Tips to organize your finances at any age

Money – or a lack of it – will play a major role throughout your life. Even so, many of us lack confidence when it comes to managing the funds we have. Whatever age or stage you’re at, here are a few things it’s never too early or too late to do to help get your finances in order.

Know your money emotions
It’s useful to understand how you react to money. We are often spenders or savers from a young age. As you grow older, what do you find challenging about managing money and what is it you like or find easy about it? Maybe you struggle with goal setting or impulsive spending, but you love tracking your purchases and crunching numbers. You can use this kind of insight to create a spending plan you’re likely to follow.

The whys and hows of spending plans
Even though it can seem like a hassle, a budget or spending plan can actually remove a lot of stress from money management. It gives you a blueprint to come back to when you’re tempted to overspend and gives you permission to buy something you want because you know there’s room for it in your plan. You can tailor it to where you’re at. Two popular methods include the envelope method and zero-dollar budget system, but figure out whatever works best for you.

Go back to basics
There are some fundamental concepts to understand when you’re trying to get a handle on your finances, such as different types of bank accounts, how interest works and what credit is. These are great points to start teaching teens about money, and there are many resources online or at the library to help with that. For adults, an introduction or refresher on the basics can be just what you need to demystify what’s holding you back. Organizations like the non-profit ABC Life Literacy Canada provide tools and workshops you can learn from for free.

Save for the near and far
Whether you’re 17 years old or 77, an emergency fund is a smart asset. Even if you’re procrastinating on better budgeting habits, you should still consider socking away even a few dollars a month for a rainy day. Any amount can build up into a small cushion that saves you from unexpected expenses like a lost job, veterinary bills or a long-term illness.

With an emergency fund in place, you may have room in your plans for more long-term thinking when it comes to saving. Explore options like registered retirement savings plans, tax-free savings accounts, and learn about different types of investments.

Find more information and free resources to help you understand the fundamentals of finances at abcmoneymatters.ca

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