The following information was published
by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs.
Wherever you are in life, these tips may help you get on solid financial ground and help you stay there:
Get specific with your goals. There’s an old expression: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will lead you there.” When it comes to your money, you need to have specific goals. They can be as simple as: “Put aside $500 a month for a down payment on a new home until we have $20,000,” or “Pay back credit card debt in one year with $300 a month minimum.”
Focus on needs, not wants. Wish lists can be wonderful things to have — as long as you don’t use your credit card to turn every wish into immediate reality. Understand the difference between niceties and necessities, and be willing to forego what you don’t really need to stay on plan.
Keep it simple. Often we get too complex in our planning. Result? Plans turn into burdens and are quickly abandoned. So don’t try to become an investment banker overnight. Just focus on what’s most important to you. Is it having enough money for retirement, financial security for loved ones, college? You decide and then take simple, straightforward action.
Know your weak points. Understand your own personal psychology and avoid the triggers that will make you spend more or save less. For example, if you know you’re undisciplined, try to have money taken out automatically for saving or investing.
Be realistic. If you’ve never saved a penny in your life, you’re not going to magically put aside thousands of dollars a month. So start small. It’s all about consistency. Far better to build up, than give up!
Be prepared. Life is all about change. Good things or bad can affect your financial planning. Be ready. Planning for the unexpected can make seemingly disastrous events like a job layoff, a house fire, or a long-term illness far less devastating than they might
Know when you need advice and how to get it. Get help when you need it: a banker for a mortgage, a lawyer for your will, a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) Financial Planner for more complex financial planning needs.