Ladies, what end-of-year financial steps do you plan to take in the next few months? Besides making sure to buy a new planner (if you’re a paper-planner person, that is) and finish your holiday shopping, another thing to do before the end of the year is to take time to focus on your financial situation. Besides quick things like reviewing your W-4 deductions to decide if they’re still appropriate and checking that your employer has your current address on file so that you’ll definitely receive your W-2, taking these seven year-end career and financial steps will build a good foundation for the months to come:
2017 Update: We still stand by this money roadmap and general personal finance advice for working women!
We’ve talked about a ton of different money issues here, but it occurred to me that it might be helpful to do a simple “roadmap” post — a listing of what to do, in what order, with links to the appropriate posts. So here’s my list of what to do with your money — if I were advising a friend, this is what I’d say. Readers, what would your roadmap look like? Would it be any different? (Update: the pictured Halogen wallet is sold out, but Nordstrom still has a bunch of Halogen wallets for very affordable prices.)
1. Figure out what your money situation is. Do you know how much you have in each account, where it is, and how much interest it’s earning? Do you know what your debts are, and how much interest you’re paying? I like Mint.com to keep track of multiple accounts (and I particularly like that it will email multiple email addresses with weekly updates — great if you’re married or otherwise in a joint banking relationship). [Read more…]
How much do you keep in your emergency fund? WHERE do you keep it? How often do you re-evaluate it? We haven’t talked about emergency funds in a few years, so I thought we should revisit. (Pictured: Tory Burch Priscilla Wallet, was $250, now $175 (also available in fuchsia, as well as in a zippered pouch on sale for $66).)
The basics remain the same: the suggestion I always see is to keep three to nine months of living expenses (mortgage, rent, loans, food, basic living needs), easily accessible in case you’re laid off, fired, quit, or are otherwise unable to work — or if you have some other huge unexpected expense, like if your car breaks down or you get in an accident and have bills to pay.
Managing your money can be one of the most important things you do when you’re just starting a job — but it also can be super difficult. We’ve talked about the importance of an emergency fund, but we haven’t really had a good conversation about where to stash your money in general — a high-yield savings account? CDs? Treasury bills? The stock market? (Pictured: Emilio Pucci Print Flap Wallet, available at Nordstrom for $295.) (As always, please keep in mind that a) these are huge issues with a lot of nuances, and many personal finance sites, magazines, and books do a much better job with them, and b) I am by no means a personal finance guru — this is just some common, fairly basic knowledge that I’ve learned over the past 10 years or so.)
Before you decide where to save your money, though, you need to know the answers to some important questions first, though:
1) How much money do you need to live on before your next paycheck comes? What money is needed to pay recurring bills that will come due before then? [Read more…]
2014 update: you may want to check out our latest discussion of emergency funds.
We noticed that our post on savings seemed to be a popular one, so we thought we’d start another discussion on money and investing. Today we’re wondering, dear readers, about your emergency funds: how did you calculate the amount, how do you store it, and how often do you reevaluate the amount and the storage situation? (Pictured: Comme des Garcons Large Zip-Around Wallet, available at Saks.com for $325.)
A caveat, at the beginning: we are not experts in financial advice.
The emergency fund, though, is one of those basic topics that you read about. If you’re in debt, they say, save for your emergency fund first, and then begin paying off debt. If you’re not in debt, they say, save for your emergency fund — and keep it liquid — before you start investing in the market. The emergency fund is supposed to be there as a a cushion in case you or your spouse lose your job, or if some other emergency comes up, such as medical needs or a car accident. [Read more…]