Except for those folks who are born accountants, most people find dealing with personal finances a chore. People are loath to manage their finances for all sorts of reasons, including not being comfortable with math, not having time, or even being fearful of finding out that there's just not enough money in the bank to cover the bills. But you must have a clear understanding of your finances to maintain or improve your financial health.
If you want to keep your spending under control, it's essential that you make a budget. A budget allows you to get a handle on the flow of your money -- how much is coming in and where it goes out. With that information in hand, you can make intelligent choices about how to spend.
An important step in the process of teaching kids about money management is deciding whether or not to give your child an allowance. The decision to provide an allowance (or not) really depends on what system works best for your particular family and each particular child. If you are thinking of giving your kid an allowance, clarify your goals and the purpose of the allowance first.
Ask any financial planner: One of the first and most important steps you should take to safeguard your financial stability is to set aside an emergency reserve fund. The idea is that the fund can be used either for a major unexpected cost (such as medical expenses) or to cover your basic living expenses if you (or your spouse or partner) is temporarily out of work.
Many people get carried away during the holidays. In fact, consumers spend more money in the three months before New Year's -- on presents, travel, and entertaining -- than at any other time of the year. And much of that buying is done on credit, which can lead to major debt problems for months or even years to come. To keep your cheer intact before and after the holidays, we've compiled a few tips that will help you be generous without inviting disaster.
If you loan money to a friend or family member, you may feel that his or her word, or a handshake, is enough to seal the deal. Instead, use a document called a promissory note to detail the terms of the loan agreement. Avoid disagreements about when the loan is due, and clarify its not a gift.