Finances Are Complicated: How To Know If You Really Have Your Spending Under Control

If you were lucky enough to have financial education classes at school or work, you probably learned to save, invest, and reduce debt. But did anyone ever teach you how to spend money?

Living below your means is one of the most important factors of long-term financial success, but it can be tricky — especially as your income increases. I have quite a few clients who make a million dollars a year and spend all of it.  

In order to learn to spend your money well — meaning on your needs and things that bring you great value — ask these three questions:

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5 Hands On Exercises To Teach Your Teenager How To Master Their Money

Teenagers want three things, according to parenting expert Mark Gregston, “To make decisions about themselves, to feel like they’re in control, and to have opportunities to prove their maturity and to show you that they can do it.”

 

For parents, the good news is that giving them those three things can make them better with money as adults. Teaching kids about finances is best done through experience. The lessons can be like getting a learner’s permit (with adult guidance) before getting a driver’s license (with complete control over the vehicle).

 

Parents who give their kids control over a portion of their money — and guide them in their decision-making — raise teens who are better prepared for the world. Here are some ideas for giving teens a framework for making money decisions.

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5 Hands On Exercises To Teach Your Tweens About Money

If your child learns the value of a dollar early in life, she’ll turn her future income into wealth.

I’m a career financial planner and a mom, so money lessons were an important part of my kids’ upbringing. As I watch my adult children make money decisions today, I can see that they took the lessons to heart.

My son negotiated a $5,000 bump in salary after receiving his first job offer. As a result of that money move, he may make $600,000 more over his lifetime (according to a study by George Mason and Temple University). Another son saved all of his bonus money and bought himself a condo at age 27. He didn’t want his rent to pay for someone else’s mortgage.

Where do you start with your pre-teen, and what lessons should you teach them?

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3 Simple Questions To Ask Yourself In The Dressing Room That Will Blow Your Mind And Save Money

It’s amazing how much money slips through our fingers.

Once I started tracking my spending, I found my frequent trips to discount retailers added up. Buying a dress or blouse for $25 – $30 seemed like no big deal but take all together, the purchases added up to $120 – $150 a month. Until I started tracking my spending, I didn’t even realize I was spending so much money on “extras.”

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No Retirement Plan At Work? A Lousy One? Here Are 5 Ways To Make Up For It And Retire On Time

Though workplace plans can be imperfect, it’s undeniably easier to save for your golden years when your employer offers a retirement account.

Unfortunately, not all workers have access to a retirement plan at work. According to 2016 research by Pew Charitable Trusts, over one-third of private sector workers (who are not self-employed, farmers, or in the military) do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Moreover, an employer match is a huge incentive for workers to save. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2017 Retirement Confidence Study, nearly 3 out of 4 workers who were not saving in their retirement plans would welcome a match. The survey found workers would be somewhat more likely to save if they were offered one.

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One Big Money Mistake Couples Often Make Before Having Their First Child

When you have a child, your priorities change. This may seem obvious, but it caught me by surprise when I was a new mom.

My career had always brought me a great deal of satisfaction. I had always loved working, so I had no idea how much I’d want to stay home with my baby during those early years.

When my son was four months old, I went to drop him off at childcare to head off to a business meeting. At the childcare center, I rocked him in a rocking chair and suddenly, tears started rolling down my face. I just couldn’t leave him that day. Finally after about 20 minutes, I packed him back up and headed home instead. Right then, I decided my plans needed to change.

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New Parents: Here Are Your First Two Money Moves When Baby Arrives

I’ll never forget holding my infant son in my arms and rocking him back to sleep in the middle of the night by the fireplace. In that moment, life stood still for me.

Whenever I think of those early days, that wonderful memory of holding my tiny boy comes back to me as if it were yesterday, even though it was 28 years ago.

Your life will change a lot in your first year as a parent. As with most life milestones, there are a couple of very important financial moves to make during that time.

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New Parents Dilemma: Should I Save For My Child’s College Or My Retirement?

This story originally appeared on Forbes.com as New Parents: Which Comes First, Saving For Your Kid’s College Or Funding Your Retirement?

Saving for college before funding retirement seems like a no-brainer for new parents.

When a new baby is born, you may think, “College is only 18 years away, while retirement is way down the line!” You may even think you’ll never retire at all, so why worry about it now? You certainly don’t want your kids burdened with student loans like you were.

This knee-jerk reaction could pose problems later. Regardless of your gut instinct, saving for retirement comes first.

You may be wondering why a financial planner is discouraging new parents from saving for college — aren’t planners always telling people to save for their goals?

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