What you can do right now to better your long-term finances – words Al Woods
Getting by these days isn’t easy. Most workers, studies say, live paycheck to paycheck — many of us have next to nothing stashed away for a rainy day, and many of us are unwilling or unable to put aside money for retirement.
Unfortunately, if you live this way for too long, then you will be in for a rude awakening when you reach old age. You may find yourself unable to retire on time, or unable to enjoy the golden years that you’ve been hoping for.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. If you make some smart decisions right now, adopt some good habits, and invest in yourself and your own financial future, then you could enjoy a great retirement and a stable financial situation later in life. Working out your future financial picture isn’t something that you should wait until later to do. Start right now and do these few things.
Set a budget
While it’s true that some of us simply aren’t making enough money to make ends meet, others among us may have more money than we realize. Sometimes, the problem is that we’re spending too much of it.
To make the most of the money that you do have, you need to set a budget. Make sure that you’re carving out the right amounts for necessary living expenses like groceries and rent. Prioritize student debt and other forms of debt that will generate interest. The sooner you pay down these things, the more of your money you’ll ultimately be able to keep instead of sending to your lenders. Finally, allow yourself a budget for fun and luxuries — but not before you carve out some cash to put away in long-term savings.
Start an emergency fund
Studies show that 60 percent of millennials don’t have enough cash on hand to cover a $1,000 emergency — and many older Americans aren’t doing much better. That’s a big problem, because not having the cash on hand means that you’ll have to turn to forms of debt. Maybe you’ll cover your expense with a credit card — if you do that, the high interest rates will haunt you. Or maybe you’ll get a short-term loan, which will also have a high interest rate.
If, however, you build out a nice little emergency fund now, you’ll be able to cover an unexpected expense later on. And if that helps you avoid debt, you’ll be making an outsized impact on your long-term financial picture.
Go back to school
When you’re working, you’re earning money — but how much are you making? Sometimes, experts say, the best move is to stop working and to go back to school for more training.
Or, better yet, go back to school while you work, say the experts at Excelsior College. Online universities, part-time programs, and low-residency options make it easier than ever to fit a valuable education into your busy schedule.
Top online universities such as Excelsior College also allow you to live at home and study from wherever you have access to a computer. That can mean big savings on rent and living expenses, depending on your situation. And because rent can be so costly, the ability to improve your earning power without paying for dorm living can be a huge deal, the Excelsior College pros say.
Invest in real estate
Speaking of rent, it’s a waste of money. When you pay rent, you get a living space now and nothing at all for the future. A mortgage, on the other hand, helps you build wealth because it’s being paid into your ownership of a real estate property.
And once you’ve secured your own home, you may not want to stop. Real estate is valuable. And as rotten of a deal as rent can be from a tenant’s perspective, it can be a heck of a deal for landlords. If you have the ability to invest in an income property, you could make a passive income from the rent.
Of course, running an income property isn’t easy. But it can be a lot easier if you use great landlord software solutions that help you manage tasks such as tenant screening and rental application creation.
Maybe you can buy a real estate property right now, and maybe you can’t. But if you do whatever you can do to save money, avoid debt, and invest in your future, you’ll be better off in the long run.