Photo: Nicolas I. / Unsplash
Whether you’re just starting out as a fresh-faced young adult or you have a few years under your belt, it’s hard to get ahead or save for the future if your finances are all over the place. If you have no real idea of the money coming and going from your bank account(s), or you aren’t investing for the future, you could be headed for a world of hurt.
The good news is that simplifying your finances is easy. It requires some planning, but once you have everything in place, your financial plan will largely take care of itself. In the paragraphs below, you’ll find some powerful ways to streamline your finances in 2023.
If you’re still in the habit of completing your income tax return on paper, you are likely missing out on many tax breaks. When you do your tax return online, by contrast, the software (or professional accountant) will ensure every deduction or credit you qualify for is addressed. That means you get the biggest refund you have coming, and you are less likely to be audited.
If your employer offers a 401k retirement plan, enroll and contribute the maximum amount. This strategy will ensure you save the most money possible. It will also ensure that your employer contributes the highest amount as well. The employer contribution is like free money, so why not take advantage? If you aren’t already enrolled in your employer’s 401k retirement plan, make it a point to do so ASAP.
Most companies don’t give you a choice – direct deposit is it. In the rare case that your employer does give you a choice, and you’re still receiving a paper check every payday, don’t wait a minute longer to sign up for the direct deposit option.
Direct deposit makes your money available to you immediately – no more waiting for a paper check to clear. Even if payday falls on a holiday and your bank is closed, you’ll still receive your pay electronically and be able to use it right away.
In years past, people thought having multiple checking accounts was the best way to protect their money. The logic was that, should one bank go under, you still had at least one (or more) accounts with money in them.
These days, however, this just isn’t a concern. Having more than one checking account is unnecessary and complicated. If you have more than one checking account for no other reason than to have more than one, consolidate them into one free account, and stop wasting so much time and energy.
Late payments, especially on credit cards, can cost you a small fortune in fees and penalties. To avoid late payments and make life easier, consider setting up autopay for your bills.
You can set up autopay in one of two ways: through your bank or with the creditors themselves. When setting up autopay, choose due dates that correspond with your paydays. That way, you’ll know money is always available in your bank account when the due dates roll around.
With all the technology available today where finances are concerned, there is no reason to worry about doing things manually. Commit to streamlining your finances in 2023 by adopting one or more of the suggestions listed above.
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