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“Money can’t buy happiness,” says everyone who has it. In this day and age, when people are thinking of packing up and moving to cheaper destinations, or struggling to balance their bank books, financial literacy has become more important than ever.  Here are 10 key basic strategies that may help you along your financial journey: 

Create a Budget and Stick to It

This one should be obvious, but it’s still a good piece of advice to follow: obviously the issue of rising costs and inflation eating into everyone’s budgets is an issue, but following a budget is always a good idea. People still tend to splurge on eating out or on their Uber trips on a night out.

Try to budget the income you do have, even if you have to cut back on discretionary spending. Budgeting is the foundation of good financial management. Start by tracking your income and expenses (this obviously includes any side hustles that you have). Create a monthly budget that allows you to live within your means.

Try to create accounts for both savings and emergency funds. There are creative tips to manage your money that you can find out there, such as Cash Stuffing

Build an Emergency Fund

This one is a bit trickier in this day and age, but if you can, try to sock a bit away each month. You never know if you get an unexpected health scare, or wind up in an unfortunate accident. An emergency fund is supposed to provide a small cushion if you need it.  If you need a financial cushion to land on, you may also want to look at point number 4. 

Pay Off High-Interest Debt

This is also a toughie in this day and age, because there are a lot of younger people who are saddled with a lot of student debt. They are also saddled with credit card debt, because they are trying to keep afloat in this economy.

All of this can eat away at your finances (especially if you are a young person who is just starting out on their own). Chipping away at your debt is obviously important and it may take precedence over everything else. Perhaps living at home longer, living with roommates, etc., may help you save a little bit of money. 

Invest Wisely

Investing is a key strategy for building wealth over time. Stocks, bonds, etc., all assure that you can have a steady stream of cash (if you need it for emergencies), is there. Getting into stocks, investments, etc., may be difficult if you don’t have a lot to start with, but when you start working, you may want to consult with a financial advisor to help you start this journey to financial independence.

Save for Retirement

Alright, so this is a precarious one: people are so concerned with rent and bills, with the daily costs of everything, that retirement gets put on the backburner. Again, for the younger generations, this is a difficult topic to broach because many millennials feel as though they will never be able to retire. Saving for retirement is obviously crucial to ensure a comfortable and secure future. Take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s or IRAs, and contribute as much as you can.  Hopefully the power of compound interest can significantly boost your retirement savings.

Set Financial Goals

Obviously, having a clear idea of your financial goals is obviously important. But you want to have fun as well. If you can, don’t put off traveling until you retire, because you don’t want to wait to have some real fun. Whether it’s buying a home, starting a family, or traveling the world, break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps to track your progress. Saving for a reward may help boost your willpower for this goal. Always keep your financial goals in mind. 

Live Below Your Means

This should be a no-brainer, but many people still splurge on Ubereats, concerts, and expensive luxury items they don’t need. Everyone wants to splurge here and there, but consider saving for the big ticket items: travel, property, etc., rather than buying something you don’t really need. 

Insure Yourself and Your Assets

Insurance is a crucial part of financial security. Ensure you have health insurance, life insurance, and property insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected financial burdens. This is especially true for younger generations, who suffer from more chronic stress than their predecessors

Continuously Educate Yourself

Financial literacy is a lifelong journey. Stay informed about financial trends, investment options, and tax strategies. Consider attending workshops, reading books, or following financial blogs to expand your knowledge and make informed decisions. Try not to fall into the trap of spending money from courses offered by “crypto-bros” and “finance bros” who only want you to splurge on their courses, but teach you practically nothing that you couldn’t find online for free.

Seek Professional Advice When Needed

When faced with complex financial situations, it’s wise to seek advice from professionals such as financial planners, accountants, or estate attorneys. This may be easier said than done, but professional advice is always good. It’s also important to not obsess over any particular dollar amount. Millions manage to sock away for a decent retirement without millions in the bank. 

You may want to start by planning for your estate with a Last Will and Testament

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