Whether you succeed in personal finance is largely a matter of making the right plans – then carrying them out.
For a more abundant 2020, check out the following 6-point money checklist, pick an entry that appeals to you, and then do it – now.
One of the easiest ways to improve the status of your finances is to set up automatic arrangements to pay your bills and/or put money into your savings account.
The benefits are three-fold:
1) It builds financial discipline, reducing the chances of wild spending sprees; 2) it prevents any extra expenses arising from late charges, penalties and the like; and 3) it helps you get started on important savings goals, such as your emergency fund.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of timely bill payment. Missing a payment or two can seriously mess up your budget for next month, which can trigger off a destructive debt cycle.
If you find yourself regretting your online purchases more often than not, it might be time to examine your motivation to shop.
Are you investing in things that truly serve you and make you happy? Or is your shopping a coping mechanism for unhealthy feelings?
One good way to stop your unwanted shopping is to delete all your saved credit card info from your browser and apps.
The objective is to prevent that pesky auto-fill from filling in your credit card information every time you come to a checkout page.
Then, make a list of essential services you use, and shift their payment onto a debit card.
Why? Because unlike credit cards, you can’t “buy now, pay later” with a debit card. So even if your payment information pops-up, you’ll have to think twice before clicking “Buy”
Next, make a plan and a budget for the major online shopping holidays you do want to take part in.
Write your plan down on a piece of paper (including your spending limit), wrap it around a dedicated credit card, and stash it until the time is right.
Trying to make a holiday happen at the last minute is not only stressful, it also costs you more money.
Yes, cheap flight promotions are being launched every other day, but don’t forget the advertised rates don’t include taxes and fees and other charges.
Some flight promotions even come with hefty penalties should you need to change your flight after booking.
Also, you may not be able to get the hotel you want, in the area you want.
You’d either have to fork out high prices for that one remaining room, or make do with another establishment you may not like.
Far better, then, to plan your holidays for the year in advance, including your budget for the trip.
Once done, you can start looking out for deals as early as five months before you fly.
Did you know that as of October 2019, only 40 per cent of Singaporeans households have switched their electricity provider? Why is this worth mentioning?
Because it means 6 out of every 10 households are paying about 20 per cent to 30 per cent more for their electricity.
If you’re one of those that have yet to make the switch, here’s a fun little exercise for you.
Have a look at your latest utilities bill, work out how much the electricity portion costs (the current tariff is 23.43 cents/kWh) and calculate what 30 per cent savings look like.
Then multiply that by 12. Congrats! You’ve just found the money for a brand new washing machine!
Even if you’ve been in your job for only a year, you can still ask for a raise.
If you do it properly, you may very well walk away with an increased paycheck, which is the single most crucial factor determining your financial well-being.
But if you fail to get a raise, it doesn’t matter. The whole point is to have an open chat with your manager on your career path, and what you need to do, what skills you need to hone to climb up the career ladder.
Look, with robo-advisers making investing money as easy as 1-2-3, there’s really no reason to deprive yourself of capital market returns that average 10% per annum, historically.
The trick is to play the long game (we’re talking investment periods of decades), and to diversify your portfolio according to your risk profile.
You can even use dollar-cost averaging to further ameliorate market risks.
And the best thing is, you don’t even have to know what any of that last sentence means with today’s robo-advisers that handle everything for you.
Just pick one (or two, or three) that appeals to you, invest for a few months,, and see how you like your returns.
Unlike other financial products that lock you in for long periods, robo-advisers let you stop and withdraw your money anytime you wish, without heavy penalties.