Here are eight keys to getting ahead financially.
- Get Paid What You're Worth and Spend Less Than You Earn
Sounds simplistic, but many struggle with this first basic rule. Make sure you know what your job is worth in the marketplace, by conducting an evaluation of your skills, productivity, job tasks, contribution to the company, and the going rate, both inside and outside the company, for what you do. Being underpaid even a small sum can have a significant cumulative effect over the course of your working life.
No matter how much or how little you're paid, you'll never get ahead if you spend more than you earn. Often it's easier to spend less than it is to earn more, and a little cost-cutting effort in a number of areas can result in big savings. It doesn't always have to involve making big sacrifices.
- Stick to a Budget
It's not a four-letter word. How can you know where your money is going if you don't budget. How can you set spending and saving goals - budget whether you make thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
- Pay Off Credit Card Debt
Credit card debt is the number one obstacle to getting ahead financially. Those little pieces of plastic are so easy to use, and it's easy to forget that it's real money when we whip them out to pay for a purchase, large or small. Despite a resolve to pay the balance, the reality is that many end up paying far more than if we had used cash.
- Contribute to a Retirement Plan
If your employer has a contributing Super plan and you don't contribute, you're walking away from one of the best deals out there - sign up today. KiwiSaver is just around the corner. See what it might offer you.
- Have an Investment Plan
You've heard it before: Pay yourself first! Wait until you've met all your other bills before seeing what's left over for saving, chances are you'll never have healthy investments. Set aside 5% to 10% of your salary for savings BEFORE you start paying your bills. Better yet, have money automatically deducted into a separate account.
- Review Your Insurance Coverage
Too many people are talked into paying too much for medical, life and disability insurance, whether it's by adding to loans, buying whole-life insurance when term-life makes more sense, or when you have no dependents. On the other hand, it's important that you have enough insurance to protect your assets, dependents and your income in the case of illness, disability or death – just don’t pay more than need be.
- Update Your Will
Many don't have a will. If you have dependents, no matter how little or how much you own, you need a will. If your situation isn't too complicated you may even get it done for free (or very little!) at any good law firm. Protect your loved ones. Write a will now.
- Keep Good Records
If you don't keep good records, you're probably not making life easy. Set up a system now and use it all year. It's much easier than scrambling to find everything at tax time, only to miss items that might have saved you money.
How are you doing on the top eight list? If you're not doing at least six, make improvements. Choose one area at a time and get them done.
- Last updated on .