Dave Ramsey and his team show you how to master your cash this year.
When you assign every dollar you earn a category, you take control of your money. Budgets, like the ones offered on our app , give you boundaries and limits, but they also empower you to have a say over your paycheck.
Regardless of your child's age, start saving money for college now. For young children, open an Education Savings Account (ESA) and contribute as much as you can (up to $2,000 limit) each year. The money will grow tax-free, and if you start early, you'll have enough to cover a large chunk of college expenses. Encourage kids already in college to do everything possible to get through college debt-free: Apply for scholarships and grants or take a part-time job.
This year, get serious about retirement. Use the Retire Inspired Quotient on retirement expert to help you figure out how much money you'll need to live comfortably when you stop working. Then connect with an investment professional to make a plan to reach that goal. Participate in your company's retirement plan and take advantage of any matching programs it offers. And never, ever touch your retirement fund until you're read to retire.
Everyone needs a will, and you can get a low-cost, state-specific one online without a lawyer through a company like , which I've endorsed for years. You'll also need life insurance for financial security. I recommend a policy that provides at least 10 to 12 times your annual income.
Pick several trusted friends or family members and proclaim your financial dreams out loud. You might be surprised at the doors that open and the encouragement that comes your way.
Don't wait until the bills come in to talk to your partner about your purchases. Pick a quiet time to discuss the future and any big financial decisions coming up. When you're proactive about communicating, money become a tool to build intimacy rather than a weapon to break it down.
To earn some extra cash, create a side business or turn a hobby into a money-maker. Think about what resources are at your disposal, then start small. If you dream of opening a store, establish your business first online with , and use Facebook to advertise. And don't underestimate word of mouth. After college, I rented a house with an 11-stall barn with the goal of boarding horses. In a short time, news of my business spread and I filled every stall.
Decrease your weekly food budget by $25 and, at the end of each day, put your loose coins into a jar. Deposit what you've saved (it will be at least $1,200) into a Roth IRA at the end of the year.
Even on a tight budget, you can make giving a priority. Do some research and donate only to organizations you trust. Then, start planning now for some bigger gifts down the road. You may not be able to devote as much money to charity as you'd like today, but you can still build your generosity 'muscle' over time.
When you create your financial targets for the year—saving up for a new dishwasher or getting a better job—write down three steps you can take to get you there. It's easier to make big moves when you break them down into smaller pieces.
Gather your insurance forms, deeds, passwords, investments, tax returns, information and other key documents and store them in a safe place. Tell your spouse or a trusted friend what you box includes and where to find it.