5 Ways to Become a Financial Boss in 2014

stacking coins

Whenever a new year comes around, people inevitably end up reflecting on how things are going in their lives. If there’s one constant in all of this, it’s that financial issues tend to be at the center of concerns for those who set out to make big changes around the new year. Even those who are happy with their salaries tend to run into issues with money, and there are things that all of us can do to work towards improving our financial lives.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to become a financial boss in 2014, with the following being just a few examples.

1. Make Sure You’re Being Paid What You’re Worth

The economy is certainly on the up-turn, but that’s not to say that everyone is making what they’re actually worth. This is especially true for those who are recent college grads, as entry-level positions aren’t exactly paying well these days. You’re a professional, though, and you know what you’re worth. Taking a low offer isn’t going to get you anywhere if you’re looking for a new job, nor is working for a poor salary at a job you’ve been at for years.

You owe it to yourself to make it clear what you’re worth, but just be sure you have the data to back things up. If you can make a good case for yourself, your professional career should never have to suffer.

2. Switch to a Roth IRA

When it comes to the types of accounts that you have at your disposal and which are your best options, it’s difficult to find a better candidate than the Roth IRA. Roth IRAs come along with the benefits of tax-free earnings, which can make a huge difference over a long enough period of time. What you agree when switching to a Roth IRA is paying any applicable taxes now, which is done in return for gaining tax-free earnings in the future. It’s a savings plan that people of all walks of life can benefit from if they utilize it properly, and making the switch is more than worth considering.

If you’re not well-versed on what switching will do for you, take a few moments to read more on why converting to a Roth IRA may be right for you.

3. Change Careers

One of the major reasons why people experience final stress is because they either don’t like their jobs or are simply not making enough money doing what they do. Changing careers can be a scary, sometimes dangerous move to make, but it can also be one of the best things you can do for yourself if you feel like it’s the right time. If the idea of moving on to something bigger and better appeals to you, it’s important to remember that career changes don’t happen overnight. You’ve got to keep your current job, all the while taking steps to break into what might be a completely different industry, depending upon your interests.

Put the right amount of work in, though, and you’ll find that there are few things more exciting in life than leaving behind a job you can’t stand.

4. Start Planning for Retirement

It’s not uncommon for those under the age of 30 to scoff at the idea of saving for retirement. After all, it’s decades away, right? Maybe so, but waiting too long to get the retirement ball rolling can have hugely adverse effects on your financial health years down the road. The simple fact of the matter is, the earlier you start planning and saving for retirement, the less issues you’ll run into once you reach retirement age. Investing as little as $100 per month into a 401K can be a great way to introduce yourself to the practice, and it’ll add up, too.

The most important thing is not to be scared of retirement planning. It might seem overwhelming, but it’s less confusing than you likely think.

5. Track Your Habits

Have you ever looked at your bank statements and asked yourself how you possibly could’ve spent so much money in a month’s time? It’s a common issue that results from a problem most people have to some extent – a lack of organization. Tracking your spending habits via an app or simple ledger is an essential aspect of understanding how and where you spend your money. Over time, you’ll learn to develop a keen eye for spending trends that you may have, which will allow you to cut back in certain areas to further tweak your budget.
Most online banking platforms will automatically sort your purchases into different categories, so be sure to look into how you might be able to take advantage of this feature.

Being a boss is about taking control. 2014 can be your year, so long as you put in the work.

  

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Get Rid of Debt Like a Man

stacks of 100 bills

You want to be that guy who buys everyone in the bar a drink. You want to be the guy who whisks a girl off her feet to Paris or Iceland or Buenos Aires at a moment’s notice. You want the Tag Heuer Monaco watch, the vintage Triumph, and if it’s not asking too much, the Bugatti Veyron.

It all can be yours.

Now for the buzzkill: the first step to a lifetime of getting exactly what you want is to responsibly manage your finances. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who nabbed a full college scholarship or at least a full parental scholarship, chances are you entered your adult life carrying around personal debt on your back like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Instead of squeezing a growing hunchback into a John Varvatos suit you can’t afford anyway, man up and take some personal responsibility for your finances.

1. Budget

Hopefully this first step is a no brainer. But if you’re the kind of guy who likes to throw cash down to impress people, it’s possible you ignore this critical personal finance step every day of your life even if you know better.

Stop ignoring it.

There’s a reason so many sports players, rock gods, and millionaires face bankruptcy. It doesn’t matter how much money you draw in, if you overspend your earnings your ship is sunk early.

Set out goals. If you want the finer things in life, figure out how you can save up to afford them over time instead of racking up credit card debt and hoping to hit it big your next weekend at Vegas. Responsible financial planning actually allows you to enjoy the things you buy more, because they are not weighed down with a heavy anchor of interest fees and late payment penalties. Set a budget, stick to it. You can create a line item for fun, budgeting doesn’t have to be austere. It just needs to be smart.

2. Find the Best Deals

The internet makes hunting down discounted items easier than ever. Maximize your budget by finding steals online. EBay, Craigslist.org and other sites allow your to get the things your want from the suckers who bought them at full price and then couldn’t afford them. Profit from their mistakes.

Find areas in your budget where the cost of necessities can be reduced. For instance, deregulation opened the Texas electric utilities market wide open. Do a little leg work to research the best utility prices in your area. You can apply this tactic to your business if you are an entrepreneur as well. Texas Commercial Energy prices offer competitive rates. Saving money both at home and in your work finances will allow you to enjoy financial freedom sooner than later. Sure saving a 20 here or there won’t get you a Bugatti, but savings add up and you will notice them sooner than later.

Don’t forget the power of negotiation. Don’t settle for high prices if you don’t have to. On the car lot, when buying property and when going after business deals, approach each financial transaction with tenacity and the cajones to get the deal you deserve.

3. Invest

Part of getting financially secure in your youth means preparing for a superior financial life in your maturity. Struggling with debt at retirement age turns some old men into greeters at Wal-Mart while other men get to be Hugh Hefner. Choose to be Hef.

Work robust amounts of investments into your retirement portfolio. The market of recent years has made many risk averse, however a young man with no responsibilities except to himself is in the perfect position to double down on stocks and bonds. Talk with a financial planner, and then drop some dollars into the market like you would a Saturday night at the club. If you get lucky, you could be looking at the watch, motorcycle, the suit, the girl and very early retirement on the Amalfi Coast.

Part of growing into manhood means taking charge of your financial situation early. Take the bull by the horns pay down debt aggressively, find savings through research and negotiation, and play the markets to come out ahead.

  

ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 series returns tonight with ‘Broke’

Why do so many athletes end up broke despite making millions of dollars in their career? That’s the question posed by documentary filmmaker Billy Corbin in “Broke,” the new documentary from ESPN Films that relaunches the acclaimed “30 for 30″ documentary series. The athletes interviewed range from Andre Risen to Bernie Kosar as Corbin tries to find common threads in their stories.

Corbin also directed “The U” from the original 30 for 30 series along with the excellent “Cocaine Cowboys.” The story of broke pro athletes is unfortunately a very common one, and recently reports surfaced that Vince Young has blown through millions.

“Broke” premieres tonight at 8:00 PM EST on ESPN.

  

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