You might have a youthful spirit, but there comes a time when you have to get serious about life -- which includes getting serious about your money. You can't stay a child forever, and although some financial topics might go over your head, there are certain financial decisions you can't keep putting off.
1. Tackling Debt
Your debt isn't going away by itself. If you ignore high credit card balances, you'll pay a lot of interest over the years. Also, high credit card debt can hurt your credit score. And when your credit score suffers, it becomes harder to get auto loans and credit cards. Take your head out of the sand and develop a strategy to eliminate your balances. Pay more than your minimums, negotiate a lower interest rate and don't add new charges.
2. Planning for Retirement
Nobody wants to think about old age, but this doesn't change the fact that we aren't getting any younger. The sooner you start planning for retirement, the more financially stable you'll be later in life. Speak to your employer about enrolling in a 401(k) plan if eligible, or open an individual retirement account with a financial planner or banker.
3. Start a Rainy Day Fund
In a perfect world, we would all be able to spend our disposable cash on clothes, vacations and entertainment. But we live in the real world, and in the real world unexpected expenses happen. Do yourself a favor and save an emergency fund to prepare for the unexpected. Aim to deposit at least 10% of your check into savings.
4. Buying Life Insurance
It's an unpleasant topic to think about, but everyone needs life insurance. You need coverage if you're married or have dependents. The death benefit can provide your survivors with income after your untimely death. You also need life insurance if you're single. The death benefit can pay off any existing debt and cover your funeral and burial.
5. Rent versus Buy
Depending on who you speak with, buying is better than renting, and vice versa. But the truth of the matter is, it all depends on your lifestyle. If you prefer stability, buying might be up your alley. But if you prefer flexibility and freedom, you might make a better renter. Ultimately, it's your choice. If you're going to buy, get in when interest rates are low to save money, and shop around for the best mortgage package.
6. Who Will Manage Your Money?
Some people manage their own personal finances, and it works. But if you've had trouble with money in the past, you might benefit working with a financial advisor. This professional can help you in all aspects of personal finance from buying a life insurance policy to paying off debt.
7. Quitting Your Job
Just about everyone needs to work, but this doesn't mean you have to stay at a dead end job. If you're not satisfied at work or if you're ready to challenge yourself, start plotting your exit. Go back to school and get additional skills, or use your existing skills to excel in another position.
There are many financial decisions we have to make as we become older. You can push certain issues aside, but you'll still have to deal with them. The sooner you tackle these issues, the better. What are other money decisions to stop putting off?