Contributed by: Matthew E. Chope, CFP®
When it comes to keeping track of finances, my advice for the young is to keep it simple and straightforward and get qualified help if needed. That starts by finding a way to track your money without making it an obsession. Begin by tracking your finances at least once a month. To do this, simply add up what’s coming in and then look at where it’s going. Once you’ve established that you are indeed living within your means, it is time to establish two kinds of savings accounts that you contribute to each month:
1. Build a “Save to Spend” account
2. Build a long-term financial security account (i.e. 401k or IRA)
The Save to Spend account is where you park money for the short term to be spent on things that lead you toward the 100 things you want to accomplish in life (read this blog if you don’t have your 100 things list yet). The long-term security account is for financial independence, which will eventually allow you to work because you want to not because you have to.
Investing does not need to be overly complicated either. For some good reading to help you build knowledge about investing, here are a few books I recommend:
- The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton
- A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel
- A Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle
- The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie & Gordon S. Murray
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko
Once you understand the basic principles -- like diversification, pay yourself first, don’t miss a match, maximizing deductions and credits, and dollar costs averaging -- and if you have the interest to follow those principles, then do it on your own but keep it simple. Remember to review my previous blog about using time to your advantage (start early – start now!). It might make sense though, to consider getting qualified help managing your money, especially if this is something you’re not interested in doing. If you’re looking for help, here are 7 key components to help you find the right person.
Matthew E. Chope, CFP ® is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Matt has been quoted in various investment professional newspapers and magazines. He is active in the community and his profession and helps local corporations and nonprofits in the areas of strategic planning and money and business management decisions. In 2012 and 2013, Matt was named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine.
Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served.
The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Matthew Chope, CFP® and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.