// Tips for Better Financial Health
We really believe here at wh+k that health and wellness are all-encompassing and includes every part of your life, not just your body and physical health. While we’ve all heard that money can’t buy happiness, it’s true that no money can certainly buy stress. And stress is a HUGE no-no for good health. In the quest for perfecting our own personal commerce, we reached out to one of our favorite financial experts to see what he has to say about financial health across different epochs of your life.
it’s the little things done repeatedly over long periods of time that make a big difference.
Okay, it’s January, we’ve made New Year’s resolutions, and are ready to change something, or things, to make the next 12 months great. Each January, I start the year by trying to do 100 situps a day. In my best year I’ve made it to August…my worst saw a February swoon. It’s a silly goal but, each year I do it…I guess it becomes a habit. As a financial coach January is usually my busiest month as people prioritize getting a grip on their finances. In my experience with coaching people on financial strategy, I’ve yet to meet a person without lofty goals and a healthy intent to achieve them. What separates those with good intent from those who see tangible results is prioritizing the goal and taking action to make the goal a reality. In today’s “me now” society, that’s tough to achieve but far from impossible. Much like success in any craft (sports, career, relationships), it’s the little things done repeatedly over long periods of time that make a big difference. Here are some simple financial tips that you can put into practice immediately depending on where you are in your life…
“If we wait until we are ready we will be waiting for the rest of our lives.” Lemony Snicket
1. Get Started! Wealth creation starts with small steps done consistently over long periods of time. Pay off your credit cards, fund an emergency account, and start saving. How much? Work up to saving 10% of your pretax income every time you are paid.
2. Get help! There’s a good chance you paid way too much for some higher education and learned very little about managing your finances. So where do you turn? Search for a financial group and if you can’t find one, start one. Lot’s of churches offer groups such as Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace for free! They can really be life-changing. Also look for a mentor or financial coach…someone with good experience who has similar values and can hold you accountable. This doesn’t have to be a professional! Don’t rule out parents, older siblings, co-workers or family friends!
3. Do not fear the stock market. Nothing has created more wealth in our country's history. Not real estate. Not bitcoins. Have a long-term perspective, be committed and patient. You are young, and you have the magic of compound interest on your side. If the company you work for offers a retirement plan (401k) with a match invest enough to at least capture the company match. Here’s a brilliant observation…That’s FREE MONEY! Do you not like free money?!
4. Avoid comparing your financial journey with someone else's. Unless you are the 20-something founder of Snapchat, you probably know people who make a lot more than you or just fell into money. Comparison kills motivation… you can’t let it discourage you. Chances are they are working really hard behind the scenes, and if they’re not…easy come easy go. Take the small steps and enjoy YOUR journey through the ups and downs.
5. Take a chance. Start a business or fund something you believe in. It’s okay to make a mistake and time is on your side to overcome it.
“When you turn thirty, a whole new thing happens: you see yourself acting like your parents.” -Blair Sabol
1. Consider how much risk you are taking and if it’s appropriate for you. You’ll probably need help with this one. Some people hate risk and avoid it; others can’t get enough.
2. Protect your legacy. If you have a family protect them with life insurance and please don’t push this off. Also, find a good estate attorney to help craft a will and/or trust.
3. Be smart with debt. Pay more on your mortgage each month and avoid long-term auto loans (more than 3 years).
4. Stay liquid. Most companies fail from a lack of capital. If you have the majority of your assets in illiquid holdings, such as real estate or physical assets you might be in trouble when a recession hits. Being able to convert an investment into cash immediately has value.
“There are no grown-ups... Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.”
- Pamela Druckerman
1. Avoid emotional financial decisions. Chances are you’ve got a decent nest egg working for you. Don’t make the mistake of chasing a hot investment or timing the market. Stay the course
2. Diversification is the only free lunch. Many people in their 40’s have company stock or a low basis stock position. Look to minimize your investment in any one company to 10% of your total portfolio.
3. Begin planning for retirement. Start analyzing how much income you’ll need in retirement and what your sources of that income will be. Implement social security into your plan.
Michael Holdenrid is the President of Life Points Financial Partners and an investment advisor serving clients for the past 16 years.
For more information, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.lifepointsfp.com