I've seen many families lose everything because they didn't have enough life insurance. I often hear about people who use their retirement investments to pay for unexpected expenses. I've talked with families stuck with high credit card bills because of sudden home repairs. These things can be easily avoided by employing strong financial habits. Here's a list of things you'll need to do to set a solid financial foundation.
1. Set a budget. A common financial mistake is not setting and keeping a monthly budget. Budgeting may not sound exciting, but it's the first thing you'll need to do to take control of your finances. Creating a budget doesn't have to be a complicated process. However, it needs to be detailed and easy to execute.
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2. Get proper insurance coverage. A strong foundation helps a building stay in place, while a weak foundation might cause the structure to fall over when faced with strong winds and floods. The main reason for having insurance coverage is to avoid paying out of pocket for life events. It's important to properly use life, disability, home, car and liability insurance. They are able to protect you from just about anything life throws at you.
My recommendation is not to skimp on the total amount of coverage. Do an analysis on what is right for your family. With one catastrophic event, your financial picture can be devastated if you have a low coverage amount. To save on premiums, you can take on more risk while building a sizable emergency fund. Raising your deductibles will help reduce your premiums.
3. Build an emergency fund. The amount of money to put into your emergency fund depends on the consistency of your paycheck. For most people, three to six months' worth of expenses should be enough. If you earn commission income that fluctuates from month to month, you'll want to grow a larger fund.