There are many things you are probably supposed to be doing right now. You may even have a to-do list. And every one of those things seems really important. Before you do any of them, do these three things right now to prepare for your financial future:
1. Live Like You Are Going to Die Tomorrow
By this, I don’t mean have fun. Though by all means, have fun. Live without regret and all that good stuff. But also, l mean make some decisions like you might actually die tomorrow. I’m talking about life insurance and a will.
Life insurance can protect your loved ones when you die. It can help them keep paying the mortgage, it can help put your kids through school or it can simply pay your final expenses so no one has to go into debt.
Think about the expenses you will leave behind and make sure you aren’t being a burden on your spouse, parents, children or friends.
Work with an attorney to draft a will so your family and friends will know your wishes. You may think you don’t have much to worry about but it’s amazing how even a small amount of money can cause a fight. Also, you don’t want to add stress at an already stressful time (your death).
2. Plan Like You Are Going to Live Forever
Yes, you are going to die sometime but it probably won’t be tomorrow. That’s the good news. The bad news is life is expensive. So you need to start planning now that you will live to a very old age.
If you haven’t already, start contributing to your retirement. Do it early and do it often. If your employer has a 401(k) match program, make sure you are getting the most you can. Aim to up your 401(k) contribution by at least 1% every year.
Look into individual retirement accounts and Roth IRA plans to supplement your 401(k) or in case your employer doesn’t offer one. Put money into these accounts and leave it be. You may be tempted to tap into these accounts but you will be happier in the long run if you don’t.
3. Do Something Right Now
Set aside money right now. Put $20 or even a quarter in a jar. This can be the start of that retirement fund, the money to pay for that life insurance policy or money for an emergency fund. Whatever the goal is, start saving as soon as you finish reading this. The key is to start paying yourself regularly. Get in the habit and see your savings grow. You’re done. Time to start that savings pile.
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