With the start of the new year quickly approaching, it is time to start thinking about your financial new year’s resolution.
While many of us are mostly concerned with getting in shape when the new year rolls around, we also need to make sure the fitness of our finances are also in perfect shape. Despite your situation, paying close attention to your money is always the best thing to do. The effects can help you now, but can also positively impact your future.
While reading online posts to gain additional insight on personal finance, I came across a Kiplinger.com article which listed three ways to Love your money and have it love you back. Get out your pen and paper and jot down these tips:
Don’t squander its potential. Peter Pumpkin Eater kept his wife in a pumpkin shell. But your money deserves much better. This means putting your cash some place it can earn more money for you. Don’t demean it by locking it up in a pitiful savings account. On average, traditional bank savings accounts pay 0.4% on deposits, according to Bankrate.com.
Instead, for your short-term savings, consider a high-yield online savings account or money-market mutual fund. Currently, you can find these paying in the 3% or 4% range.
CDs also make fine choices, but they require commitment. So-called certificates of deposit tie up your money for a fixed amount of time, from a few months to a few years. You pick your time frame and lock in a rate for the period. For example, on average, one-year CDs currently yield 3.66%, according to Bankrate.com.
No-interest checking is so old fashioned. Instead, give your money more opportunity to shine with an interest-bearing online checking account through such reputable companies as Everbank, Charles Schwab, E*Trade and ING Direct. They currently pay between 2.25% and 3.25%.
Show your sensitive side. Abusing your money, spending unwisely and being oblivious to your bad habits are surefire ways to doom your financial relationship.
But too often we’re careless and insensitive in less obvious ways. Little things matter, and you want to do everything you can to make sure your money saves its love only for you — and doesn’t spread it around to others like Uncle Sam, your bank or credit-card company. Here are a few ways to make sure you keep more of your money:
- Don’t overpay Uncle Sam when it comes to taxes.
- Pay off your credit card balances in full each month so you don’t waste big bucks on high interest charges.
- Re-shop your car insurance.
- Get a rewards credit card that gives you free cash, travel or merchandise.
- Take advantage of lender incentives to lower your student loan rates.
- Know how to use your credit wisely, to avoid sabotaging your credit score.
Plan for a future together. No doubt you dream about your future, and no doubt that future involves growing old together with your money. That means you need to invest for the long haul.
When you’re in your twenties and thirties, the place to show your money a good time is in the stock market. And the best way for beginners to jump in is through mutual funds that invest in several different stocks. On average, since 1926, stocks have returned 10% annually (7% after inflation), according to Ibbotson Associates. That’s tough to beat elsewhere.
Sure, you’ll have your ups and downs. But just as any relationship grows by small acts of love, so will your money grow. Contributing little amounts of money steadily over a long period of time can add up to big bucks. For example, if a 20-year-old saved just $100 a month in a fund earning 10% annually, he’d have nearly $1 million by the time he turned 65. And if he increased his contributions as his paychecks increased, his money could grow to $1.5 million or $2 million.
It is so easy to read and get inspired to change the way you think about your money, but putting it to action is the key. I implore each of you reading this to take the next two months to plan and put in place a plan to love your money.