Financially freaking out in your 40s??
Here are 15 money tips especially for you …
Right. You are 40, nearly 40 or (noooo!!) over 40. Suddenly you realize that yes, you might be a grown up.
Proper job? – check. Spouse/partner? – check. Kids? – check. House and mortgage? – check.
If you have checked even a couple of these it might just possibly be time to think about …. your financial goals like retirement, college for your little darlings or just simply providing yourself with some security for the future.
So. As promised. 15 insanely smart money tips that will help you on the way …
Budgets rule! No really they do.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Same with your budget. Make some small adjustments to your budget. Have two coffees out a week instead of three. Go out for dinner twice a month instead of three times. You won’t feel like you are sacrificing anything. Expect to save some serious cash. Check these apps out.
Mint (free – 4 stars) is the granddaddy of personal finance apps. Owner Intuit has recently upgraded the application making it even easier to use. Just connect up your accounts and get personalized money tips on where to save. Financial goal setting, budgeting and bill paying also included.
Another great option to use alongside Mint is HomeBudget with Sync ($4.99 – 4.5 stars). Great design and flow make this app intuitive and easy to set up. It’s big claim to fame is that it syncs your budget in the cloud to all your family members phones so everyone is on the same page.
With these apps, you manage your money from home, your computer or your phone, it’s easy, it’s free and it’s safe, create your budget now … go on …. I know you want to.
Try and forget about that money you are saving (like the $20 you find in your jeans pocket). Act like you never got paid it in the first place. What money? Oh yes the money that accumulates while you are not watching. That money! And look how cool this is … the sneaky, on the sly money saving technique to achieve your financial goals that you don’t even notice, perfect.
A separate savings account with an automatic payment is a good way to do this.
An app called SavedPlus (free – 4 stars) lets spending drive your savings. You choose the percentage. Looking to save 10%? Saved plus will put $10 aside if, for example, you buy a $100 of groceries.
Have automatic safeguards.
Automation saves time. It also means that there is a risk that errors can slip through. BillGuard (Free – 4.5 stars) tracks all purchases and alerts you to hidden or fraudulent fees. Users can report and dispute a fraudulent charge by contacting the merchant from inside the app. It flags suspicious purchases and send a push notification when it does.
Hustle your way into a side hustle.
It’s not just for the young folk! From renting out your home to running errands and mystery shopping, there is so much out there available. Then get paid within 48 hours by Paypal. Got spare time? Why wouldn’t you? And who knows, you might just find the ultimate job/career/interest while making a bit of cash to pay for that new little something.
Here are some of completely brilliant apps you can use to help you to make a bit of extra cash, I don’t know about you but I am excited!
Invest in the stock market.
Get educated and get going. You can start small adding a fixed amount to the market regularly, called dollar cost averaging. Or take a more aggressive lump sum approach. You do need to manage your emotions during the ups and downs of the market. Talking to a financial advisor about the trade offs can pay for itself.
There are plenty of investment apps out there but we can’t recommend them. They increase the temptation to trade more frequently and more emotionally. The result from this is higher costs and lower returns.
Patient investors are rewarded over time.
We do recommend assessing your risk tolerance as the first step in developing your investment strategy.
Credit cards are not evil if you use them for good.
Let’s face it, generally credit cards = trouble. But not if you manage them and not let them manage you. Pay them off regularly and you could score big. Sign up for the rewards program, build up enough and book a holiday with the flights already paid for, for free …. compliments of your credit card company.
Want to get the most bang for your buck. Check out The Points Guy.
The people you pay money to don’t want to lose you as a customer, work that angle.
Have a close look at your bills, change it up, challenge them, look for the best deals and you will be surprised the savings you can make. Remember, most of these bills are monthly and even small amounts add up big annually. Often deals are not advertised and you only hear about them if you ask for them. Remember that old saying, ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get …’ They want to retain you as a customer in super competitive markets, give them a squeeze.
Some quick quotes for you.
If you can, you will quickly find that the greatest rate of return you will earn is on your own personal spending. Being a smart shopper is the first step to getting rich.
A penny saved is two pennies earned.
Technology can help.
Looking to change up your cell phone package? Want to buy a new TV? iPad? Couch? Make sure you get the best deals. Redlaser (free – 4.5 stars) lets you can scan barcodes to get the best deal while in store or do research from home on your computer. Get into it. Have fun. Why on earth would you pay more than you need to?
Prioritize. So obvious but …
Assess your debts, figure out what is costing you the most and pay that one off first. Obvious but true. A small time investment may save you thousands in the long term. Remember the power of compounding interest.
Check out Carl Richards for more cool sketches like this and advice to help you make better financial decisions.
Do the free stuff, your kids will love you for it, and so will your bank balance.
We all know that our kids love to get new books, don’t we all, but once read they are tossed aside. Use the library, its free and the kids get new books weekly. Do free stuff, go to the park, the museum, the free festivals! Have fun for free.
Honestly, get a will.
You have kids, you have heard the stories, get a will, then you can guarantee that your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of disaster. Check out Rocket Lawyer. You get 7 days free legal advice. Plenty of time to get all your information together and put together a comprehensive, checked over by lawyers, will for free!
Talk money. Really.
Pillow talk about cash? I know, not so romantic, but it’s important that both partners have the same information and are on the same track. One person looking after all of the transactions and the other oblivious is never a great plan, talk about it, regularly.
See Tip 1 and the Home Budget app to help you both stay on the same page.
Plan for the big, unexpected events. You know they will happen.
We have all been there, the car needs new tires, urgent dental care, furnace goes out (in the winter!). Sometimes you can cruise along as long as nothing untoward happens, and then it does, and you wonder what to do. Get a fund and save for these emergencies … set a short and long term goal and go for it.
Get the Health Insurance that meets your needs and your budget.
Health insurance is important right? Hell yeah. But spend some time to look carefully at the options available to you, choose what is right for you, your family and your circumstances. Its only once a year and can save you big over time. If you can save on premiums by having a higher deductible why wouldn’t you? Just make sure that you sign up for a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), Health Reimbursement Account (HRAs) or Health Savings Account (HSA) so your out of pocket healthcare costs are covered with pretax money.
Buy or rent, but do the math…
We all want to own our own house, but it is not always the best way to achieve your financial goals. Sometimes renting makes more sense so crunch the numbers. Make sure you do what is best for you, not what you think might be good for you.
Here are 7 questions you should ask yourself before you make rent or buy decision.
Make sure you have money for fun.
I know but seriously, budgeting can be fun, give you and your partner some ‘play’ money, something to look forward to because we all need that right? Allow yourself the pleasure of some retail therapy, even if only a little bit.
Need an app for this … No? Didn’t think so, just don’t go and blow those well earned savings!