A Beginner’s Guide To Personal Finance

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Ever heard the saying “save for a rainy day”? Simply put, do you have money set aside in case you ever need it? Saving can be difficult, depending on the individual, but it is possible. So what kind of things should you consider trying to save for? Let’s find out. 

Personal Circumstances

Financially, we’re not all in the same boat. Plus, our age can actually dictate more about how we handle our personal finances than you think. 

Under 25s

For young adults, student debts are usually the main thing they have to worry about. 

Generation y

If you’re between 25 and 34, perhaps you want to save up for your first car or apartment. 

Gen x

Generally speaking, people aged between 35 and 50 need to pay for marriages, babies and mortgages.

Baby Boomers and Seniors

Older people tend to put money away for retirement and vacations.

Focus

The next step is to decide what your actual focus is. Do you really need those expensive shoes right now, or is putting that money aside for a new car more important? 

Student Debt

This affects many of us at some point in our lives but doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, depending on the country, student loan repayments are sometimes referred to as an ‘invisible debt’

In England and Australia, student debt doesn’t affect your credit rating, and you aren’t expected to make repayments should you leave the country. In Canada and the US, however, it can affect your credit score, and you are expected to pay it back, even if you go to a different country.

First Home

House prices are going up around the world, so it’s no wonder many people rent properties well into middle-age. However, this shouldn’t deter you from making the purchase of your first home a priority; there are building companies out there who offer very good incentives to first-time buyers.

Vacations

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to travel the world or backpack across Europe. Luckily, it’s now even easier to live your travel dream thanks to cheap flights and companies who specialize in working holidays.

Planning

The biggest hurdle to anyone regarding personal finance is saving. If we’re in employment, it’s easy to think “I’ll just pay for that next month”, but whether you work part-time or earn big bucks, there’s an equal chance you’ll end up living paycheck-to-paycheck. 

The Golden Rule

It’s incredibly easy to splash out on a pizza or have a few extra drinks out with your friends before paying any bills, so make sure you pay what you need to first (eg. utility bills).

Set up a Savings Scheme

Think about setting up an automatic funds transfer between your main bank account and an Individual Savings Account (ISA) / Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) because, as the name suggests, these are accounts that are not affected by tax. In other words, every penny you save, you keep.

Say Goodbye to Credit Cards!

Sure, they make life easier in the short term, but most credit cards carry hefty interest rates. Miss a repayment and you’ll probably end up having to pay back substantially more. It’s common practice in the UK, for example, to pay a card off with another credit card that has a limited time 0% fee, but the best option is not to use any cards at all.

Expect The Unexpected

“Plan for the best but expect the worst” is a gold standard when it comes to personal finance. It’s one thing to make sure you have enough money set aside for a vacation, but what if something else happens? Prevention is better than cure, so as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to try and protect yourself financially as much as possible. 

Risks

Life is full of risks, but if we’re talking about finance, these can fall into two different categories: health and assets. 

Risks to your health can include sudden illness, personal injury, and unexpected death. Asset risks include things like paying for vehicle repairs, falling behind on mortgage payments, and travel insurance.

Covering All Bases

However, no matter how much we plan, no one can see what the future has in store. Take personal injury, for example. As diamondlawbc.ca notes, “When traveling to work, appointments or just running an errand to the post office, you aren’t expecting to get into a car accident.” 

The same is true for something like walking through reception at work – you may slip and fall on a wet floor – or taking a walk in your neighborhood – you could be attacked by an animal. If you find yourself in a situation like these, it is simply a case of finding the right firm for your needs.

Conclusion

The key to handling personal finance is to set yourself rules. These can take the form of what’s mentioned above (save regularly, prepare for the worst) or a more common-sense approach, such as ‘live within your means’. We all have the ability to control our finances, but sometimes knowing what to do if we can’t control them is the real key to success.

Also Read:   The Truth About Debt Settlement Companies

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