This year just started off and half of January is almost over now. Days are moving fast so you better focus on things you want to get accomplished.
Do a quick check on your goals or Resolutions for this year. Did you ever get started with any of them? If you did, how far along are you? Do you think you are moving along as planned or just dragging yourself, waiting to quit? If you never got started, you still got till 31st to do something about it so you can atleast brag that you started something new this year. If you are chucking along, good job and keep it going!!
Moving on, Money smartness is not only about making and saving money right. It is also about doing things which could help to manage and preserve the wealth you earned. It is about getting ready for emergency situations and planning for proper wealth distribution when you are gone. In this post, I like to share and remind few Don’t and Do’s which most of us take it for granted in our everyday busy life. We don’t consider them serious enough until it hits us hard. I want to do Don’ts first because they are need more attention compared to Do’s.
Don’t lose your 401 (K) contributions
I called my friend who lives in East coast to wish him Happy newyear. During our conversation he was mentioning about his 401k from his previous employer. It has been almost 2 years, he still not moved his funds over to new account. He don’t know where to start because his previous company had gone through few mergers after he quit and don’t know how much the account worth now and where exactly the funds are held.
I strongly urged him to get on it, start working first thing otherwise he might lose his hard earned money. Many of us fail to roll over my 401 (K) when change jobs. We forget about it, while we struggle to find a new job. With some many job losses last year, I am sure money of you aren’t thinking about 401K accounts yet. If you get a chance, do take time and start working on rolling over to Roth IRA account or mutual fund.
Don’t be a Identify Theft/Scam/fraud Victim
Identity theft, Ponzi schemes and scams are the talks all over the internet last year. Many millions of people get affected by identify theft every year especially via phishing over Internet. Whether you use online banking to check your account or make your credit cart payment, be careful in protecting your identity by protecting your computer from getting hijacked by the hackers. There is more to avoiding a identify theft than just virus protecting your computer and will talk more about it in my later posts.
Avoid Impulse buying
Beware of persuasive or forceful sales pitches. If it seems too good to be true, it might very well be, so avoid taking action at the spur of the moment. Try to be wise by not paying more for what it’s worth and always do comparison shopping. There is a reason why Milk cans are stored way back in any grocery store! Try to always compare different offers whether you are on the street shopping for car or expensive items.
Pay yourself first
That’s the mantra of many Money Guru these days. First take out some money from your pay check for yourself and put it away in a saving account before it disappears. Start small and stretch it out slowly. With automatic saving with online banking, you can do it easily in minutes. By saving periodically, you are also taking advantage of time to work for you. Magic of compounding is the be8th wonder invented by Einstein.. I like to say, Saving is an habit not an hobby, so start a habit this year. Once you get started with saving, you can expand to invest the savings for future purpose like kids education or retirement.
Plan to be Debt free
Are you debt free? I would be surprised if you were. Everybody has debt in some sort or other whether it is home mortgage or just credit card debt. But you can plan to be debt free and try to get out deep debts avoid paying high interest rates charges. Don’t let your revolving debt to shift as long time debt. That will reckon your financial wealth. If you are in deep credit card debt, try to contact national credit counseling agency and work out a plan to get out of debt and shift to revolving debt situation.
Prepare a WILL
Last but not the least item in the list, Estate planning. Do not think estate planning is only for wealthy individuals. Estate planning is all about preparing for unexpected. It is just about preparing Will/Testament or Trust for the benefit of your dependents.These paper works are very important especially if you are married and have kids. You can make a will in just few minutes using Willmaker by Quicken and execute according to your state law. It is a cost efficient solution compared to Trust but not cost saving solution if you have big estate. Consult your CFP for more details.
I hope these Do’s and Don’ts help you to start thinking about few things which are important always not just in a new year. I am planning to touch upon these topic in more elaborate manner in my future posts. Please check back periodically.