Get Rid of Debt

“Good debt is a powerful tool, but bad debt can kill you.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Always try to pay off expensive debt such as credit cards. 💳 Some cards provide amazing points and rewards - but play the system and pay the balance off in full each month.

It sounds so simple but often people don't do it and it's a waste of your money.

Maybe you racked up debt in your 20s - don't let that haunt you indefinitely. Make 2018 the year that you attack your debt and get in control of your finances.

Last week I suggested doing an Excel budget - if you are in debt then this is a must.

Did you have a debt problem that you overcame? How did you do it? 👇Comments below 👇

Build a Budget

I love 😍 budgets and Excel!

Given it's January you really should go and make a mini plan for 2018. Today could be a good day to look at how much you will earn, what your fixed costs are (rent, phone etc), and how much you think you can save.

One step further would be to review what you actual spent your money on in 2017. This might highlight items you can cut back on in 2018.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not one for suggesting you live like a monk to achieve greater wealth. But lets face it - restaurant 🍕 and drink 🍷 bills can add up...😳

Next step: decide what you want to save per month in 2018. Even better would be to set up an automated monthly payment into a savings account.

Putting it in a savings account first means you can always quickly get access to it if you mis-calculated your monthly expenses.

One of the biggest financial elements in your control is how much you save. This 1 decision WILL have a major impact on how good your life is in 15 to 20 years.

You should be saving at least 10% of your income, above 20% is where the magic happens. 40-50% is getting into serious 'retire early' territory.

Go and open Excel now!! Do you love a good spreadsheet as much as me? Comment below 👇

Get A Buffer Fund

Do you have a buffer fund? Some call it a rainy day or contingency fund.

Having lots of cash sat around is not sensible from a long term investing perspective, but having a cash buffer fund DOES make sense.

The idea is to have enough cash to cover most unforeseeable events so that you aren't forced to dip into investment accounts. Murphy's law tells us that when you most need cash is the precise time when the stock or property market has crashed!

Therefore look to have 3-6 months of living expenses put aside. Anything above this should be invested with the expectation that you won't touch it for 5,10,15+ years.

If you don't have that much currently then look to build it up over the next 12 months.

Learn About Robo-Advisors

Should you let a robot invest your money for you? 🤖

If you want to invest in the stock market but don't have the time or inclination to do it then robo-advisors could be your tactical solution.

The fees are lower than using a financial advisor, and the results could be better than you doing it yourself.

It's great to have your financial goals laid out, but they are useless without action. If you live in the UK then you have no excuse given the number of robo-advisors that have popped up.

Unfortunately expats like me have little or no robo options in Asia and the Middle East...however this might change in 2018 with some new companies on the horizon.

Check Your Pensions

Have you moved jobs over your career? Do you know what pension pots you have from each employer? 👨‍🏫👨‍🌾👨‍🏭

This can cause low level stress over decades of your life if you don't sort it out. That nagging feeling that you aren't sure what pensions you have, or how to find out.

This is the week you are going to sort it! 👍

🏃‍♀️ Go and find your log in details this week.

You've probably lost them if you've moved homes too, so you might need to go through the painful process of contacting multiple pension providers. ☎️

Have faith 🙏- you are made of strong stuff 💪and won't hang up when the contact centre puts you on hold for 20 minutes.

If you have lots of small amounts then consider opening a SIPP and consolidating them into 1 pension pot. (If you have final salary schemes you will need a financial advisor to help out - even if it's a small amount).

It's amazing how awesome you feel after doing JUST this simple task. Then you'll be ready to tackle anything 😀

Using Credit Cards Postively

Never quite sure what you spend your money on? 🤔

Try putting all your spending on a good 'points' credit card that you pay off in full at the end of the month 💰💰

This has 2 benefits:
1. You can review your spending every month
2. You can earn points on normal spending items

I go one step further and download my statements into Excel, categorise each item (food, clothes, eat out), and monitor the trend. It only take 10 minutes each month and I've been doing that since 2007! 🤓

It might sound geeky but it makes my wife and I feel in control of our money. Pre-2007 it was always months of blissful blind spending followed by extremely stressful short burst of panic.

Plus the points from credit cards over the years has paid for countless hotels and flights.

How do you keep track of your spending?