Hi Friends! I wanted to create a post on 5 easy things to do when starting your finance journey. Haven’t started your finance journey? Well let’s start now! And no, it’s NOT too late! I barely started my finance journey 2 years ago and only in these past couple months have I started being a little more conscious and more active in taking steps towards managing my money.
And while I am no money master (I’m just a beginner too, so we are all in this together!), I think the best thing is to just get started and begin developing some good habits. And so, I thought I would share a few helpful easy-peasy level one tips that I think everyone can and should employ at the beginning of their financial journey! You can do all of these things today (like now!).
I know that finance and money management are one of the last things that people like to do since it can be super complicated, confusing, or time-consuming — but these steps are super straight-forward and each of them only takes a minute or two to complete!! And while these steps may seem so basic, I think a lot of people are actually NOT yet doing these things so I hope these tips are helpful for you!
Disclaimer: Do what is best for you! I’m not a licensed financial expert or advisor so obviously do your own research and blah blah blah.
Get A Starter Credit Card As Soon As Possible
Preface: Obviously, you need to use the credit card responsibly but it’s really not a big deal as long as you’re able to pay it off every month on-time.
I think everyone needs to start using a credit card, like yesterday!!! If you’re still using cash or a debit card to pay for things, you’re missing out on sooooooooo many goodies and you’re effectively leaving money on the table! Not to mention, there are major risks when using a debit card (i.e. theft, fraud) that are better protected against when using a credit card (peace of mind is everything).
Credit cards are my favorite part of personal finance (they can be super fun!) so I have a lot to say (maybe I’ll write some other posts on them!), but today I’m just going to say that you should get a starter card ASAP. There are tons of good options out there — just be sure to choose one with no annual fee for your first card (you probably won’t get approved for an annual fee card if it’s your first card anyway). I recommend this Discover card — it’s the card I hear everyone suggets for first-timers and it was my first card too! Caleb recommended it to me (everyone loves Caleb) and it was also the starter card I recommended to both my boyfriend and his brother.
I would be so grateful if you use my link to open a Discover card, we both will get $100 credit!! 🙂
Start A High-Yield Savings Account To Earn Interest
I know that stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, roth IRAs, 401ks, diversifying portfolios etc. can be majorly overwhelming. Luckily, there’s a super simple (and risk-free! well, minimum risk) way to invest your money that allows you to earn interest. And TBH, with how freakin’ TANKED my brokerage and retirement accounts are, a high-yield savings account is looking like a pretty great option right now. During this gnarly recession and time where all stocks are going down, it’s nice knowing that your savings account is only* (for the most part) going up.
Everyone needs a saving account (or multiple) and you likely already have one. Unfortunately, if its in one of those typical major banks then it’s likely not earning anything. Your money is just in there collecting dust. And that was me up until just a couple of months ago. I remember first hearing about a high-yield account a couple of years ago but I just never got to it. Halina recently encouraged me to move my money to one and I am so happy I did // so mad I didn’t start one sooner!
In a high-yield account, you can earn significantly more than the .0000000000001% interest you’re probably earning at a regular savings account. In fact, interest rates are really high right now so it’s a great time to open an account! There are lots of different high-yield bank accounts and I don’t think it matters much which you choose (since anyways rates always changing), but I do think you should at least get started and open one! I use Wealthfront which currently offers an interest rate of 3.8% and all you need to open an account is just $1. So for example, if you hold $5,000 in a 3.8% savings account then you would earn $19 at the end of a month! That’s a free meal every single month or $228+ a year!
If you use my link to open a Wealthfront account, we both get an extra $30!! To get the $30, you have to maintain an account of $500 for 30 days. Otherwise and after which, you only need $1 to have an account with Wealthfront and there’s also no fees for closing the account which is really great.
Set Up Multifactor Authentication Everywhere
You really should have multifactor authentication on all of your accounts (including social media), but it’s most important for places where you keep your money. You’ve worked hard to earn that money so you have to protect it. There’s a lot of shitty people in this world who hack and while we always think “oh well it’s not likely to happen to me,” there is an easy thing you can do to give yourself an extra sense of security and it takes less than a minute to do!
This is highly necessary so do it right now! Log on to all of your financial accounts (so banks, investments, storage drives where you keep financial documents etc) and set up your multifactor authentication so that it i.e. requires a verification text every time someone tries to login to your account!
How To: You’ll usually find this feature called as “2-Factor Authentication” under the “settings,” “account management,” or “profile” settings!
List Your Beneficiaries Today, In Case
God forbid anything happen to you or me, but the last freakin’ person I want to receive my hard earned cash is Uncle Sam – homeboy has taken enough of my money. For all of your accounts that hold funds, you’ll want to designate beneficiaries — a person (or multiple persons) who will receive your unused money in case of your death. It’s a heavy topic but tomorrow is never guaranteed, and it would be such a shame for your money not to go to your loved ones.
You’ll want to set up both primary and secondary beneficiaries for each of your accounts (so if you have multiple accounts within the same institution, i.e. both a checking and a savings account or both a roth ira and a 401k within the same bank, be sure to configure it for each individual account). This is really quick and simple to do. The primary beneficiaries are those who you foremost want to receive your money. Secondary beneficiaries are in case something happens to your primary beneficiaries (the example that was given to me was i.e. if your whole family got in a car crash :/). So, please take a second (again, only takes a minute or two!) to do this important step.
How To: On the “Beneficiaries” page (you can find it attached to each of your accounts), all you need to do is input the legal name, birthday, address, and social security # of your designated benefiary(s).
Turn On Your Activity Notifications
While creating and abiding by a budget certainly enables you to take stronger reign in managing your money, it does take some time to think through and it’s also work to maintain and reconcile on an ongoing basis. A baby step would be to at least make sure you are aware of all of your money at all times, in real-time, so that you have an idea of what’s coming in and out, and how much.
These alerts are so helpful whether it’s being notified about any fees or actions that need to be addressed, regularly receiving updates on your account balances or any transfers / withdrawals / deposits, or being reminded about that random subscription that you forgot to cancel. Personally, I like to turn on notifications for pretty much ALL activity and transactions (could be a criminal who stole your credentials or like last night when I caught Michael using my credit card to get taco bell!!!).
How To: Log in to each of your financial accounts and go to the “Notifications” settings tab — under there, you should find a galore of important notification options to toggle on via email, text, and/or push notification.
Let me know if any of these 5 tips were new or helpful to you and let me know if you have any other good tips 🙂