4 Do’s and Don’ts For Personal Finance

We are still in the midst of the deepest recession in more than sixty years. Many American’s have lost their jobs, have been forced to sell their homes at a loss and are left wondering if we are ever going to get out of this mess. I decided to do a little research that may be useful in these troubled times and discovered some great do’s and don’ts that may be very helpful.

DO KEEP SOME EXTRA CASH HANDY: We all have different styles of living however it is very important to save for that dreaded ‘rainy day’. According to Business Week some investors recommend adjusting your personal finance and saving $12,000 per adult, another recommendation is to save six to nine months in living expenses. Either is suitable but attempt to do whatever is best suited for you to keep the bills paid.

DON’T PUT ALL OF YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET: That old adage holds very true with investing your money in good times and in difficult times such as these. Imagine how traumatic it would be to lose most of your savings if the one company you had invested in went bankrupt. I can think of a few major companies that have done just that in recent months and I’m certain there will be more. Instead you should diversify your personal finance’s between fixed income and stocks also try to diversify that money between small and large companies.

DO THINK ABOUT ENERGY COSTS AND SAVINGS: Both American and Canadian governments are currently offering tax credits to home owners who make home renovations. Consider going green with those upgrades. You will be able to write off some of those expenses and you will save on your energy bills in the long run.

DON’T STOP MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS TO YOUR RETIREMENT: Personal finance decisions in recession times. When everything is going well people tend to invest more. When times are tough people invest less. Ironically that is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. Investing when markets are at their lowest will create a higher rate of return in the long run.

DO KEEP A TIGHTER BUDGET: Another almost startling statistic is that alcohol consumption seems to peak during recession times. Rather than buy that case of beer or bottle of wine, save that money in your ‘rainy day’ fund. Besides, personal finances decisions are best not made when intoxicated

DON’T MAKE DRASTIC MOVES: Stay focused with your plan. Those shares you used to purchase at $20 may only cost $5 now and will be worth four times as much in the not so distant future. If you sell now, you will only get $5 for the share’s you bought at $20, also known as a substantial loss. The numbers don’t lie.

DO CONSIDER STOCKS AS AN INVESTMENT OPTION: The stock market for many people is a scary thing, especially if you aren’t sure how the whole thing works. Many personal finance advisors agree that the next few years are a chance of a lifetime to consider stocks. Do your homework and you may find yourself in a very favourable situation.

DON’T INVEST IN SOMETHING YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND: As I eluded to in the last point, do your homework with your investments. If Jimmy from work has this ‘great lead’ on a sure investment, don’t take his word for it. Research your investments on your own before you make them. It’s kind of like taking a car out for a test drive before you buy it. You can never be too sure with your money.

The best course of action to take for your personal finance’s is to know where your money is invested, be patient and seek financial advice. Even though these times are tough, now is actually the best chance in nearly a century to make your investments truly pay incredible rates of return. Happy investing!

I used businessweek.com as a reference for this blog post.

Personal Finance: 20 Dos & Don’ts for 2009

Author: Ben Steverman

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