Here are some tips on what you should do to avoid a personal financial crisis:
1) Have an emergency slush fund
You should have at least 3 months of living expenses put away in case the worst happens. I am not talking about putting it in your mattress or in a coffee can. These funds should be liquid and fairly easy to access quickly but not so that you can dip into them & buy something if the whim strikes you. My wife and I have used an ING investment savings account, you could do something similar or open a Tax Free Savings account, that way your emergency fund is tax protected.
2) Know your income and expenses
Most people might know how much they make but have no idea how much they are spending. When I got out of University I worked as a personal trainer for a few years. When I took on a new client, I would have them keep track of what and when they ate for a week to give them a better idea of what is really going on in regards to their health. Your finances are no different, take a 30 day period, create an excel spreadsheet for example and track all income and expenses. Then sit down and take a real good look at it and decided if it is needed or not. Trim the fat and put the saving’s into your newly developed emergency fund.
3) Diversify your income
What I mean by this is don’t put all your eggs into one basket. Develop a secondary income stream incase something were to happen to your day job. Turn that passion or hobby into a business. Invest in real estate. Build a residual income stream by joining a network marketing or direct selling company. Make sure that what ever you do, it’s something that you are passionate about and will allow you to add to your bottom line. The other advantage is that your new business could become a great tax deduction, check with your accountant to make sure that it is structured properly.
4) Give your self an immediate 18-20% return!
How is this possible you may ask? It’s easier than you may think. Do it by paying off your debt. Start with your higher interest debt, your credit cards which are anywhere from 12%-18%, or if it is a department store card, it could be as high as 24%. Next your car payment, unless you have a 0% loan, you are probally paying 7-9%. Lastly your mortgage 3-7%. If you need a detailed plan on how to do this quickly, let me know I have designed quite a few of them.
5) Lastly make sure that your affairs are in order.
I am not trying to sound morbid, but we don’t live forever. Have a proper estate plan, have health insurance for your and your loved ones, and have an insurance policy big enough so that the one’s you leave behind are not faced with an immediate financial crisis. For this point I suggest consulting with your personal estate lawyer as well as your financial planner. If you don’t have one I can suggest for legal advice or here are two good options for financial planning.
Bonus point….and this should be a no brainer.
To achieve anything on this list, you should have a plan. Start with a clear picture of the current state of your finances. How much time do you have between where you are now and where you want to be? With the help of one of the financial planners above or your own, develop your plan and work your plan. Remember to be flexible in your approach, know what’s working or not, and be willing to make the necessary changes to insure that you achieve your goal.
*Note that I receive no gain monetary or other wise from promoting the services or products in this post.
As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions and I look forward to hearing from you.