- Date : 31/01/2018
- Read: 4 mins
Planning for a comfortable future starts while you are still single, and here’s what you need to do.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thinking of a time when you have more dependants- be it your spouse and kids, or even your ageing parents.
Here are 6 financial steps to take before it’s too late:
- Live within your means – The rule is: Save first, Spend later. Whatever your salary, no matter how small, first put aside some money to save/invest and only then spend the rest, or you’ll think you have more money than you do! Tracking monthly expenses and savings may seem tedious at first; but once you start, it will ease your financial worries. There are numerous apps and tools such as Monefy, Money Manager, Expensify etc. that can help manage your finances. Or you can even use a simple excel to help you keep track.
Pro Tip: Rich today but poor tomorrow is not truly rich!
- Have an emergency fund –Ideally, your emergency fund should be at least 3 to 6 times your monthly income. This rainy-day savings is meant to provide you with financial security from a sudden lay off at work, health crises or an accident that could halt your earnings, temporarily.
Pro Tip: Your savings are NOT the same as an emergency fund!
- Pay all bills on Day 1 of the month- Landlord told you it’s ok to pay by 7th? Mobile bill cycle starts only on the 10th? That’s not okay! Pay on the 1st of the month no matter what! That’s the only way you can get a true picture of how much you can afford to spend on non-essentials.
Pro Tip: Set up automatic electronic transfers for your fixed expenses (SIPs, mobile bills, rent etc.) and sync up bill cycles to come at the beginning of the month, to reduce risk of default.
- Understand the difference between “money spent” and “money spent now to save later” – Let’s say you don’t want to buy insurance or make an investment because you’d rather spend that money on things you love. Then, let’s say 10 years down the line, you contract a disease, or have a major car accident, or need money for a trip abroad. In one go, you would need such a huge chunk of money that you’d have to dig into your savings. Then you can forget about being able to afford anything else for a while.
Pro Tip: Insurance and investment are both ways to ensure that small money today (when saved and invested), can help you arrange large sums of money when you need it later.
- Stay clear of debts– Took a couple of thousand from your friends? Or parents? Or co-worker? Need a bit more time to repay your debt? Well, think of it this way: right now, with minimal responsibilities, you may only have to give up on some luxuries to afford this repayment. But what about if you had children who needed medical care or whose education you had to pay for? Or what if your spouse and you were looking to buy a car or a house, but couldn’t because of pending obligations?
Pro Tip: Getting married and having kid will make your expenses varied and unexpected. Don’t wait- repay now!
- Get smart – Nearly every financial relationship you enter comes with fees, and possibly penalties associated with various levels of default. If you are old enough to get married or have kids, you are definitely old enough to understand some Terms and Conditions! Make sure you peruse the risks attached with Mutual Funds or the various Credit Card fees carefully before you swear your money away.