It’s vital that you understand the rules behind proper money management and investing and put that knowledge into your own financial plan and make your money work for you. Here are some of the basic steps to putting your money to work for you.
- Find Someone With A Successful History With Money
- Develop A Budget
- Build An Emergency Fund
- Pay Off Debt
- Invest In The Stock Market
- Invest In An IRA
- Plan Future Expenses
- Take Advantage of Other Tax-Advantaged Investments
- Invest in Other Streams of Income
Find Someone With A Successful History With Money
You will learn a lot more by talking with someone in your network who has done well for themselves and is willing to break down what they did to get there. They can help you identify realistic financial goals and put strategies in place to achieve them.
It’s possible a financial planner might fit the bill here, but the reality is that financial planners are not incentivized to give you good financial advice, and while some take their fiduciary duty seriously and will point you in the right direction, many will give you poor advice in an attempt to make money off of you.
Develop A Budget
A budget will show you if you are spending more or less than you can afford. It also helps you direct your money to where it matters most, so you can stay on top of bills, pay down debt and start putting money towards your future goals and guaranteeing that you make your money work for you.
Build An Emergency Fund
You should by all means already have this fund in your bank account and it should be your top priority.
Research shows that low-income families with $500 stocked away for emergencies were able to improve their financial situation more than middle-class families with no emergency savings.
Pay Off Debt
Remember how compound interest is either working for you or working highly against you? Well, high-interest debt, like credit card debt is a similarly powerful force and can put you off course when planning to make your money work for you.
Whether it’s credit cards, student debt or other loans, most of us will deal with some form of debt at one point or another. And while owing money might just seem like a way of life, the faster you can remove the burden of debt from your life, the faster you can take control of your finances.
Invest In The Stock Market
It’s a common misconception that you need to have access to a lot of capital to start investing in the stock market and hugely so as it is a great way to make your money work for you at all times.
You also don’t need to know everything, or even a lot, about the stock market to start investing. There are a number of passive investment options that allow you to “set it and forget it” and literally start making money in your sleep.
The stock market is open to anyone who can drum up the courage to invest in their future and grow their wealth. There are safer ways and there are also the cowboy ways for those who love the thrill of it, but all in all, the market is very vast and easy to understand when you really take time to learn the basics.
Invest In An IRA
With your debts paid off or prioritized, it’s now time to focus on investing. As you learned, taxes do make a big difference. It’s for this reason that you’ll want to continue to leverage tax-advantaged accounts.
Your goal for this step is to contribute the maximum amount possible to your IRA.
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But when you open an IRA with some providers, you can expect to pay about .25% for an optimized portfolio that you never have to adjust. With other companies, you can pay even lower fees — although you might have to make a few decisions along the way.
Given this, it’s a good idea to shop around before signing up for an investment account and get winning while you make your money work for you.
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Plan Future Expenses
Now that you’re out of high-interest debt, you want to stay there.
Having contributed up to your employer match, as well as having maxed out an IRA, it’s now time to look at short-term and medium-term goals that, if not saved for, would have to be financed with debt.
Do you wish to someday own a home? If so, saving 20% for a down payment can save you significant money over the course of your mortgage. Even shorter-term goals such as buying a car or an engagement ring can and should be planned for.
The idea is to look ahead at the next few years and identify any big purchases that might be on the horizon. Then, start setting aside money to make those purchases when the time comes.
Take Advantage of Other Tax-Advantaged Investments
If you’ve made it this far and still have room left over to invest, your first priority is still to leverage tax-advantaged accounts to the fullest possible extent, and, of course, to make your money work for you.
There are other tax-advantaged accounts worth knowing about as well. Depending on the state you live in and how you withdraw the money when that time comes, these accounts could offer a rare “triple tax advantage” in which you get (1) a tax deduction for making a contribution, (2) your money grows tax-free, and (3) you can withdraw your funds tax-free.
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Invest in Other Streams of Income
Passive income is money that flows in on a regular basis without much(or any) effort your part to create it—and it’s one the best ways to make your money work for you. Activities like investing in the stock market can be considered a form of passive income depending on how much time you spend on those activities.
Real estate is still a preferred choice for people who want to generate long-term returns on their investments. Unlike investing in a 401k or the stock market, investing in real estate typically requires more significant capital upfront to use as a down payment.
Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
REITs can be a good investment option if you’re not willing to take on the risk of buying property yourself or can’t afford it. An REIT is a company that owns and operates income-producing real estate they make your money work for you.
As an investor in an REIT, you benefit from the gains, refinances, sale, income (or loss) on the property in the form of dividends paid to you by the company. One downside to note, though, is that dividends are taxed as ordinary income, which could push you into a higher tax bracket.
Commodities (Gold & other metals etc)
“Why do you need to invest in metals”?
That’s a question that comes up often from both new and seasoned investors. Well, experts agree that the whole point of owning gold is safety, wealth protection and portfolio diversification. If the financial system collapses, paper gold (e.g. gold futures, stocks and ETFs) are simply not safe. When a financial or geopolitical crisis hits, you want to have some ‘real’ assets that live outside of the financial and banking system.
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There are many reasons to stay ahead of the next crisis by keeping your money working for you and making more money for you and tour future. There is never a bad time to start investing for your future and we all have to think forward more often about our money. Follow these tips and you will certainly make your future and current life a little less stressful.