- Pay yourself first: set aside an amount to save every week, every paycheck, or once a month. Have it automatically deducted if you can. This will become your emergency fund. Even if you can only tuck away $10, DO IT! The key here is to get into the habit NOW.
- Envelope budgeting: this is how you will find that extra $10 a month! It can actually be fun because there are two kinds of expenses:
- Give back even when times are tight: Giving back is another way of investing in your future. It makes our communities better, our hearts bigger, and, believe it or not, it can even fatten your wallet. How is that possible?
- Make sure they are answering YOUR questions and not just circling back around to their own agenda. Keep asking your questions until they are answered. At a first meeting, the professional should be trying to get to know you, not to sell you their products.
- This is a BIG one: never ever ever ever (and one more never, just for added emphasis) write a check to an individual or their company. All funds should be directed to a third party custodian, not the name of the financial planner with whom you are meeting. Your quarterly statements should also come to you in your name from the third party custodian.
- Look for longevity and experience. Over 90% of financial planners don’t make it past their 3rd year. It’s a tough business, so you want to make sure you find somebody who has been doing it successfully for several years. Don’t be afraid to ask for and contact references. Find out how they did during both good times and bad.
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