Less than 30 percent of Americans are considered financially healthy. This doesn’t just mean having savings in the bank, it also means that they feel confident and secure in their finances. Another 17 percent are financially vulnerable. The rest fall somewhere in the middle, leaving them okay in some areas of their finances but struggling in others.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there’s always room to improve your financial know-how. Keep reading to learn six finances tips nobody tells you.
1. Reign in Your Goals
Whether you’re dreaming of buying a home or paying off debt, the last tip you might expect to hear is to reign in those lofty goals. But that’s exactly what you should do if you want to increase your chances to achieving your goals.
Evidence suggests that the more out-of-reach and distant our goals seem, the less confident we’ll feel that we can reach them. This often leads to abandoning our goals long before they become a reality. This is exactly what happens to most people around New Year’s Eve; we make a long list of things we’d like to do, only to quickly feel overwhelmed and give up on all of them by February.
Rather than setting goals that are tough to reach, start small. As you reach those more attainable goals, you’ll build up the confidence to reach more difficult ones.
2. Say “No” to Cosigning
When a friend or family members come to you asking for you to cosign on a loan for them, think twice before signing the dotted line.
That’s because if the person fails to pay back the loan, you’ll suddenly become legally responsible. Not only will this set you behind on your own financial goals and possibly damage your credit score, but it’ll likely ruin your relationship with the person as well. This also means repair may require dispute letters to one, two, or all three agencies.
3. Credit Cards Can Be Excellent Tools
One popular financial tip you might hear is to switch to using cash instead of cards to cut down on the debt you’re taking on. But while that might be good advice for anyone who struggles to control their spending, it isn’t necessarily the right choice for those looking to build their credit and make the most of their spending.
When used properly, credit cards can be great tools. For example, a USAA rewards credit card will get you cash back or points on the purchases you already make, which you can in turn use to get a little closer to your goals. Plus, using a credit card and paying off the balance on time can help you raise your credit score, which is important if you’d like to buy a home or apply for a loan.
4. Investing Isn’t Just for Pros
If you think that investing in the stock market is only for financial gurus, think again.
Thanks to a variety of apps aimed at beginners, anyone can start investing in stocks and building a portfolio, starting with just a small initial investment.
5. Invest in Yourself for More Happiness
When it comes to spending our hard-earned money, it might seem sensible to splurge on things that will last and that you can use frequently, like new clothes or technology.
However, experts say that spending on experiences rather than things translates to longer-lasting happiness.
6. Be Clear About What’s Really a Financial Emergency
You’ve likely heard that putting between three and six months’ worth of expenses into a separate savings account is a great way to protect yourself from unexpected emergencies, but once you’ve started your account, make sure that you’re clear about what constitutes an emergency.
Your wedding, an invite on a big vacation or your desire to buy a new car? Not emergencies. Instead, save that account for things like paying for expenses after you lose your job or repairs on your car or home that cannot wait.
Putting These Finance Tips to Work
From utilizing credit cards to investing in your happiness, these finance tips are a great way to make the most of your money, jumpstart your savings or investments and get more money savvy. Learn about Roth 401(k) vs Roth IRA.
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