Your family has current needs and future goals. Transportation, food, shelter, technology, and entertainment can eat at monthly income. You also have to plan for college, retirement, or other large-ticket items for months or years down the road. We offer four ways to make your money support you and your family now and in the future.

Reduce

Money can work for your family when you stretch it. This means having a budget to plan your spending. While many methods exist, one common approach calls for you to devote half of your monthly income to needs such as mortgage or rent, food, utilities, and transportation. The 50/30/20 method has you budgeting another 30 percent for wants and 20 percent for savings.

Budgets also prompt you to identify ways to cut costs. For example, consider store-label or generics over national brands at the grocery store. Cook more at home. If you dine out, order water rather than sodas or drinks that typically range between $2 and $3 depending on the restaurant. Reduce the number of trips to conserve gas. “Cutting the cord” could save you on cable or satellite bills.

Save

Many studies testify to the relative lack of personal savings habits. By one government survey, roughly one in every four consumers cannot meet emergencies with savings. Another 39 percent lack enough savings for a month or more.

Saving money affords your family money to meet emergencies, put down payments on homes and cars, pay for college, and supply retirement. Withdrawals from a 529 college education savings account are not taxed so long as they pay for qualified expenses such as tuition. You can save for retirement through mutual funds, 401(k) plans, and other funds.

Invest

Money placed in bonds, stocks, and other investments can yield growth and returns for your family’s financial goals. Investment decisions often turn upon the strength of the company whose shares you might choose. You likely will take into account assets, liabilities, debt, earnings, and other markers of a company’s financial performance.

Companies announce their financial portrait for a period through earnings calls. Live earnings transcription services provide users access to live, real-time discussions of profits, earnings per share, forecasts for future periods, and other news about the companies. You can listen to and obtain transcripts of the statements of company executives or representatives on these conference calls or web-based meetings. These services also transcribe or live-stream shareholders’ meetings and other corporate events so that you can promptly have information for investment decisions.

Stream

Income streams often supplement your regular household wages or salaries. Active streams include freelance photography and writing, side repair or construction jobs, and selling products. With a passive stream, income flows indirectly rather than directly from work. You can find passive income opportunities through renting out a home or commercial establishment, royalties on a book, music, photography, or art used by others; and operating a laundromat.

Use budgeting, investments, and other income streams to make your money last and grow. If you venture into the stock market, keep yourself informed of the company’s news and finances.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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