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Knowledge is power

When it comes to money, people will do whatever they can to get hold of your money, regardless of how it will affect you.

Don't rush into any sort of decision making. Always consult a second source.

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Understanding personal finance

It is possible to make a budget work while still saving enough to retire. It starts with learning to change your habits so you can put money aside.

It is not that easy to make any sort of real, lasting change in your habits. You will have a few setbacks, and that's ok.

Assuming you have enough to cover the bills and aren't pulling an overdraft fee, start by automating your retirement savings. You know you need an emergency fund, so automate. Do the same with increasing your 401(k) contributions each year, or paying off your credit card debt. 

Our personal finances don't exist on their own. They are connected to the economy and government laws and regulations. It all is as much part of your finances as to how you spend and save your paycheck.

Educate yourself. Call your members of Congress and let them know what you think.

We have this idea that if we just make a certain amount of money, we're going to do great. But it doesn't work like that. We find ourselves always adapting our spending and lifestyle to our income.

Be careful with your spending even if you suddenly have more than you need. Don't chase temporary pleasure with money. Continue to live below your means.

Put 10 % away from each check you receive to create a cash buffer for emergencies. Try and increase it with time.

  1. Start early. The more time your money and investments have to grow before you need them, the more money you’ll have all things being equal. Every little bit counts, even to only to get into the right habits.
  2. Put yourself in the right place geographically.
  3. Do some side hustles. Books, freelance writing, speeches, whatever work you can get your hands on.
  4. You cannot benefit from real estate or investments if you don't start saving early.

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What happens to your money

Banks don’t like to give away their money. That mindset is reflected in the interest rates of checking and savings accounts of 0,5% and 0.9% avg. annual interest respectively.

When you deposit your money in the bank, the bank turns around and invests that money at 7% a year or more. After they collect their profit, they give a tiny shaving of it to you.

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Smart retirement planning boils down to a few simple truths.
  • Time is on your side.  The earlier you start saving money, the more time you give compounding to work for you. 
  • Take risks when you're young.  Although stocks are three times more volatile than government bonds, it earns nearly twice the average annual return.
  • Don't pay high fees for fancy accounts. Every dollar paid to a fund manager is a dollar that can't compound. Index funds charge a fraction of an equity mutual fund because they don't hire high-priced investment managers to pick stocks.
  • It's not about retirement. Saving for retirement might be the goal, but following these steps could provide general financial security.
The 50/30/20 Rule

It breaks down your budget categories into three broad segments:

  • 50%: Essential Expenses like housing, automobile expenses, groceries, insurance, utilities, etc.
  • 30%: Discretionary Expenses (Non-essential) like Dining out, entertainment, drinks, etc.
  • 20%: Financial Goals including mortgage, home, and educational savings.

If there is heavy credit-card debt, the financial goals should be 30% and non-essential spendings only 20%.