Why is it that hard times never seem to take some people down; while ups and downs in the economy, problems in their personal lives, or disruptions somewhere else in the world are devastating to other folks? What can ensure smooth sailing through every storm? Here are a few “dos” and “don’ts” families to follow to stay afloat financially no matter what’s going on around them.
DO as much as you can to secure your family’s future
DO. Take advantage of any matching money offered to you. If your employer offers to match dollar for dollar up to a certain amount you put into a retirement account, do it! Don’t waste a penny of this perk. Act now. If you have a 401(k) or another retirement plan through your job. Don’t leave any free money behind. You could tap into that money in some emergencies before retirement age.
DO. Whether you’re offered an IRA plan with matching benefits at work or not, contribute as much as you can to any retirement account, traditional IRAs and/or Roth IRAs. If your company doesn’t offer an IRA plan, go to aaallc.com and set an appointment with a financial planner, or call (616) 531 5220 and reserve a time to start your own IRA plan(s).
DO. Pay off any debt as fast as you can. Find out the amount of interest you’re charged on each debt you owe. Credit cards usually command the highest interest rates on balances (up to as much as 25 percent in some cases). It makes sense to avoid putting more purchases on plastic cards than you can pay off before interest kicks in (usually within 30 days).
DO. Over pay as much as you can on bigger loans, such as auto, home or college debt. In most cases, every dollar over the required monthly payment is shred off your debt without any interest paid on it. You can shave years off loans (and lots of interest) by overpaying $50 or $100 a month.
DON’T fall into traps that make your finances vulnerable
DON’T. Avoid selling stocks when the market is going down. When share prices dive, it’s a good time to take a chance on buying rather than selling. If you invest on a monthly basis, keep investing the same amount of money each month, no matter what the market is doing. Hang on through market dips to build a solid portfolio with long-term earning potential.
DON’T. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need. Fads, fashions, souvenirs and other unnecessary items amount to nothing but clutter. Weigh each purchase carefully: “Do I really need it?”
DON’T. Don’t buy things just to impress others. “Spending money you don’t have to impress others will leave you with shallow relationships and stressful bills,” warns famed financial advisor Suze Orman. “Work hard, invest wisely, and reap your fortune when you’ve made it.” In conclusion, she adds, “And there’s nothing more impressive than true financial success.”
For more ways to stay financially solvent in uncertain times, contact Ron VanSurksum at AAM, (616) 531 5220.
Manage Your Money . . . financial tips from:
AAM Fee-Only Financial Planning & Investment Advisory LLC
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Ronald Van Surksum, CFP
4555 Wilson Ave SW – Suite 2 Grandville, MI 49418
Phone: (616) 531-5220 Cell: (616) 450-8439
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