Posts Tagged ‘personal finance’
Managing your money effectively provides incredible rewards in your life, including more free time to pursue your interests, better means to help your loved ones, travel etc. Yet I am constantly surprised at how many people have not been taught the rudiments of finance, the personal finance basics that if followed undoubtedly lead to increase and wealth. Let’s cover some of these personal finance basics that will serve you well as you begin your life of healthy financial management.
The first rule of personal finance and most basic precept that must be absorbed for successful money management is to believe that managing your money is important and deserves focus and energy. You are capable of managing your own money, and making sound financial decisions with your own given common sense. Finance and money management is not magic, it is not so complicated as necessitating a high paid expert to tell you how to spend your money.
Develop your own common sense money instincts and then follow them over the advice of any others, ultimately you are responsible for your personal finances.
The next personal finance rule is to focus on spending less than you make and earning more than you do today. Personal finance basics are all about discipline, and setting yourself on a long term track for growth with sound financial habits. Set yourself up for success with a constant focus on reducing your monthly spending and increasing how much you make. This should be a constant, lifelong, focus and worth of your effort. Learn the use of budgeting and projecting as tools to help you understand your financial present, past, and future.
The next basic rule of personal finances that will lead to your success is to make understanding how money works important in your life.
Dedicate a little time in your life to understand the various financial instruments, investment tools, and successful business practices that exist today. In creating wealth you will have extra savings in need of investment and you should know what the options are available to you. Mastery of personal finance basics will lead you to more advanced financing techniques, constantly expand your capabilities.
Finally, it is essential to give back, and learn the power of giving. A tried and tested staple of personal finance is the incredible rewards of giving. Create excess in your life and then freely help those in your life you can, when you can, with money, charitable donations or other tools. Why it works, this article on the basics of personal finances is too short to cover, but giving 10% of what you make each month will bring back much more.
In summary, master the personal finance basics, your life depends on it.
Organizing your personal finance is a more involved task than collecting your monthly salaries and then spending on essentials (and non-essentials!) with or without a budget or a plan.
Organizing your finance properly is concerned with three things – caring for the present, settling the past burdens and planning for the future; you need discipline, time to be allocated for organizing this work and a reasonable amount of record keeping, paper work (or computer work) and systematic updating for this purpose.
Your existing financial resources and the incoming financial revenues (earnings) have to be properly disbursed in three channels – one, to run your family on a daily basis to cover basic needs of food clothing and shelter; two, to service your past debts and three, to invest and save for the future.
To meet the inevitable spending on food, clothing and shelter and also to a fair extent on additional comforts and luxuries (travel, holidaying, entertainment etc) you must have sufficient income and ideally that income should be more than the expenditure. For organizing your finance on this “present” aspect, you need to keep income and expenditure accounts, draw up budgets for spending and also have the physical and mental discipline to limit your spending within the budget.
Tracking your current financial activities
Keeping an account notebook (either as a physical notebook where your write down or in your PC in the form of a spread sheet) is a must for this purpose. Your account book should have, other than cash in-hand and cash expense entries, a separate section for recording all your bank transactions. While it is fine that technology has made many things simple (mobile banking, tracking bank account through Internet etc) there is nothing like a written record to make sure that you don’t forget any information on checks issued by you or checks received and deposited in bank. Periodically, your account note book must be tallied with your bank statements.
Tracking your debts
It is important that you have clear written records of your debts, deferred payment advice to credit card firms, monthly installment payments due to you on your hire purchase, home mortgage/ loans etc. It is essential that when you draw up your monthly budget, you make provision for repaying your debts promptly on date so that you are not charged with any penalty nor burdened with excessive debts that can grow unmanageable.
Securing your future
“Let your first expenditure be a saving” so say the wise men. The most important part of organizing your finance is to organize your savings, periodic and one- time investments, purchase and sale of Mutual funds/ shares, investments aimed at tax saving, Insurance plans etc.
Certain websites can be extremely useful in organizing your personal investments and tracking the Return on Investment, current asset values, the extent of capital growth on the investments etc. One such very useful website is “moneycontol.com”.
People who are basically lethargic and undisciplined may think that such systematic record keeping and tracking is boring and can potentially rob one of the joy of carefree earning and spending. But if one wants peace of mind and a sense of security on financial standing, properly organizing one’s finance and monitoring them through systematic record-keeping is of paramount importance.
Can you use some extra help with your personal finances? Or do you need advice on how to bulk up your emergency fund? Two of today’s hottest topics on websites and blogs are personal finance and frugality. My regular web surfing takes me to the same three sites all the time, so I thought about what it is about these sites that engages me.
Coming in at Number Three is a personal finance blog called Savvyfrugality (http://www.savvyfrugality.com). It’s written by a man named Terry (no last name given) who lives in Oklahoma City. As the name suggests, Terry writes about frugality but he also interjects some personal anecdotes about his wife and kids and how they affect his efforts to live within his frugal lifestyle. Terry states in his About Me section that his “journey to frugality is one that has taken several years and many financial mistakes which cost me a lot of money over the years. Those mistakes affected my credit, my family and my sanity. I spent years living beyond my means and letting medical bills destroy my good financial name. Savvyfrugality is a good place to find advice about how to find a cheap dentist, which U.S. cities have the lowest cost of living and where to find cheap travel deals. The blog is maintained by Blogger and the layout is simple and easy to read.
My Number Two personal finance / frugal website is The Dollar Stretcher (www.stretcher.com). I have been visiting this site for years and it changes the front page stories each week and archives all of the old articles. The site started back in 1996, so you can imagine the amount of articles you can reference. The Dollar Stretcher consists of articles on hundreds of topics which apply to personal finance, debt reduction and frugality.
A unique feature of Stretcher is that all of the content is submitted by the readers. Gary Foreman, a financial planner, the webmaster and editor of the site, states that over 200,000 readers receive Dollar Stretcher’s weekly newsletters and another 40,000 people visit the website each week. I mainly use Dollar Stretcher to find new tips on how to reduce my grocery bill, find out about the latest mortgage news and to spark my brain with all around money-saving ideas.
My favorite and Number One personal finance website is the blog titled The Simple Dollar (www.thesimpledollar.com). Brent Hamm started the site in 2006. In his about me page, he says his goal was to help “those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two.” Brent still works at a full time job but writing about personal finance is his true passion. He funds the site with advertisements, affiliate links and Paypal donations. In fact, he plans on eventually quitting his regular job and blogging full time.
Brent communicates to his readers timeless money lessons such as how much to save when you get your first job (he recommends saving 50%), ways to translate your passion into additional income and how to stop living paycheck to paycheck. He is diverse in his topics but always sticks to the theme of frugality, personal finance and career. I especially enjoy the book reviews by Brent because they are in depth and honest. I won’t read a finance or personal development book without a positive endorsement from The Simple Dollar.
I would like to research some more finance websites, but most of my surfing time is taken up with these Top 3. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.