“Without commitment, you’ll never start… without consistency, you’ll never finish”
The most important moment in your financial journey is always right now. No matter what season of life you may be in from college to retirement, the decisions you are making today are going to have an immense impact on tomorrow. For each day that you wait to get started on improving your credit, building up an emergency savings account, or funding your investment goals, it’s not only costing you money but time. Losing money, while frustrating is not necessarily our greatest loss. Time on other hand is not as forgiving; once it’s lost it can never be replaced. That critical detail must inform our financial habits and shape our our level of commitment, sacrifice, and open-mindedness with respect to handling money. Below are some examples of life changes that require a sense of urgency in getting our financial house in order.
Getting Married Or Starting A Family
As any couple can attest, marriage comes with its own unique set of financial obstacles. Almost every decision you make as a married couple will have some sort of financial impact, including the wedding day itself. According to theknot.com the typical wedding costs more than $33,000 with an average expense of $268 per guest. Assuming that price tag falls squarely on the the couple themselves, this means it will immediately begin to compete with other major priorities like buying a home, advancing your education, or planning for retirement. Some additional considerations include: changes in work benefits, life insurance coverage, and tax implications. Since none of these areas are particularly easy to navigate alone, the best investment for the sake of your marriage (or family) may be hiring a trusted advisor such as a Certified Financial Planner or Certified Public Accountant. Start by asking other couples and families who they may be using for their own financial planning needs and then go from there.
Purchasing A New Home
As challenging and overwhelming as picking out a new house can be, the effects of being unprepared are even more stressful. According to Zillow.com, the median cost of a home purchase right now is just over $217,000. Assuming a 20% downpayment on a conventional mortgage, that means you would need somewhere around $43,000 saved up for a home purchase. While it isn’t necessarily a requirement to make a 20% downpayment nor to purchase a home this expensive, the math does give some indication of how challenging it can become. For many people, saving up that downpayment amount while trying to pay off student loan debt and fund their investment goals seems almost impossible to manage. The key is to start preparing right now and to educate yourself on as many solutions as possible. One simple alternative could be asking for a seller-assist or shopping for a FHA mortgage that only requires a 3.5% downpayment for first-time homebuyers. Here again, asking the people you know for references on real estate agents and mortgage specialists can pay huge dividends.
Launching A Business
Among the many challenges of becoming an entrepreneur is how you will manage your personal finances vs. your business finances. And it’s important to note that the financial principles and strategies you live by each and every day will get reflected in how your business operates. With SBA.gov reporting that half of all businesses don’t survive past the five-year mark, your level of financial knowledge will be critical to the success rate of your business. Therefore, some of the key steps you’ll want to take include becoming more disciplined in your monthly budget as well as forming a solid debt elimination strategy. Additionally it’s important to separate your business funds from personal funds so that they don’t become co-mingled for IRS purposes.
These are just some of the many life changes that require a financial mindset-shift as we encounter them. Above all however, we must understand that the financial goals and assumptions we have have today will become outdated if they don’t evolve with our lives tomorrow.