Okay, you made a New Year’s resolution to improve your finances but are having a hard time finding ways to do this. If this is the case, here are seven tips that could help you improve your finances this year.
Be a discount shopper year around
If you’re typical, you probably spent a lot of time looking for money-saving coupons around holidays such as July 4, Black Friday and Labor Day. However, retailers are now holding sales all year round and sometimes at unexpected times. For example, in 2012 Christmas sales started in October and continued throughout the season. You should be looking out for the best deals year around.
Make better choices with your 401(k)
Common mistakes made by many people are failing to update their investments on a regular basis or even check on them. Another mistake that is often made is to choose portfolios that are too conservative or on the other hand too risky. Your company’s human resources department probably offers free services that could help you make better choices. For example, Fidelity has free seminars and information available to its clients.
Save 1/4th of your income
The returns on investments today are just not what they once were. In fact, if you’re lucky you might be able to get an average return of 4% on your investments in the years ahead. This means you will need to contribute more to your retirement accounts if you want to have a comfortable retirement. Many financial experts say that you should be saving as much as one-fourth of your income in both after-tax and retirement accounts. Plus, you can’t really rely on Social Security benefits any more as it’s hard to tell what will happen to them in the years ahead.
Consider changing to a credit union
If you feel your bank is charging you a lot of fees that just keep getting higher, you might want to switch to a credit union. You should be able to get a better interest rate on your savings accounts than your bank, along with lower rates and fees on mortgages and auto loans.
Earn money on the side
If you’re typical, you may not feeling very secure about your job these days. This has driven many Americans to pick up another source of income on the side. If this interest you, the website Payscale.com says the highest paying second jobs are in law, senior copywriting, clinical psychology and information technology security.
Do a better job of managing your time
If you’re trying to manage two jobs, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. You can combat this by learning to wake up early, stay organized, and avoid things that waste your time such as television. Many people who are juggling jobs say they work on weekends or even take a leave from their regular jobs so they can focus on their other one exclusively at least for a few months.
Prepare to face life after 40
Did you know that in most professions, your income will stop rising about the time you reach age 40. The website Payscale.com has found that in many jobs your earnings will rise fast in your 20s and 30s as you become more valuable. However, around the middle of your career you may plateau and salary increases will slow down for you. You can prepare for this by ramping up some side income. This could help make up for what you might lose in terms of your full-time job.