What Is Personal Finance?
Personal finance involves your money in all of its forms– the money you owe, the money you earn, the money you spend, and the money you hope to have someday. Your security and comfort now and in the future depend on your personal finance decisions.
Personal finance tips help you with these important tasks:
Budgeting so you have money to spend on what’s most important to you
Protecting your credit rating so you can borrow for less
Managing debt and borrowing carefully
Saving and investing for goals like vacations, a home, college and retirement
Protecting what you own with insurance
It’s very difficult to create financial wellbeing without a plan. The personal finance tips on this page will help you develop and execute your own plan and enjoy financial health and success.
If you think that budgeting will suck the joy out of your life, you’re wrong. Budgeting helps you have more money for what’s really important to you by showing you where you can cut back – the things that are less important to you.
So budgeting is really about setting priorities and being mindful when you open your wallet. If you love to travel, for instance, you might choose to live in a smaller place, drive a cheaper car, or own a more basic wardrobe because those things matter less to you. People get into trouble when they spend more than they earn because they’re not paying attention.
Your credit rating impacts your life in many ways, from your ability to buy a house to what you pay for insurance, and even your employment in some industries. So it’s smart to establish a solid credit history, earn a good credit score, and protect it as best you can.
It’s important to note that even if your credit score is low today, you can start improving it right away. Credit reporting agencies give recent activity much more weight than older history when calculating your credit scores. And some strategies can raise credit scores very quickly.
While living debt-free is an admirable goal, most of us have to borrow for things we need – like houses, automobiles, college, businesses, emergencies, and investments. Smart borrowing means finding cheaper loans, borrowing only what you can afford to repay, and not carrying debt for unnecessary items.
You can pay much less for auto loans, mortgages, personal loans and credit cards by maintaining a high credit score, shopping for the best lenders and paying off your balances as quickly as you can.
Saving and Investing
It’s important to establish several different types of savings. Your first goal is to save an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses or an interruption in your income. Depending on your job, experts recommend putting aside enough to cover two-to-six months of living expenses. This money should be kept in an accessible account and in low- to no-risk investments like insured savings accounts.
In addition, you’ll save for mid-range goals like the down payment on a home, college tuition, and perhaps a bucket-list trip. It’s okay to tie up those funds for longer periods and to take a bit more risk to increase your returns. And finally, you should start savings for retirement as early as you can. Compounding the interest on your investments over decades dramatically increases what you’ll have when you retire. Your portfolio will likely change as you progress in your career and as you approach retirement, and you’ll probably seek guidance from a financial advisor.