In addition to tools such as Mint, Intuit’s Quicken personal finance software gives you the ability to track and maintain records of bank accounts, credit cards, loans, brokerage accounts, IRA accounts, insurance policy status, and various other transactions.
Do you have an up-to-date to-do list?
Whether you maintain a to-do list in a traditional day planner or on an electronic device, it’s essential that you have a written plan for what you would like to achieve, says Young. It can be daily, weekly, or monthly. “Having a current to-do list reflects that you have identified, quantified, and prioritized your goals. Research has proven that goals that are written down are more likely to be achieved.”
Let’s say one of your goals is to pay off your debts. When you go to the mall and see a dress you like, you need to know that spending that $200 means you’ll have $200 less to pay toward your debts. You’re even more aware when you have a specific dollar amount, adds Young. For instance, if your goal is to retire early and you need to save $600 a month to do it, it becomes easier to make daily buying decisions.
“Having a better sense of your day translates into having a better sense of your money,” Young says. “When you become more strategic about managing your daily life, you become more strategic about managing your finances.”
LifeWellth.com, a personal finance resource, now provides an iPad app that helps you set and formulate custom long-term plans to reach financial goals such as retirement, purchasing a home, and saving for college.
Do you have protection plans on your electronic devices?
Protection plans protect you from the loss or malfunction of your gadgets. Let’s say you lost your $300 smartphone. With a protection plan, you have the option of receiving a free replacement or paying a small fee. Ask yourself if you can manage the risk, says Young. If your $500 tablet is lost, stolen, or destroyed, can you afford a new one without financial difficulty?
(Continued on next page)