never have to worry about costly repairs that need to be done when finances are tight?
What is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty is a contract that covers the maintenance of household systems and appliances for a certain period. A home warranty is not home insurance (that covers the loss of a home and the contents in it). It usually covers specified costs, with the homeowner paying a specified amount whenever an item is serviced.
Costs covered by a home warranty can include replacing major kitchen appliances and repairs to plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems. Usually, the warranty will not cover home structural features like doors and windows.
How Much Does a Home Warranty Cost?
A home warranty can cost between $400 and $800 a year, while service fees can be between $75 and $125 every time a technician is dispatched to your home. Home warranty premiums can be paid monthly or annually, and some companies require a one-time enrollment fee.
Can Home Warranties Save Me Money?
Suppose one considers that repairing a water heater could cost over $900, while a home warranty covering more than 35 items could cost up to $800 a year. In that case, you will notice that a home warranty can save you money. For argument’s sake, let’s say that you need to repair or replace three appliances in a year. These appliances are likely to cost a lot more than you may have paid for your home warranty in a given period.
With a home warranty, the homeowner manages to get home maintenance services without finding a lump sum at a specific time. Also, the technicians provided by the home warranty are usually trusted and vetted. You can expect excellent quality and easy ways of complaining if you are not satisfied with the service.
A disadvantage to the home warranty option is that you pay your premiums even when no repair is carried out; however, these things often balance themselves. When something needs to be replaced, you will notice that it may cost more than all the premiums and the service fees you have paid.
By Robert M. Church
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation is dedicated to helping young adults acquire the skills and understandings necessary to build upon for a lifetime of financial responsibility and a secure financial future. Understanding personal finances is not easy, nor can it be one of the most engaging areas of study, but having the ability to understand and plan for the future financially can have an incredible impact on a young person’s life. Though the US has focused on financial literacy education, and to date 45 states have adopted standards for Financial Literacy Education only 24 states require a Personal Finance course to be offered, we are becoming less financially literate. Based upon our experiences, we believe the following are compelling reasons as to why it is important for schools to teach about personal finance.
1) The lack of “friction” related to the way we purchase and spend. Technology has made it increasingly easy to purchase items and spend money. Without handling it, we seldom think about the consequences related to purchases. In-fact most households overspend their income monthly, creating situations where individuals and families are continually trying to catch up.
2) Student loan debt increasing. Student loan debt has soared from $260 billion in 2004 to over 1.7 trillion last year. According to debt.org The average student takes on more than $37,172 in student loans and maintains student debt well into their 60s. Students who understand the decisions that they are making are more likely to avoid costly debt.
3) Understanding personal finances encourages good savings, investing and financial practices. From youth to adulthood the ability to learn, understand and practice sound financial decision-making skills encourages youth to ask questions, make better decisions and carry those practices on later in life. They are also more apt to share their financial decision-making processes and discuss personal finances with their children.
4) Young adults are filing for bankruptcy. Students start spending sooner, have more debt options, have more debt in general, student loans are costlier, and people are going bankrupt younger. In 2001 almost 1 in 5 Americans age 18-24 declared bankruptcy according to USA Today. This is the fastest growing demographic in bankruptcy cases.
5) Common misunderstandings can lead to serious financial issues later in life. There are many myths when it comes to managing your personal finances. It’s important not to listen to outdated advice or blindly follow rules of thumb. In fact, many experts suggest that the commonly held rule of holding 6 months of income in emergency reserve is incorrect and now encourage holding 9 months in reserve.
6) Understanding of basic skills in personal finance helps to ensure individuals do not become victims. Often during times of financial stress individuals are faced with having to make decisions financially that they lack confidence in, or because they are pressured by creditors. Understanding basic skills helps to avoid these situations and challenges and to overcome inequity.
7) Give yourself options. Understanding personal finances can help to plan and provide for options when faced with making financial decisions, especially during time of financial stress.
8) Planning for today and tomorrow. Understanding basic skills and practices in personal finance helps you to plan for the future and provides you with an understanding of how the financial decisions that you are making today affects you tomorrow.
9) Stabilizing parents and families. Understanding personal finance is an integral part of managing a household, planning for families, and securing futures. Most Americans would not give themselves better than a C in their own personal financial understandings. As husbands, wives and parents it is important to plan responsibly for the day to day, for family growth and for retirement.
10) Financially literate youth become good members of their communities. Financial literacy lays the foundation for the future. Understanding skills in personal finance helps individuals to recognize their dreams, to establish businesses and organizations and to help themselves, their families and others succeed.
Photo Credit: Pexels.com
As a business owner, you have an added burden when tax season arrives. Taxpayers with a business spend significantly more time on tax preparation than those without businesses. The process can be especially stressful if you aren't sure what tax reporting and payment requirements you are subjected to. DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation, Inc., is dedicated to helping business owners like you, providing financial literacy resources to demystify the tax preparation and filing process.
Read on for a starter guide to a stress-free tax filing process.
Get your paperwork organized.
You will need to sift through a lot of paperwork to complete your business tax filing. Start getting organized now. Depending on your circumstances, you may need Federal Wage and Tax Statements (Form W-2), Employer Annual Federal Tax Return (Form 944), and Transmittal of Income and Tax Statements (Form W-3). You can find all of this paperwork on the Internal Revenue Service website. Figuring out and finding what you need now will save you stress when you're actually filing.
Make sure to clearly separate business and personal finances.
As you go through your paperwork, make sure to distinguish between personal and business-related documentation. This simplifies tax filing and will also make matters easier if you are audited by the IRS. If you don't already have one, consider opening a business bank account. There are various advantages, such as the ability to build business credit — improving your financing prospects, avoiding personal liability, and better revenue tracking.
Clarify what rebates and credits you are entitled to.
Tax credits and rebates can lower your final business tax bill. Take the time to check what you may be eligible for. Possibilities include earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, retirement plan startup cost tax credit, work opportunity tax credit, and more. For tailor-made advice, consult a tax professional.
Ensure you've properly differentiated employees versus contractors.
As a business owner, you will also have to submit tax paperwork to the IRS regarding your workers. What paperwork you submit depends on whether the worker is an employee or an independent contractor. Independent contractors require a 1099, for example, while employees need a W-2 and W-4. Legal Zoom explains how to properly differentiate between the two categories. For example, the courts may use the "right to control" test, determining how much authority you, the employer, have over whether the worker does their work or not.
Invest in tech tools to simplify record-keeping.
Tax preparation and filing will take time. Fortunately, there are tools available to help expedite the process. Take the 1099 forms for independent contractors, for example. An online payroll system allows you to file 1099 online, minimizing hassle and the confusion between 1099-MISC and 1099-NEC and when to use them. Online payroll systems also simplify payments, allowing you to pay contractors more quickly.
Change your business structure if needed.
As you prepare for tax season, you may discover that you would be better off with a different business structure. Diverse entities like limited liability companies, corporations, and sole proprietorships vary in terms of tax obligations and reporting requirements. While changing your business structure now won't make a huge difference when it comes to reporting for the last tax year, it can help you save money next tax year.
Don't let tax season overwhelm you. The above tips can help you get through it easily. If you find yourself struggling, don't hesitate to turn to a professional for help.
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation, Inc. gives small business owners the knowledge they need to succeed. Visit the website to view the current course offerings.
Credit - Pexels
Business owners need to improve their financial literacy. In a survey of reasons why startups fail, CB Insights found that 29% went out of business because they ran out of money. This all-too-common problem can be remedied by being financially literate, as financial knowledge can help business owners avoid mistakes that would cause their business to go bankrupt. That's because financial literacy gives business owners a nuanced understanding of vital aspects of business, like accounting, taxation, budgeting, and payroll.
Improved financial literacy will also help business owners strategically prepare for downturns, take advantage of opportunities, and come up with viable solutions to problems such as overspending and disproportionate resource allocation. Indeed, financial literacy improvement ought to be one of the goals of every business owner, and the tips below will help in that regard.
Get financial literacy lessons
The glaring absence of personal finance in K-12 standards means that generations upon generations of Americans are likely without formal education in matters related to finance.
That said, nothing is ever too late when it comes to learning, as business owners can attend financial literacy training sessions, consult with financial planners, or even take actual courses in finance or accounting. Taking a basic course in accounting, in particular, is highly recommended since a basic understanding of it helps not only in improving financial literacy, but also in interpreting financial statements.
Create a financial advisory team... and consult with them
Just as business owners need to form teams to run the business' operations, they must also form a financial advisory team composed of a CPA, a business and trust and estate lawyer, a P&C advisor, a life insurance advisor, and an investment advisor.
This team will be a valuable resource in terms of understanding the financial side of the business. Having said that, business owners will need to meet with this team regularly for financial planning and coordination and to pick their brains about financial matters.
Scrutinize the business structure
Going over the business' legal structure is a great way to learn not only about the legal aspects of running a business, but also how these aspects affect the financial side of things. Mostly, this financial impact has something to do with how the business is taxed. And given how sole proprietorship and limited liability company (LLC) are two of the more popular legal structures for small and mid-sized businesses, it makes perfect sense for business owners to be scrutinizing both.
For LLCs in New Jersey, in particular, taxation covers sales tax and income tax, as well as a variety of other charges, like corporation business tax, gross income tax, insurance premiums, and recycling tax. On the other hand, an Entrepreneur article on sole proprietorships in the country details how they are taxed differently, with the business owners' income and expenses both included in their personal income tax, which they will have to pay on top of their self-employment tax. By studying these structures, business owners will then get a firmer grasp of finance in relation to taxation.
Use data aggregation apps
Lastly, business owners need to leverage technology. One way to do so is by using data aggregation apps, like QuickBooks, Wave, and Due. These apps help business owners understand better their business' financial health through constant and real-time monitoring of a variety of metrics, including cash flow, credit, and expenses.
Crucially, these apps employ artificial intelligence, allowing them to make sense of all financial data collected and give recommendations based on said data. These same data can also be discussed in meetings with the financial advisory team or used as a reference point when reviewing the business' legal structure.
As a final note, business owners need to adopt a mindset of lifelong learning. In this way, every opportunity is a chance to learn, whether about finance, about the other aspects of business, or about life in general.
Article specially contributed to dmfinancialliteracy.org
Contributed by: JBrander
It’s a great time to venture out on one’s own, as more employers than ever are looking to hire contractors and freelancers for a variety of work to save money rather than investing in full-time employees (with benefits) for work that can readily be done by independent professionals. Working in the gig economy means working on your own terms, according to your needs, strengths, and desires.
If you have a marketable skill and experience, the gig economy can provide you a route to financial and professional independence — or a whole new rewarding career. One of the wonders of the gig economy is the sheer number of available opportunities, anything from pet sitting to website design.
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation, Inc. knows that getting started can be a challenge, so consider the following tips if you believe the gig economy is for you.
If you’re looking for a niche that suits your particular skills and offers excellent profitability, consider opening an ecommerce store. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities available to people who want to get started. Dropshipping, for example, puts you into the retail marketplace without needing to maintain a physical inventory. To get the ball rolling, write an engaging CV based on a professional-looking template that enhances what you have to offer prospective clients. As Network Solutions explains, you can either choose to do business-to-business transactions or business-to-consumer — it just depends on what product or products you wish to offer.
Ready to Roll
If you're ready to get your business set up, an important early step is to create a legal business entity. The business entity is controlled by the state in which it's set up, and each type of business entity has its own requirements.
One popular method to going legal is forming a New Jersey LLC. LLCs typically offer the most flexibility while still providing security to the founder(s). Other business types include LLPS, S-Corps, and C-Corps, but because an LLC can usually be formed in about 5 steps, it's often the 'go-to' for solopreneurs or those that plan to keep their team (and overhead) small.
Establish a Presence
So you’ve selected your business — now you need to let others know about your expertise and capabilities. That means creating a strong online presence, a place where potential clients can find you and get the information they need to make a decision.
There are several excellent ways to do this. Most people begin with a website that contains background, CV-type information, a rundown of past work with samples (i.e., a portfolio), contact information, and more. You can build and maintain a website cost effectively by using a free website builder such as Wix to design your website, and inexpensive hosting plans are available as well.
Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are also good ways to get your name out there and begin building a following. And word-of-mouth can be invaluable as you get started, so reach out to former clients, colleagues, and employers — anyone who could put you in contact with potential clients (or offer you work themselves).
Employers look to the gig economy for very specific needs, so make sure you’re offering a very specific, niche-oriented service. Remember, you’re no longer in the corporate world offering to be a generalist in the interest of good teamwork; that’s not what companies are looking for if they’re going to contract with you. Do the best work you can within the parameters of your niche.
To do your best work, TechRepublic recommends setting up a home office with minimal distractions (no TV screens, no video gaming) and decorated with elements aimed at providing a calm and soothing work environment, including green houseplants and photos of family and past vacations. It’s best to keep things sparse so you don’t lose focus at times when you really have to dig down and concentrate.
The gig economy can put you on the road to an exciting new career or provide a means of generating supplemental income. The best part is that you can do it in your own time and pick and choose the type of work you’ll do. However, remember it’s important to maintain the same professionalism that made you successful in previous positions.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Photo via Pexels
During your 20s, financial life planning always feels like something you’ll have to do in the future. However, as we get older, responsibilities such as children and mortgages mean we can’t afford to wing it and hope for the best anymore. Deciding to take control of your future finances is the first step, but what comes next? How do you figure out what contingencies to plan for, or what plans you need to put in place? We’re here to help.
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to building a better tomorrow by educating people today, in order to forge a financially literate America. Join the DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation Giving Society to support our cause!
Children and Family
Whether you’re already a parent or are just starting to think about it, it’s important to think ahead when it comes to your family’s financial future. First, you need to consider the immediate costs, especially if you are about to start a family. Nerdwallet has found that most parents vastly underestimate the cost of a baby’s first year of life and found that it can add up to as much as $21,248. Is this something you can afford? If not, it may be a good idea to save up more money.
Then, you can start looking toward the future. The sooner you start saving for college, the better. This is thanks to the magic of compound interest: if you were to save for the first nine years of your child’s life and then stop, you would earn considerably more than if you saved between the ages of 9 and 18.
You should also have a plan to ensure your family will be okay in case you or your partner die unexpectedly. You’re never too young to start estate planning and to have your paperwork, such as a will, in order. A 30-year term life insurance may be a good choice, especially if you have recently married or have a 30-year mortgage.
Home and Mortgage
If you are looking to buy for the first time, you first need to make sure your finances are ready for a mortgage. It’s a good idea to start by getting a clear idea of your current expenses and paying off smaller debts. You may also want to consider a 15 or 20-year loan if you think you can sustain it, as it saves you money overall.
If you already have a mortgage, the best thing you can do is make sure you take good care of your investment. Have a schedule for regular home maintenance tasks and do not neglect them, no matter how new your house is.
You may feel like you're stuck in a rut with your career with no way out. Fortunately, the answer could be as easy as investing in your education by earning an MBA. The degree can lead to a salary increase, new career paths, and a financial peace of mind for your family. The degree doesn't have to take over your life if you're careful to select a program that offers ample flexibility, such as few to no assignment deadlines. You'll reignite your own passion for learning and set a great example for your family as well.
If you don’t have health insurance, get it. Not having any health insurance could be catastrophic for you and your family. If you do have health insurance, you may want to consider whether there are any supplemental plans you could benefit from. For instance, parents with growing children may want to invest in dental insurance to cover their orthodontic care.
Healthcare is an area where financial planning intersects with lifestyle since the best way to save money is to not get sick. While this is not always possible, the choices you make in terms of diet, exercise, sleep, and mental health will go a long way toward achieving this. Also, research has shown that just following your doctor’s recommendations for diet and medication can save you up to $2,000 a year alone.
Taking the step into financial planning is not as daunting as it seems. It’s all about a shift in perspective: instead of thinking of your life month-to-month, or even year-to-year, you need to start thinking about the next few decades. The time will pass before you know it, and you will be thankful for the work you put in. Do your research, stay organized, and save as much as you can. By simply doing this, you will already be doing yourself a favor in the years to come.