Finance is really not that complicated.

by J. Money on Monday, August 31, 2009

Finance no = hard.Seriously, personal finance is not all that complicated. Sure it can get crazy when you throw in estate planning and charity foundations, but the principles behind personal finance are as easy as they come.

You can actually strip it down to just a few points:

1. Spend less than you earn.

Make $50k a year? Great, spend $49,999 or less (or whatever your after-tax amount comes out to). Got your paycheck and it’s an even $1,000? Awesome, just don’t spend any more than that and you’re golden. It’s really not that convoluted.

2. Don’t go into debt.

Don’t spend money lavishly and throw all sorts of stuff you don’t need on your credit card. Don’t take out $40k loans for a new car, or a new boat, or a new electronic robot that makes you coffee and brushes your teeth for you every morning. Again, nothing too complicated here.

3. Save money.

Whether it be in a savings account, a checking account, your 401(k), your Roth IRA, your safe, or even in your bed mattress (which I really wouldn’t advise), storing away money is a pretty simple concept – all you have to do is NOT spend it ;)

I bring this up so matter-of-factly because a lot of people I know try to make this much harder than it really is. Wake up – it’s not! If you’re just looking for excuses to avoid responsibility, then by all means do your thing. But if you really CARE about making a change and laying down your financial foundation, then snap out of it and START. The basic rules of personal finance are easy, it’s applying yourself that’s the hard part.


PS: Some of my favorite tools:
personal capital Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review
digit.co Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review
acorns Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review

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