1. Maintain a good credit score! It will save you thousands of dollars in the short and long term when you need to borrow money to buy a car or a home. Creditors will give you an interest rate and the loan amount based on your income and credit score.
2. Large sums of money should NEVER be left in a checking account or even a low-interest bank savings account. Rather, put the money into a high interest savings account (like an ING savings), money market fund, or other forms of short term high interest investments with a fixed return.
3. If you have an employer matching 401K plan, maximize your contributions, so that you double your money!
4. Set aside 10% of your paycheck towards some form of long term savings account, like a money market account, mutual fund, retirement plan, or 401K. As you pay amount increases, your contribution will also increase automatically. 10% will also ensure that you stay ahead of inflation.
5. One of the best investments you can make is to first pay off all your high credit card debts. Credit cards typically carry a high interest rate and by paying off these debts, you get one of the best returns available which also is tax-free.
6. If you are losing sleep over an investment, whether its a stock, mutual fund, or retirement plan, its not worth it! Your lack of sleep is probably a good indication that it may be too risky, too good to be true, or just not the right invesment for you.
7. If an investment is projecting returns that are just too good to be true, they probably are. Unless you are intimately involved in the investment or are an insider, an investment that sounds too good to be true is probably too ambitious, too risky or just a scam.
8. Before you invest in something, always do your own research. Consulting with others and getting a second opinion is good, but you need to investigate for yourself. The internet is typically the best source for lots of information but make sure you read enough or get relevant data.
9. Always negotiate for commissions or fees paid for financial or real estate advice. Don’t be misled by standard commissions and “non-negotiable fees”. It is your money and the experts work for you.
10. Can’t get out of debt? If you are having problems meeting your debt payments each month and feel like you are digging a deeper hole, go talk to your creditors and banks to find a solution to get out of the mess. Beware of debt consolidators as they could charge higher interests in the long term and get you even deeper into debt.