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No matter what your age may be, it’s never too late--or too early--to start planning for the future. Many of us put it off due to the busy, stressful lives we lead, but it’s important to begin preparations now so that you’re not overwhelmed down the road. Whether you want to start saving to buy a house or so your child cango to college, there are many simple ways you can go about it. Here are some of the best.
Start with your goals
Sit down and think about the two types of goals you have: immediate and future. Immediate goals may be getting a promotion at work, buying a home, or purchasing your first car. Future goals could include building up a retirement fund, planning for your child’s continued education, or going back to school yourself. Separate these goals by the dates you’d like to achieve them and start an action plan for each. In this case, “future goals” simply means the things you want to start planning for now that won’t take place for a few years.
It’s never too late to start saving for the future. You might have multiple financial goals, such as saving money for a down payment on a home while putting some aside for unforeseen circumstances. Wonderful! Right now is the best time to start, even if the amount you can put aside is small. It might be helpful to let friends and family know what your goals are so they can adjust their gift-giving accordingly when birthdays and holidays roll around.
If you’re saving for your child’s college education, consider a 529 college savings account. These plans are for school only, but give you tax incentives as you save.
Buying a home
Thinking about buying a home? There are lots of things to think about and decisions to be made, including what area you want to live in, which school district the home is in, and how the home will work for you as you get older. Many people reach retirement age and realize that their home isn’t accommodating to their needs anymore, forcing them to downsize and start the moving process all over again.
Get out of that rut
Feel like you’re in a professional rut? Don’t be afraid to take charge of your destiny and ask for that raise or promotion. Talk to your boss about taking on different tasks or more responsibility; work longer hours to show your commitment to the company. Learn a new language or skill that can be added to your resume, and remember, you are valuable.
Say no to credit
It might be tempting to open a new line of credit when you have to make a big purchase, or to rely on credit cards when you’re low on cash, but if you can steer clear of using them you can save money and build up your credit score. Save up to buy bigger things--furniture or appliances--and pay cash whenever you can. It’s agood idea to have a credit card for emergencies if you can pay off each purchase as soon as you make it.