Money Management: Where to Start?
Because money management covers such a wide variety of things, getting your finances into shape can be overwhelming at times. It can be hard to even know where to start, which can leave you paralyzed.
This can be true even if you break the things you need to do down by topic.
But there ARE a few strategies that can help. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Choices can be changed
Realize that very few things in your financial life are going to be permanent, so don’t let fear of making the wrong choice paralyze you. If it turns out that you don’t like what you’ve chosen or done, you can probably start over again or do it differently.
(Except for taking out government-guaranteed student loans; those are almost certainly going to be in your life until you pay them off.)
So if you’re feeling pressure to get things just right, give yourself a break. We all make mistakes and do things that it turns out we don’t like — the important thing is to learn from them for next time and to try to minimize the cost of those mistakes.
THAT you start matters more
Second, realize that the important thing isn’t so much what you start on but that you start.
You’ll get to everything eventually if you make it a point to devote a certain amount of time each month to improving your financial life.
After that, it’s a matter of figuring out what you want to tackle right now and then getting started.
Break it down
Generally speaking, the topics can be broken down into these main areas: budgeting, debt reduction or debt management, savings (Digit is a painless way to start), investing, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, making money, and taxes. Of course, there are many overlaps between the topics.
You can pick what seems most pressing to you — for example, if you’re not able to make ends meet, making money and budgeting will probably be most important, or if you’re spending all of your money servicing debt, debt reduction and paying off short term loans might be the priority.
Just pick the topic that interests you most, or one that you’ve long-neglected. If you’re still undecided, don’t worry about trying to pick the “right” thing to start on. Even picking something completely at random is better than not picking anything at all.
So where will you start? Pick something and go!