Category Archives: Money

This Should Be Your Monthly Financial To-Do List

For most of us, managing our money is just another chore, like mopping the floors or switching out the air filters. It’s something we dread doing, and if we’re lucky, we only need to check in on our money once a month or so.

Obviously, some things (like paying your bills) should be done more than once a month, but there are some financial to-do’s that you can tackle every four weeks. These tasks will keep you on track without overloading you with daily money chores.

Every 30 days or so, take an hour to address the following list. Trust me: it’ll give you some peace of mind and ensure you’re doing everything you need to in terms of financial security.

Do a Soft Pull on Your Credit Score

Although you don’t want to do a “hard” pull on your credit report too often, it’s smart to use one of your credit card accounts or another app to check your credit score without affecting it. This helps you monitor for unapproved activity and make sure your credit score is staying in good shape. Soft pulls aren’t as accurate as hard pulls, but they’re fairly close and harmless to your score.

If your credit score is lower than you want it to be, this is your chance to respond to negative changes quickly. Missed a payment? Call your credit card company and ask them to waive it. Lost points because you applied for a loan? Freeze your credit so that you’re not tempted to apply for anything else in the near future. By checking your credit score often, you’ll become more adept at making necessary changes to keep it at a healthy number.

Check in on Your Net Worth’s Progress

I’ve talked about the importance of net worth before, but it’s not something that’s worth checking on a daily basis because it typically grows slowly. However, you should take a look at your overall worth at least once a month to ensure it’s progressing the way you want it to. The better understanding you have of your big financial picture, the easier it is to make smart decisions over the course of the next month.

Look Over Your Spending Habits

I’ll admit that budgeting isn’t effective for every kind of spender, but everyone should know where their money goes each month. Take time to sit down and figure out how you’re distributing your spending. Are you spending an obnoxious amount on eating out? Is your insurance costing you more than a high percentage of your monthly income? Keep an eye on everything so you know when you’re overspending.

Move at Least 10 Percent into a Savings Account

It always blows my mind when I read that 39 percent of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. About 44 percent can’t even cover a $400 emergency expense! No wonder most of us are incredibly stressed about money.

To prevent yourself from stumbling into debt or panic, try to squirrel away at least 10 percent of your monthly income to prepare for emergencies. Experts recommend that your monthly personal savings should be at least that high, but many people are only saving around 5.6 percent.

Take One Hour to Secure Your Financial Future

Today, roughly 49 percent of Americans are “concerned, anxious, or fearful about their current financial well-being.” If thinking about a monthly financial to-do list makes you queasy, know that you’re not alone.

However, I can assure you that being more aware of your money problems is the best route to take in the long-run. Just take one afternoon each month to sit down and take a hard look at your spending, debt, credit score, and savings. Your sacrifice will pay off for years in the future.

5 Money Moves to Make Before You Quit the Job You Hate

Every Monday morning is a drag. Whether it’s because you can’t stand your boss or you detest your work environment, it’s not uncommon for Americans to dislike their jobs. In fact, a Gallup Poll in 2017 found that roughly 85 percent of people hate their jobs. It’s safe to say that you’re not alone in your sentiments.

Before you call it quits at your current company, think about how the decision will impact you financially. There are a handful of steps you can take to minimize the blow to your savings and leave you in a secure position.

1. Give Yourself a Substantial Emergency Fund

If you’re planning to quit your terrible job without another gig lined up, you’ll need to live off your savings for a bit. That means your savings need to be substantial. According to experts at The Balance, you should have a minimum  of three months’ of living expenses socked away. I personally recommend hoarding six months’ worth of living expenses before exiting.

This will give you the peace of mind you need to choose your next job without desperately leaping at the first paying opportunity you stumble across. Plus, you’ll be equipped to handle any unexpected financial emergencies that pop up in the next few months.

2. Determine What Your Unemployment Budget Will Look Like

When you’re going without a paycheck, you’ll need to live differently than you do now. Don’t wait until you give your two-weeks notice to decide how you’ll survive. Plan ahead; determine what your budget will look like once you’re not employed. What unnecessary expenses can you cut? Where will you need to start saving more?

3. Take Care of Your Medical Needs While You Still Have Insurance

Depending on when you quit, your insurance may cover you for up to a month after you leave the company. Still, you should take care of as many medical procedures and appointments as possible before quitting. Go to the dentist, schedule your annual checkup, and refill your prescriptions. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to medical expenses. 

You may also want to look into your next insurance company if you plan to be unemployed for more than a couple of weeks. You never know when your health can take a turn. Prepare for the worst by doing your research before you’re in a sticky situation.

4. Start a Side Hustle That Can Keep You Afloat

Just because you don’t have another full-time job lined up doesn’t mean you have to go without any income after you quit. Before you officially leave, begin building a side gig that can provide you with a little bit of extra cash each month. That way, when you finally do quit, you’ll know that you can keep yourself afloat with your side hustle until you can find your next source of employment.

5. Tackle Your Outstanding Debt

Unfortunately, if you’re waist-deep in personal debt, quitting right now might not be in the cards for you. People usually acquire more debt, not less, when they’re unemployed. Get your current debt to a manageable place before quitting. If that means suffering through another few months with your current workplace, so be it. You certainly don’t want to jump ship if it’ll cost you your financial security, unless the situation is dire.

The Bottom Line

Even if there’s a part of you that wants to make a scene and quit your job today, think ahead. How will the decision impact your financial future? What can do you do before leaving to soften the blow to your bank account and mental health? These tips will help you establish a bit of a safety net before you enter the unknown world of unemployment.

Don’t Believe Everything the Papers Say About Millennial Finances

If we all listened to the spew of anti-millennial stories being published by the media, we’d all assume that people in their twenties and thirties spend their lives wallowing on couches and living in their parents’ basement. After all, student debt is at an all-time high, so how could millenials afford to be successful?

I might be sharing an unpopular opinion here, but I’m going to climb out on a limb to say that millennials are more successful than most magazines and newspapers would want you to believe. Here’s why.

Many Millennials Are Long-Term Planners

Young people might be buying houses later than their parents did, but that doesn’t mean they’re shirking their goal planning. Nearly 31 percent of millennials say they have set financial goals and a written plan, according to Modern Wealth Index. In contrast, only 22 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Generation X can say the same.

Millennials Are Spending Less on Entertainment and Brand-Name Goods

Whether it’s because entertainment is more readily available in today’s modern times or it’s a real lifestyle choice, millennials are spending two thirds less on entertainment than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. Additionally, millennials aren’t too stuffy to purchase non-brand-name goods. Roughly 60 percent prefer to purchase generic brands in an effort to save money.

Saving for Retirement Isn’t a Problem

You might be surprised to hear that 71 percent of millennial workers are saving for retirement, and the median start age is 24. That’s much earlier than Generation X’s median starting age (30). Additionally, about 39 percent of millennials are defined as super savers, meaning they save 10 percent of their salary.

Millennials Aren’t Afraid of Leadership Roles

In the last several years, 87 percent of millennial workers took on management roles. Compare that to the 38 percent of Gen X and 19 percent of Baby Boomers that did the same. Even more impressive is the fact that over half of millennials either want to start a business or already have started one.

They Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Higher Salaries

Nearly a third of millennials say they will be chasing higher salaries with a different employer five years from now. Some people say this is because millennials hop from job to job too often, but that’s not really true. Research has found that many Generation X workers stay at their jobs for an even shorter amount of time than millennials, and both age groups are willing to seek higher salaries after five years.

Millennials Track Their Expenses Like Nobody’s Business

According to a survey of over 1,500 millennials a couple of years ago, roughly 75 percent track their expenses on a regular basis. Another 67 percent stick to a budget, so don’t take any news stories about how reckless millennials are when it comes to spending at face value. Of course not everyone is so diligent, but a large percentage of people born in the ‘80s and ‘90s are actually on top of their spending habits.

My Hot Take

Sure, I know that financial literacy is down in many millennials and that millions of people are swimming in debt. I also know that I excluded many negatives, like the fact that most millennials can’t come up with the money for an unexpected expense over $400.

I’m just tired of hearing everyone say that millennials across the board have no sense of financial planning or success. From now on, take those anti-millennial articles with a grain of salt. Instead, talk to the 20 and 30-year-olds around you to see how they’re doing financially and what we, as a society, can do to improve their standing.