Get a Financial Life (1996) is a beginner’s guide to managing your money. These blinks provide essential financial advice on everything from managing debt to growing your savings, picking investments and choosing an insurance provider.
You don’t have to be a Wall Street trader to know that the global economy has been a bit dicey lately, but that doesn’t mean your finances can’t be in order. In fact, it’s never too soon to start planning your financial life, and it’s really not as hard as you might think.
Here’s how you can get started.
First, determine how much money you’ll need to fulfill your dreams. Maybe your goal is to shed all your credit card debt or buy a new car, but whatever it is, if you’re going to realize your dream, you’ll need to know how much it’s going to cost.
For instance, say you want to buy a new $30,000 car. Sellers tend to require a down payment of about 10–20 percent, meaning you’ll need between $3,000 and $6,000 in the bank to bring your new baby home.
Once you’ve figured out the dollar value of your dream, you need to start saving toward it. But to save money you first need to know how you spend money.
Start by looking at your normal expenses. This is best done by keeping a diary for a month and writing down the details of all your expenses.
Eventually, your spending habits will be clear and you’ll know what you need to change to free up some money to save. For example, maybe you buy a lot more books than you actually read or are overpaying for cable.
Once you’ve worked out your spending, you’ll be amazed at how much potential for saving there is, even if you currently feel like you’re barely making ends meet.
Now that you know how to start saving, it’s time to explore a financial topic that many people find more intimidating: debt.