Have a set time to review your finances yourself and with your spouse. You need to review and reevaluate whether what you’re doing is working. You need to make changes as your life changes. I like to review my money weekly so there’s less to go over at each meeting, but you can decide what works for you – monthly or quarterly may fit with your life better depending on where you are financially. The point is to not set it and forget it. Your finances need to be reviewed periodically.
One of the best personal finance tips I know of is to get out of debt. I’ve now paid off $100k (and counting) of student loan debt. There’s no other way to guarantee a rate of return back to you than by paying off your debt. Whatever your interest rate is, is the return to yourself when your debt is paid off. As Dave Ramsey says, get mad at your debt. Pay it off asap. Next steps:
Find a way to do your own retirement projections. There are online calculators you can use (here’s one from Schwab), or you can go to a financial planner for this. A retirement projection will account for your age, your rate of saving for retirement, your current investments, and what your expected expenses in retirement are. It will help you understand whether you’re on track to be financially ready for retirement and at what age.
Until you’ve maxed out your retirement accounts (e.g.: 401k, 457, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, etc.) hold off on investing in a personal investment account. Prioritize saving for retirement first. Then, once you’ve maxed out your annual contributions to these accounts, invest on your own.
When you have the money, consider hiring a financial advisor to manage your investments. This can be an excellent way to help you prepare for your financial future and achieve your goals. Just make sure you hire the right type of financial advisor for you. Having a professional manage your investments can help you big time in the long run.
Learn how to say “no” and be totally okay with it. This will give you more time and more money for the things most important to you. If you don’t decide to do this, you’ll be spending money and time doing things you don’t want to do at all. Next step:
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Doing this is going to leave you feeling bad. Instead, practice comparing yourself to where you were in the past, so you can see your progress into the future. You’ll save money by focusing on yourself and not your friends.
If you have kids, it’s important to teach them about money. Personal finance isn’t taught in school usually, so you are their only resource for learning about money.
Whether you have joint or separate accounts does not change the fact that if you are sharing money with someone you should have complete transparency about your finances. Honesty is key to building a life together and finances are not an exception.
If you share a home with your partner (boyfriend, spouse, etc.), it’s really important you talk about money together. Being in a relationship with shared money means that you need to talk about money and make financial decisions together. Next step: