Let's be honest, your personal finances aren't going to change by itself. If you're not happy with the present state of your finances, it's time to get proactive with your money. How do you do this? Fortunately, it's easier than you might think. Here's a look at seven simple ways to be proactive with your money and improve your financial health.
1. Open a Savings Account
Everyone needs an emergency savings account -- no if's, ands or buts about it. To get proactive with your money, open a savings account at a local bank or credit union. You have several options, such as a basic savings, a money market account or a certificate of deposit. Compare options and choose the account that's right for you.
2. Take Steps to Increase Your Income
If you don't earn enough money to cover your expenses, look for ways to generate extra income. You might be able to find part-time work in addition to your full-time job, or you can begin taking steps to increase your income. This might include getting additional skills or taking a workshop.
3. Get Your Credit Report
Mistakes and errors on your credit report can go unnoticed. And fortunately, negative information reported in error can lower your credit score. Get your free credit report now from Annual Credit Report and dispute any errors. The higher your credit score, the easier it'll be to qualify for loans.
4. Put Your Finances on Autopilot
You're busy, and understandably, you might overlook a bill. However, late payments can be costly. Putting your personal finances on autopilot ensures you never miss another payment. You can have your paycheck directly deposited into your account, you can set up recurring transfers from your checking account to your savings account, and you can set up automatic bill pay for monthly expenses.
5. Get Life Insurance
Purchase a life insurance policy to pay off any debt you have in the event of your untimely death, plus provide your family with financial support. Even if you're single with no dependents, you need a small policy to pay off your debts and cover your burial expenses. There are no hard or fast rules regarding how large a policy to have, but some money experts recommend a policy that's 8 to 10 times your annual salary, if you have a family.
6. Start Saving for Retirement
Don't wait until you're in your mid to late-30s to start saving for retirement. Get a 401(k) account as soon as you're eligible with your employer, and into other retirement saving options, such as an individual retirement account. Contribute as much of your income as possible to a 401(k) plan, and take advantage of the employer-match program if you're eligible.
7. Get a Financial Planner
If you need help managing your money from paying off debt to planning for the future, get a financial planner. This professional can help in every aspect of personal finance. You can ask questions and get advice to make sure you're on the right track financially speaking.
If you want to improve your money, you have to get proactive about your personal finances. You're ultimately responsible for your financial health, but with the help of a financial planner and by taking other smart financial steps, you can get on the right track and improve your money. What are other ways to be proactive with your money?