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10 Common Questions about Financial Independence – 100 Steps Mission
Learn more about Financial Independence: what it is, why you might want to pursue it and how you can achieve FI.
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10 Common Questions about Saving
10 Common Questions about Debt
10 Common Questions about Financial Independence
Part 10: Aim for Financial Excellence
Part 9: Protect Your Finances
Part 8: Start Investing
Part 7: Plan Your Retirement
Part 6: Increase Your Income
Part 5: Boost Your Savings
Part 4: Tackle Your Debts
Part 3: Check your Expenses
Part 2: Define Your Starting Point
Part 1: Set Your Financial Independence Goals
Book Release: 100 Steps to Financial Independence
7 Ways to Invest Some Extra Cash
Level 3: Tracking My Expenses
Step 3 Infographic: Tracking Your Expenses
Level 2: My Financial Objectives
How to Set Financial Goals using the SMART technique
Level 1: My Commitment to Achieving Financial Independence
Level 0: The start of my mission to FI
The Health / Wealth Balance
Multiply your savings: A crucial step to attain financial independence
Day 31 / 31 Set Goals and Visualize your Dreams
Day 30 / 31 Your Children & Finances
Day 29 / 31 Give to Charity
Day 28 / 31 Celebrate your Victories
Day 27 / 31 Organize your Administration
Day 26 / 31 Update your Estate Plan
Day 25 / 31 Audit your Insurance
Day 24 / 31 Investing Concepts
Day 23 / 31 Should you Invest?
Day 22 / 31 Discover the 3 Ways to Invest
Day 21 / 31 Learn about Shares and Bonds
Day 20 / 31 Calculate your Savings Rate
Day 19 / 31 Discuss Finances with your Partner
Day 18 / 31 Track your Progress
Day 17 / 31 Plan your Pension
Day 16 / 31 Check your Pensions
Day 15 / 31 Pay yourself First
Day 14 / 31 Increase your Income
Day 13 / 31 Your 7 Income Streams
Day 12 / 31 Stop Lifestyle Inflation
Day 11 / 31 Start a Coins Jar
Day 10 / 31 Build a 3 Months Living Fund
Day 9 / 31 Start paying off your debts
Day 8 / 31 Learn about Compound Interest
Day 7 / 31 Start a Weekly Money Moment
Day 6 / 31 – Automate your payments
Day 5 / 31 – Start an emergency Fund
Day 4 / 31 – Limit one Expense
Day 3 / 31 – Start a Budget
Day 2 / 31 – Calculate your Net Worth
Day 1 / 31- Track your Expenses
Get ready for the 31 Day Challenge to Financial Excellence
Coming soon: 31 Day Challenge to Financial Excellence
Step 100: Stick to Your Mission
Step 99: Protect your Money Online
Step 98: Read Personal Finance Books
Step 97: Sequence of Return
Step 96: Dollar Cost Averaging
Step 95: Visualize your Dreams
Step 94: Beware your Credit Score
Step 93: Celebrate your Victories
Step 92: Track you progress
Step 91: Check Your Balances Daily
Step 90: Investing in Gold and Commodities
Step 89: Investing in Real Estate
Step 88: Annuities
Step 87: Play the What If.. game
Step 86: The 8 Stages of Financial Independence
Step 85: Plan your Money Allocation Strategy
Step 84: Find a Mentor
Step 83: Invest in your Individual Capital
Step 82: Pay Yourself First
Step 81: Consider Hiring a Professional
Step 80: Your Savings Rate
Step 79: The 4% Rule
Step 78: Set your Financial Independence Goal
Step 77: Make a Year Budget
Step 76: Translate Expenses into Time-Costs
Step 75: Budget and Spend on YOU
Step 74: Get one Month Ahead
Step 73: Lifestyle Investing Option
Step 72: Rebalance your Portfolio
Step 71: Investing through Crowdfunding
Step 70: Pay off your mortgage
Step 69: Teach your Children about Finances
Step 68: Set aside Money for your Children
Step 67: Digitize your documents
Step 66: Organize your Paperwork
Step 65: Give to Charity
Step 64: Tax Planning
Step 63: An Introduction to Taxes
Step 62: Warranties and Service Contracts
Step 61: Disability Insurance
Step 60: Car Insurance
Step 59: Home & Renter’s Insurance
Step 58: Health Insurance
Step 57: Life Insurance
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3 MONTHS LIVING FUND 7 TYPES OF INCOME 31DAYCHALLENGE 31DAYCHALLENGETOFE 100 STEPS MISSION 100STEPSMISSION ASSETS BEAR MARKET BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS BILLS BONDS BUDGET BULL MARKET CAPITAL GAINS CHILDREN COMPOUND INTEREST DEBT DEBT PAYMENT DEBTS DISCRETIONARY EXPENSES DIVIDEND EMERGENCY FUND ESTATE PLANNING EXPENSE CATEGORIES EXPENSES FINANCE REVIEW FINANCIAL EXCELLENCE FINANCIAL FREEDOM FINANCIAL GOALS FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE IN 10 PARTS FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION FINANCIAL PLANNING FINANCIAL PROTECTION GOALS GOAL SETTING GUARDIANSHIP DESIGNATIONS HEALTH CARE PROXY HEALTH INSURANCE INCOME INCOME STREAMS INDEX FUNDS INSURANCE INTEREST INVESTING LIABILITIES LIFE INSURANCE LIFESTYLE INFLATION LOANS MONEY MONEY MANAGEMENT MUTUAL FUNDS NET WORTH PASSIVE INCOME PENSION PENSIONS PERSONAL PENSIONS POWER OF ATTORNEY PÒRTFOLIO RETIREMENT SAVING SAVINGS SAVINGS EXPENSES SAVINGS RATE SHARES STATE PENSION STEP 2 STOCK MARKET STOCKS TRACKER TRACK YOUR EXPENSES TRUST VARIABLE EXPENSES WILL WORKPLACE PENSIONS
10 Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Money If You Want To Retire Earlier
Be a proactive instrument of financial change in your life. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself every week to be great with your money and retire earlier.
PERSONAL FINANCE EDITORS' PICK
10 Questions To Ask Yourself About Your Money If You Want To Retire Earlier
Nancy L. AndersonContributor
Jul 29, 2018,10:46am EDT
Be a proactive instrument for financial change in your own life.
Be a proactive instrument for financial change in your own life.
You can retire earlier. How much earlier depends on what actions you take with your money now.
In today's society, with so many demands on our money, retiring at all is a challenge. We're trying to invest for our retirement, help fund our kids’ college educations, save for future health care costs, and pay down debt, all while making the mortgage or rent payment, paying for all of our monthly expenses, as well as saving up for emergencies and vacations!
With so many money distractions, having a system to get on track to retire earlier — and stay on track — can help. A weekly money meeting, an appointment you keep with yourself or your partner if you have one, can be a great start. Setting aside a regular time set aside to focus on your money can help you meet multiple goals.
The actions you take today will help determine your retirement date tomorrow!
During your money meeting, review your short-term and long-term financial goals, examine your past week, and plan for your upcoming week. Each week you’ll track your progress and determine actionable next steps for the future.
PROMOTEDHere's how to start:
For the first meeting, block off two hours. After that, 30 minutes per week, at a specific time, should be sufficient.
Put together a notebook or binder for notes and tracking. If you are paperless, you can set up a file on your computer and review the documents stored there each week.
For your first meeting, prepare a net-worth statement and a monthly spending plan, budget, or list of what you spend.
Then ask yourself these 10 questions and write down the answers in your notebook. Over time, the answers will help you find trends and track your progress toward your larger goals.My Money Meeting
In five years, I’d like to have the financial freedom to leave my job and start my own consulting business working 20 hours a week. This would give me time to travel and spend time with family.
In five years, I’d like to take a six-month learning sabbatical (and be prepared financially for it to be unpaid or only 50% paid).
In five years, I’d like to be financially independent and retire!Your answer:
(To more easily record your answers, download Nancy's 10 Questions Printable Template here)Q
I want to pay off all of my consumer debt (credit card debt and my car).
I want to be able to live off of 60% of my income to save and invest the other 40%.
I want to be setting aside $300 per month for expected but unpredictable expenses, so I don’t have to put them on a credit card.Your answer:
I’ll stop using my credit cards, so no new charges are added. (This will make it easier to pay off that debt!)
I’ll increase my 401(k) contribution to the maximum allowable (or by at least 1%).
I’ll track every dollar I spend this month to see where my money is going.Your answer:
I’ll read a chapter of a book on personal finance.
I’ll read a blog post from a financial expert (check this one off, since you are already doing this right now!)
I’ll listen to a course in finance from The Great Courses or a financial podcast.Your answer:
Take 20 minutes to review your bank and credit card transactions. Did you stay within your spending targets (budget) last week?
Example, in reviewing my spending last week, I realized that I overspent on gifts and splurged for my friend’s birthday, throwing off my budget.
I’ll bring my lunch this week to save on food costs to make up the difference.Your answer:
Review your budget to figure out how much you can spend this week. Set a target an amount for groceries, entertainment, etc.
For example, I have not spent anything on entertainment this month, so this week I can get tickets for an outdoor concert (and choose the type of seats based on my budget!).Your answer:
Did I set aside funds in my emergency fund?
Did I invest money last week?
Did I pay off consumer debt?Your answer:
Your earning potential is an asset to your ability to build wealth. How are you making yourself valuable to your company to maintain and grow your earning potential this week?
For example, I reviewed my company’s strategic initiatives for the year, and I worked on the company’s most important project this week.Your answer:
If you are a late starter to retirement planning, in order to retire earlier, taking big steps, as well as a bunch of small ones, will help you get there.
What big steps will I take to cut expenses, create income streams, or make more money?
Adulting: How to Become Financially Independent From Parents
Becoming an adult is an important step in your life. Learn more about how to become financially independent from parents with Better Money Habits.
Saving & Budgeting
Financial independence: How to break up with your parents
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Let’s face it: Adulting isn’t always easy. Managing credit cards, paying off student debt and budgeting—all without help from mom and dad—can be overwhelming. Yet in a recent Bank of America/USA Today survey, nearly 40 percent of young people said it’s financial independence—such as paying rent and having your own health insurance—that really makes you feel like an adult. Luckily, you don’t have to go full grown-up right away. You can get there step by step.
Create a student loan game plan
Whether you live with your parents or just tag onto their cell phone plan, many millennials who rely on their parents for financial help say student loans are the reason. So how do you get them under control? First, know your options for repayment and consolidation, which could reduce your payments. You may be able to pay off your loans over a longer period, or you may qualify for an income-based repayment plan, both of which could also lower monthly payments. After doing some research, you may find it makes financial sense to accept help from your parents for a bit longer, if they’re willing. Just be sure to consider their expectations, as well as any quality-of-life implications, in your decision.
Average student loan debt
Source: Federal Reserve, 2016Tip: Don’t let stress about paying off student loans derail other areas of your finances. Balance your loans with other priorities, like saving for retirement or paying off credit card debt.
Build your credit (and eventually ditch mom’s card)
A good credit score can help you with everything from renting an apartment to landing a job, and since a longer credit history is generally better, it’s good to start building credit early. Ideally, you want to have your own card so you can be totally in control of the purchases and payments.
If you don’t yet have a credit card, consider applying for a secured credit card, which uses a security deposit as collateral. This can help you build credit. Sharing a card with your parents can do that, too. If you’re a joint cardholder, the card becomes part of your credit history. If you’re an authorized user, the card may or may not be reported on your history—it depends on the issuer. If your parents have good credit card habits, this can help you qualify for your own card.
Bank of America can help you find the credit card that’s right for you.
Prepare to move out
Gear up to pay rent by depositing a rent-like amount into a savings account each month. This helps you get used to the line item in your budget, and you can put the money toward a security deposit, or even a down payment, when you’re ready to live on your own. If you already pay rent to your parents, see whether they’ll consider using the money to help you get on your feet by contributing to a savings fund or helping with student debt.
15%of 25- to 35-year-olds lived with their parents in 2016— almost twice as many as in 1964.
Source: Pew Research Center, 2017Tip: Remember to budget for all of the extra costs that come with renting your place.
Get your own bank account
If you, as a teen, opened a bank account with your parents, you may still share it. Now that you’re paying your own bills, it can help to have your own account. Removing someone from a joint account can require planning—generally, both parties must be at a branch in person to sign paperwork. An alternative is to open a new account just for you and eventually close the one you shared. If you’re navigating two accounts, be sure to keep your parents informed, especially if you plan to transfer money from your shared account into your solo one.
Learn more about Bank of America’s checking account options.
Learn about health insurance options
You have a few options for health care coverage when you’re starting out:
If you’re under 26, you can stay on your parents’ plan. You can use this time to learn the ins and outs of health insurance without too much pressure. You may also be able to get health insurance through your employer, though you’ll likely need to pay a share of the cost. Other options include coverage through a spouse or buying insurance through the federal or your state’s exchange.
Wherever you get coverage, make sure you find out what your monthly premium will be and what the plan covers so you can estimate additional costs.
Figure out transportation
Millennials may be driving less than previous generations, but 77 percent still drive to work or school, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. If you are borrowing your parents’ wheels for now, find out what they pay each month, including gas and insurance—then consider contributing. This can help you start budgeting for transportation costs. When you plan to buy your own car, you may be able to save money by buying used.
Or, if you’d rather ditch the car entirely, public transportation, cycling and carpooling are great ways to be mobile on a budget. Plus, a host of rideshare apps have popped up, letting you search for potential carpool buddies.
Remember: Some family ties make financial sense
Financial independence doesn’t mean you have to cut all monetary ties to your parents. It may benefit everyone to share expenses such as family vacations, subscriptions or joint gifts. In addition, many experts think family cell phone plans are a good idea since they are generally cheaper per person than individual contracts. That doesn’t mean you should expect your parents to pay the whole bill, though. Try to chip in for your portion.