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Financial success is about making smart choices early on that will pay dividends at retirement. It starts with what you don’t see - a savings account, conversations about managing money, and taking a proactive role in planning for your future. Setting yourself up for success takes time, and progress is key! Action will lead to consistency, which leads to long-term results.

Do these 10 things for a brighter financial future:

  1. Create a budget. There are numerous ways to track spending. Create a spreadsheet to track bills and discretionary spending every month. Seeing what is coming in and going out every month allows you to anticipate spending trends year over year. Plus, you’ll see progress over the years as your income levels go up!
  2. Pay yourself first! Open a savings account and set up an automatic transfer based on your budget. This account can serve as your emergency fund or general savings account.
  3. Get serious about paying off debt! While debt like car payments and credit cards may help you build credit early in life, it’s best to pay these things off as quickly as possible.
  4. Own a home. A mortgage is smart debt. The interest rate is typically low, and the loan is backed by a major asset. Unlike renting, you are building wealth when you choose to purchase a home!
  5. Start a college fund for your kids. Start saving for college when your kids are young, even if it’s just $600 per year or $50 per month. As your income increases, increase the contribution.
  6. Find a money mentor! Chances are, there is someone in your life who has made good choices in regards to money. Let this person know your financial goals, and ask for advice on how to get there. Surrounding yourself with others that are making smart choices will encourage you to do the same. 
  7. Save for retirement. Put the percentage that your company matches, if not more, into a 401(k). For example, if your company matches your contribution up to 4%, put in 4%. It’s like you’re saving 8%! IRA’s are great savings tools as well. Whatever investment vehicle you choose, be consistent.
  8. Spend less than you make. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many of us struggle with credit card debt because we spend more than we bring in and use credit cards to “finance” our lifestyles. Don’t let this happen to you.
  9. Give. Make it a habit to give back and put purpose behind your dollars.
  10. Protect against the “what if’s.” Life is full of surprises, and sometimes they are the kind that can ruin us financially. Be prepared with adequate health, life, and disability insurance to protect your family against a disaster.

Managing money responsibly allows you the freedom to pursue hobbies, give back to your community, and lead a comfortable life well into old age. Do you have a tip we can share with our readers? Let us know!

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