What you do with your money can greatly impact your financial situation throughout your entire life. Making the wrong moves can leave you feeling stuck and cause unnecessary financial burdens. But when you make these smart money moves, you can change your financial situation and make your life that much easier.
Even if you think you are not in a position to do much now, just knowing about some smart moves will have you ready to move ahead when the time is right.
Invest in stocks and real estate
Making investments now could provide big returns in the future. This can help your retirement savings last longer, help you supplement Social Security benefits, and help combat the effects of inflation.
But investing in stocks and real estate requires knowledge and a strategy. If you rush into investing without an understanding or a plan, you could end up losing money instead. You can start by reading, listening, and learning about investing while putting aside some money to get started with.
Make your savings automatic
Making your savings automatic will ensure your savings account grows as it should. Many banks allow you to save a portion of your paycheck when it’s deposited. Your employer might offer this as well via a direct deposit form.
Having a portion of your income automatically allocated to savings will eliminate the need for you to manually transfer or deposit your money. If you find it difficult to save money, this is a great option that won’t feel like a sacrifice.
Strategize for taxes
No one wants to pay more in taxes than necessary, but if you don’t fully understand how tax laws apply to your situation, you could wind up doing just that.
Learn which tax bracket you are in, and how your income, expenses, retirement savings, and investing activities can affect your taxes. And if you are self-employed, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of qualifying business expenses.
Working with an experienced CPA can help you write off expenses that lower your tax bill while still reducing your risk of an audit.
Monitor your credit score
Your credit score is a major component of your financial health. It’s a good idea to know your credit score before applying for any loans or credit cards. This will help ensure you get a fair rate and help determine if you should find ways to pay down debt before taking on more.
Regularly checking in on your credit score will also help you catch mistakes. If a debt is reported in error, it’s important to dispute it immediately. Collection accounts and missed payments could result in your paying higher interest rates or even having trouble getting credit.
Consult a financial advisor
A professional can help you make the most of your money and strategize to help you create and execute a financial plan.
Working with a financial advisor or stockbroker can also help you make smarter investments. Consulting these professionals is especially helpful if you aren’t sure which investments best align with your goals.
Compare lenders and rates
It’s not a good idea to accept the first loan offer you receive. Take the time to compare lenders and interest rates before choosing one. You might find you’ll save a lot of money by doing so.
Big loans like mortgages aren’t the only types you should compare lenders for. Even comparing credit cards can pay off in the end. Don’t forget to read through every credit card’s terms and conditions when comparing.
Cancel unused services
Paying for unused services can be a waste of money. People often pay for these services as part of a bundle. It can make for a great deal as long as you use every included item.
But if you’re paying for data or a landline you don’t use, take the time to see how much you’d save by unbundling.
Other common unused services include streaming subscriptions and gym memberships. Though these amounts can sometimes feel small on their own, they add up quickly.
Build new revenue streams
You can only do so much with the income you have. Building new revenue streams will give you more money for saving and investing. If you have the time, you could opt for a second job or start a side hustle.
Time is in short supply for many, which is one reason passive income streams have gained such popularity. Some common passive income streams include affiliate marketing, writing ebooks, and renting out properties.
But do your homework before you get involved; some “passive” income streams do not come without a significant time commitment.
Seek out a higher salary
You might find you can make more money without doing any extra work. With many employers struggling to fill jobs, now is a great time to ask your boss for a raise. If you have an upcoming performance review, you might also negotiate a higher raise than you typically would.
Of course, it’s possible your boss won’t approve a raise. But in today’s tight job market, some employees have chosen to switch companies. This often results in higher pay as employers want to fill positions.
Consider your cost of living
Cost of living can vary significantly from state to state and even town to town. If relocation has been on your mind, consider factoring in living costs for new areas. Other than housing costs, you should look at food and electricity prices.
Tax laws can also differ in other states. Some may tax your retirement income, while others don’t impose a tax on income at all.
If you want to improve your wealth and stop living paycheck to paycheck, making these money moves can help. Not everyone wants to pick up another job or take the time to build passive income.
But you can always begin making more with the money you have. Investing wisely and maximizing your worth at work will leave you in a much better financial position this time next year and in the years that follow.