Should you buy, or rent? Pay off debt, or build an emergency fund? The trouble with money questions is the answer usually is, “It depends.” Because personal finance is more personal than finance. Here are three techniques for making good decisions.
It’s nice to think of the glass half full, but not necessarily when it comes to money. When you’re overly optimistic, it’s easy to convince yourself it will all be okay. But complacency leaves to inaction, and your financial future depends on you taking the right steps, right now. Here are three steps you can take.
Build Your Money Roadmap
Like many people, you may be juggling multiple priorities. For instance, do you pay off all your credit card debt before saving or investing? Or, should you funnel more dollars into your retirement fund? And what about purchasing big-ticket items like a house or car? The truth is—the answers to these questions depend on your individual circumstances, your dreams and goals.
It likely took place before your first job, even as far back as when your annual income consisted of Tooth Fairy money and lucky pennies. The very first financial decision you ever made is also one of the most important choices, it’s where to keep your money.
When you first made that decision, piggy banks, sock drawers, and “buried-in-the-sandbox-like-pirate-treasure” all seemed like perfectly acceptable options. As it turns out, they aren’t nearly as super-secret as you might have hoped. Opening a bank account is the best solution, but in order to do that you first need to choose a financial institution—and so the choice becomes “bank or credit union?”
While bank and banking are universally understood and accepted terms, the term credit union is still largely misunderstood and unknown to many. Credit union is an unusual term, isn’t it? Is it just another name for a bank? Is it a credit card company? Do I have to be in a union to join? Watch the video.
Impulse buying: We’ve all done it. In fact, the average person will spend $114,000 on impulse purchases over their lifetime. How can you avoid that fate? Skip these three shopping sins.
This advice blog is provided by TrueCar®, our Car Buying Service.
The decision to buy or lease can be a biggie.
A lease is a long-term rental, a car you’ll have to give back to the dealer at some point. A purchase is, well, yours for the long haul. Often your choice will come down to price.
Budgets: we all know we should have one, and we all know it’s a fairly simple thing to follow—at least in theory. We often map out budgets with the best of intentions, only to abandon them a couple of weeks later. If we design budgets that are too restrictive or too vague, there’s no motivation to follow them.
Once a year you go the doctor for a check-up. Twice a year you visit the dentist for a cleaning. But when was the last time you had a financial physical? Without one, you may not know if you’re financially healthy. Do you have too much debt? Are you saving enough for retirement?
Who wouldn’t want to finance a car at 0% interest? It has the potential to save you a lot of money over the life of the loan, right?
That’s what auto dealerships count on. It’s one of the best ways they have to get you into a new car, according to a J.D. Power Dealer Finance Study.