No Brainer Finances

by Dual Income No Kids on October 3, 2007 · 0 comments

Hello All,

We dinks tend to get a fair amount of email. Some messages are from Nigerian spammers, some are from the various blog services we subscribe to, sometimes its weirdos asking for a loan. The best kinds of emails we get are from people who want to talk about personal finance!

Most of these kinds of questions are, so “What do I do now”, or “How do I get started” sorts of questions. Well, if you want to more control over your personal finances, there are several thing you can do. These are what the kids call “no brainers”, because they are sure fire ways to improve your bottom line.

1) Pay off your credit cards: There are several reasons to pay off your credit card debt. First, its expensive. Most credit card rates are around 13%, but some of them can charge a LOT more. Second, the interest on credit cards isn’t tax deductible, so there isn’t any tax advantage in carrying it.

2) Max your your 401k: Right, if you have a tax advantaged pension plan like a 401k or 403b plan you should definitely max it out. There are several reasons for this. First, the plans are tax advantaged, which means that every dollar you contribute to your 401k is a dollar off your taxable income. Second, lots of companies will match a given percentage of your contributions. This is typically 3 to 5% or something like that. Third, this also puts your money to work on the market, which will probably give you a better long run return than stashing it in a savings account.

3) Read Up On Personal Finance: If you don’t know whats going on, its hard to know how to get ahead. Try investing some time in a good personal finance book. I recommend Personal Finance for Dummies, by Eric Tyson and Making the Most of Your Money by Jane Quinn. Its important to understand the basics, that way you can better make decisions and recognize good deals on financial products.

Good luck!

-James

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