so, I should start by saying that I’m not at all an expert in anything financial- and I wouldn’t really even say that I’m all that financially literate. none of the links I’ll provide are affiliate or sponsored or anything, I’m just sharing what research I’ve done and the things I’m trying.
a goal of mine is to become more financially literate & share my learnings with my family and community, even if they aren’t totally game-changing or huge.
the more we know, the less we have to worry, right? that’s my hope.
heres what I did in April to unfuck my finances/just get a handle on them:
1. I downloaded Mint - why? cuz I suck at doing a traditional spreadsheet budget (tho I looove spreadsheets, go figure).
Goal: to have a daily/weekly check in with what money is going where & see all accounts in one place (credit card, checking, savings, Roth IRA, PayPal, phone bill)
how: using mint for 3 months (began this tracking in Jan 2018, but only closely attended to in April), seeing what insights I get, and using the budget tool to set reasonable and realistic amounts for each spending category.
Bonus: see your credit score easily on mint! You are entitled to 3 FREE credit checks per year, I believe, so you can check yours now. & just be aware that applying for credit and checking your credit does affect your score so don’t go too bananas with it.
2. I set up a Roth IRA with Charles Schwab
why? Charles Schwabb has come recommended- and it’s easy to set up and also to invest.
why roth? The one thing I did learn in my personal finances class at Berkeley was that Roth IRAs are taxed on their initial amount (small) and NOT taxed when you take money out in retirement (when the magic of compounding interest has done its thing)
A NOTE FOR LATER: google "retirement savings contribution credit" - it’s a % credited back to you for retirement contributions up to $2000.
3. I opened a savings account, not with my usual bank (because my bank has abysmal APYs)
why? Online banks have savings accounts with higher yield interest than most banks. 1.6% goes a lot farther than 0.06%. I used Marcus by Goldman Sachs - came well-reviewed and was a simple set up process.
4. I did my taxes (for free).
how: I used irs.gov/freefile to find a service that provided me with tax help for free, I used turbo tax in the end, for no specific reason really, I think that’s just always the one my parents used.
5. I (plan to) get my library card and got an overdrive account
why? I have a lot of required reading this year (self imposed) and I don’t have a budget for books (or just a couple), so I can save in this way. overdrive gives you access to audiobooks free, which is huge for me because I love audio.
For now, that’s what I’ve done. My other tasks include continuing to read financial literacy blogs and adding any cash expenditures into my Mint spending tracking && continuing to research credit cards to figure out which is best for me.
oh, and writing out a specific money goal for this year- still a lil afraid of this task. working my way up to it.
what about you? Do you do any of the above? Other things? I’d love to hear them!