Life in your 20s is very different from life in your 50s. You aren't in the same place each decade of your life and your financial needs change. There are constant good decisions like don't spend more than you can afford, save up for a bad day, and so on but what about the advice that changes? Here are some of the best pieces of advice for each decade of your life.
Welcome To the World of Finance
Get yourself a piggy bank to start and make sure you're saving up! Collect your allowance and gifts in there. Once you're a little older get yourself your first job. If you have the ability to have your own spending money that's great but don't spend it all. You'll start college and want to have some of your own money that won't go just towards groceries. If you start saving when you're young you won't regret it.
Learn How To Budget
Learn the difference between your wants and your needs with a good budget. Find your daily and monthly expenses to see how much room you have to work with. The easiest way to do that is to download a budget app that will keep track of everything you spend, even the things you forgot about. Find out where your money is going, and see if it's being allocated properly. You might think that you have some spare cash and can buy yourself something nice, but are you saving anything for the future?
Make a Debt Plan
Student debt is a crushing reality for most young people, do you have a plan to pay it back?
You can't let it linger or grow to ruin your financial future. Work the payments into your budget and find some strategies that will help lift the burden. Check out these strategies for repaying student loans and try your hardest to keep up with the payments. Automatic payments can work wonders for taking some pressure off on remembering the bills.
Build Up Credit
Get a credit card, get a credit score, and pay back everything you buy on time. It's as simple as that if you want to have a stable financial future. Don't buy something you can't afford, and if you need to make sure you are paying it off responsibly each month. Your credit score will control your future with loans, banks, landlords, and more. Whatever you do, don't forget to pay the bills and have it destroy your credit score before you even start. Once again, automatic payments are the way to go.
Rethink The Budget
Your life is different than your 20s. You have more belongings, you might be making more money, and it's time to rebudget. Increase the money going towards your emergency fund savings. Adjust your insurance to make sure you have adequate coverage and are getting the best deal. Make sure you're staying on top of your debt repayment plan. You have kids, or are they on the horizon? Make sure there's room for them in the budget, and not just the immediate needs but their future college funds.
Start Saving For Your 401(k)
Nearly half of families don't have any retirement savings. Hopefully you've started saving in your 401(k) by matching your employer's percentage, but it's time to bump that up. Experts recommend saving 15% or more of your income for retirement. If you contribute now every dollar you withdraw in retirement will be taxed at your ordinary income- tax rate, aka its some tax-free income in retirement.
Once you have your budget covering immediate needs and a percentage saved for emergencies you can invest for the future. Do your research and find the best options for you, your investment portfolio, and your family. Don't stretch yourself too thin and make sure you aren't taking risks that you can't recover from. Here are some great tips, and potential investments.
Keep Up The Good Work
Make sure you're adjusting your budget for your needs without indulging in lifestyle inflation. Paying your bills on time is just as important as it was in your 20s and 30s to make sure you still have a great credit score. If you've been saving up for your kids college funds and weddings remember to not stretch yourself over to the retirement funds.
Get Estate Planning Help
It's time to set up your will. Sure you may feel young and healthy now, but you want to be ready for whatever might be coming your way. Think about your retirement goals, the future allocation of your assets, and your power of attorney and health care proxy. Organize the chaos before it becomes any sort of problem.
Consider the Kids
You want to make sure everyone has a financial future, and if you are making sacrifices for them that you can't get out of nobody benefits. You can't borrow the money back for retirement or medical needs once its gone. If everyone is moved out, consider downsizing to a smaller place. The upkeep will be cheaper and you can look at places in a lower tax bracket. If your situation has changed, consider taking another look at your will.
Keep an Eye on the Finish Line
Retirement might feel like it's close enough to touch or miles away depending on your financial situation. Hopefully you've been saving and can just keep investing in your 401(k). The government wants to help you save for retirement and once you're 50 you can save more tax-free in IRAs, Roth IRAs, and health savings accounts.
Reevaluate Your Situation
Return to the diversification of your portfolio and adjust your assets. When you near retirement it's a good idea to make more conservative investments while staying aware of inflation. If you've been saving, investing, and budgeting then you should be in a good place. Obviously accidents and illnesses happen and that can throw everything into chaos, but if it takes you a little longer to get to retirement don't judge yourself. Everyone gets there in their own time.
No matter what decade you're in there is a lot to learn about how you can make your financial situation better. It never hurts to think ahead and compile a long term plan. Take your time, do your research, and when you can try to consult an expert to ensure your future success.
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.