Like just about everything in life, with experience comes knowledge. The same concept applies to money. There are things everyone should know about money. As you get into the real world and learn about personal finance and money management, you will experience certain situations that will allow you to learn. Not everyone gets a money-mindset prior to their experience, but a few pointers never hurt anyone! The CGS Team is sharing 13 things you should know about money and how to manage it for your situation.
#1 You have to earn more than you spend.
This may seem like a “duh” sentence, but if everyone understood this concept, there would be no such thing as credit card debt A key thing to remember about money is if you don’t have it, don’t spend it.
#2 The earlier you save, the more you have.
Thanks to compounding interest, the younger you are when you start saving long-term, the more money you will have when you’re ready to tap into that savings. This is why saving for retirement as soon as possible is a critical factor to being taken care of when you retire.
#3 You need a budget.
A budget shows you what you earn and what you spend. Without one, you don’t really know the ins and outs of your money.
#4 Having an emergency fund handy is a life saver.
Having some form of reserves saved for emergency can make a world of difference on your financial life and overall well-being.
#5 Saving is easier when it’s automated.
When you don’t have to think about saving money, it’s that much easier to let it happen. Having a portion of your paycheck direct deposited to savings, or setting up recurring transfers to your savings account will take the burden off of you. This allows you to save without missing the money beforehand.
#6 You are entitled to a free credit report every year.
You don’t have to pay for monthly credit monitoring services, especially if you keep your debts simple. However, you should take advantage of a free credit report pull every year. This will allow you to keep tabs on your score and spot any errors that may have come up without you knowing.
#7 Everyone has a net worth.
Your net worth is calculated as follows: assets – liabilities = net worth. If your liabilities (debts) are more than your assets (cash, items worth value, etc.) then you have a negative net worth. Learn more about calculating and understanding your net worth.
#8 You have a spending personality.
You could be a penny pincher, extreme overspending, perfect planner or wealth worrier. Understanding your spending personality will allow you to put yourself in and take yourself out of situations that help or harm your money situation. Take our quiz: What’s Your Relationship With Money to see what type of spending personality you have.
#9 Investing is not as scary as it sounds.
Most people hear the word “investing” and curl up into a ball. Investing is actually a very fulfilling way to build wealth. The good thing about investing is that you have plenty of options. You are not limited to just stocks (which can move very fast) or measly interest in your savings account. Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Investing with Little Cash.
#10 There are more ways to save than you think.
Sure, traditional savings methods like a basic account, 401k contributing, and asset acquisition (house, car) are great ways to save. However, there are many more options than you think! Simply signing up for tax-advantage benefits at work (pre-tax commuter pay, tuition reimbursement, etc.) are great ways to save money on things you would already pay for. Take a good, hard look at the benefits offered to you by your employer, community or alumni association and start saving!
#11 You never know where other people stand financially.
LearnVest hit the nail on the head with this one: “The co-worker with great clothes could be deep in debt or have family money. The neighbor could be close to foreclosure or have paid cash for her house. That’s why it’s never wise to compare yourself to other people.”
#12 Debt can take away from your future financial goals.
You already know you make more than you spend, but if you do find yourself in debt it’s very important to get out of it as soon as you can. Debt that accrues interest makes it much costlier than what you start with. How can you make progress if you are constantly putting money towards debt and interest?
#13 The learning never stops.
As you grow in life, your career and your finances, the learning will never end. Be prepared to face some financial ups and downs and always remember the meaning of it all. Be open to experiencing new ways to save, and seeking help if you need it. If you know you are lacking any of the areas above, CGS can help! Our Founder/Financial Coach Raya Reaves works with clients to help them build positive financial habits like budgeting, expense tracking, and analyzing needs vs. wants. Schedule your free consultation with her today to see where you may be able to improve!
Financial success can be a long journey, but it is possible for anyone to achieve! What are somethings you wish you learned about money early on? Would you change anything from your financial past? We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below to share and we will definitely respond!