Managing money is an important life skill. Whether you’re a few years into your first job, or a few years away from retirement, do it well and your financial stress will disappear. Do it poorly and you’ll probably find yourself in a difficult situation more often than not.
The problem is we were never taught how to do this! We were never told how to manage our money. We were never told how to budget, how to pay bills, how to invest, or how to save.
We were never taught about best practices like emergency funds or automated investment plans.
Some of us may have been lucky enough to have a parent or older sibling who was good with money. We were able to learn by watching them manage their money. But because money is so secretive, its often hard to see what they were actually doing on a day-to-day basis.
This post will cover a few of the best practices, the best money management tips, and the best ways to manage your money.
If you’re reading this post my guess is that you’re probably already doing some of these things, or maybe all of them! But you might find something new to add to your financial routine. Something to make it stronger and easier to manage in the future.
Emergency funds are great. There are lots of reasons why you should have an emergency fund. Financial emergencies happen all the time. It could be an unexpected car repair, the deductible on your home insurance, or something really terrible, like dropping your iPhone and it shattering into a million pieces.
The common recommendation is to have between 3 and 6 months of living expenses in your e-fund (more if you have variable income or work in an industry known for layoffs).
But saving 3 to 6 months of expenses can seem daunting. Even saving up just one month of expenses in your emergency fund can take a very long time if you’re just making ends meet.
Don’t get discouraged, emergency funds are great, even small ones. Having just $100 in a savings account can make a huge difference.
If it seems like it’s taking forever to reach your e-fund goal, and you want to build your emergency fund faster, then try one, two, or all eight of these ideas to help boost your e-fund quickly.
Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t have a care in the world? No responsibilities, nothing to worry about, nothing to stress over. Well you can get that feeling again, or close to it, by having an emergency fund.
An emergency fund, or “e-fund”, is amazing! An emergency fund is like a big financial blanket. It helps you stay warm and cozy during a rough financial storm.
You can also think of an emergency fund like a seat belt. Most of the time it’s just there doing nothing… but when an emergency happens your e-fund jumps into action to prevent serious financial harm.
An emergency fund is a pile of money you keep tucked away in a safe place in case of a financial emergency. Your pile of emergency savings should be equivalent to 3-6 months of living expenses, but it can be much smaller to start.
Emergency funds can be smaller if you have high interest debt (which should be a priority), or if you have a strong safety net (ie. parents, friends, relatives that can help provide support or help reduce expenses in an emergency).
Building an emergency fund takes time. It’s something you should contribute to regularly with each paycheck.
Emergency’s happen from time to time so your budget should include monthly savings to replenish your e-fund.
To be honest, e-funds are boring. An emergency fund should be invested in a high-interest savings account earning 1-2% interest. This protects the principal but it can also feel very boring. In this case though, boring is good. Boring means that your money will definitely be there when you need it most.
It can be tempting to invest your emergency fund in the stock market…
When you’re on a tight budget the fear of the unknown is very real. Any little bump can cause major issues. Things like an emergency fund are key to help avoid those issues. An emergency fund helps bridge the gap when cash flow is tight. More importantly however is that an emergency fund helps you worry less about the unknown.
Emergency funds aren’t the only thing that can help you worry less.
There are many things you can do to increase your financial flexibility and worry less about those unknown problems that come up from time to time.
One thing you can do is have a high savings rate. Having a high (+20%) savings rate will give you room breathe.
Another thing you can do is have more than one income stream. Having income from your job, plus investments, plus rentals/AirBnB, plus side gigs will help increase your financial flexibility.
Lastly, and this is what I want to share with you now, having an emergency budget will help you prepare for the bad times and worry less during the good times.
A lot. That’s how many.
Last year 64% of millennials said that they feel stressed about their finances!*
Financial stress impacts us more than any other stress factor. More than our family, more than our health, more than our job, we stress about money the most.
This isn’t too surprising.
Money is at the center of everything we do. Without money, we can’t survive. In the past, it was possible to get by without money. You could barter, trade, do it yourself. But in the 21st century that’s not realistic. Are you going to build your own smart phone? Everyone needs money.
Because everyone needs money everyone is at risk of feeling financial stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five ways to reduce your financial stress.