Personal Finance

How to Hit a Financial Home Run

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Spring is in the air and that means baseball season is officially here. Growing up in a split household, where my mom rooted for the Mets while my father cheered on the Yankees, baseball was always on the TV or the radio and a frequent dinner table discussion. I knew the rules of America’s pastime before I could tie my shoes. But, like many families, we talked more about sports than personal finance. So now let’s try to combine the two to ensure we all have our financial bases covered.

Hitting a Single

A solid start can set up a successful inning. Getting on base is that start. To hit a single, aim to track what you are spending. There are many different ways to do this — with pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, online tools or apps on your smartphone. The important thing is that you learn where your money is going. It can be an eye-opening experience that gives you some insight on how you can start saving money…but that requires some more power.

Hitting a Double

If you’re looking for a little more power in your swing, use that info you gleaned from tracking your spending to make a budget. A budget compares the money you have coming in and the money you have going out. Looking at your income and expenses side by side can let you determine if your current actions reflect your financial goals. Do you need to bring in more money? You can start looking for a side job, a new job or perhaps ask for a raise. Are you spending a lot of money in one area (like groceries)? You can look for ways to cut back like sticking to a list, using coupons and planning weekly recipes.

Hitting a Triple

Retirement may seem far off, much like third base, and it requires some planning to get there. Thinking about where you see yourself in retirement and how much you need to save can set you up for success later in life. The earlier you start making moves, the sooner you will reach your financial goals (in baseball this would be the equivalent of getting to home plate and scoring a run).

Sliding Into Home

Hitting a home run can make you feel like a hero (or so I’m told). With one swing you can meet your big goal. In order to hit a home run with your finances, consider the financial legacy you would like to leave. Do you want to take care of your family’s expenses after your death? Do you want to make sure they aren’t saddled with debt? Life insurance can help you make sure you don’t leave your loved ones unprepared. To hit a home run, figure out if you need life insurance and how much.

There are many other moves to make to ensure your personal finances are where you want them. These are just four steps you can make to cover your financial bases and ultimately meet your financial goals. Batter up!

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Image: iStock

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