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Basic Financial Planning for Newlyweds

 
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Attaining Your Debt Reduction and Savings Goals

 

Your Initial Financial Plan:

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Download Our Debt/Savings Calculator

To calculate how much you need to set aside each month to pay off a debt or reach a savings goal, simply download our (Microsoft Excel) debt/savings calculator at calculator.xls.


Looking For a CPA, Lawyer or Financial Advisor who has worked with lots of other newlyweds and is familiar with the issues that affect you?  

 

Looking to pay down your debts or build up a nest egg?  One approach is to keep your fingers crossed and hope that you win the lottery or inherit a lot of money from a long lost relative.  A more sensible approach is to follow the lead of others who have successfully achieved their financial goals and put together a systematic plan that will help you attain your savings and debt reduction goals.

The Debt Trap

Getting into debt is easy.  Whether its student loans or credit cards, you're in the minority these days if you're completely out of debt.

What's challenging is paying off your debts.  Did you know that if you owe $5,000 on a credit card that charges 15% interest, it would take you more than 6 years to pay off this balance if you made payments of only $100 per month?  By increasing your payment to $250 per month, you would cut the time needed to pay off this balance by more than 4 years and would save more than $2,000 in interest. 

If you're serious about getting out of debt, here's what you need to do:

  • First, make a list of all of your debts, including the interest rates that they charge.

  • Next, figure out the most that you can reasonably afford to pay towards your debts each month, allocating as much as possible to the debts with the higher interest rates.

  • Finally, stick to your plan. No excuses.

Building Up Your Nest Egg

If you're looking to build up your nest egg, your best bet is to try to save systematically.  By investing just $100 per month into a mutual fund that yields 8% per year, your account will grow to be worth $7,500 after five years and $18,000 after ten years. 

Finding ways to save systematically is easy. Make your first stop your employer's benefit department and ask them about the different investment opportunities that are available to you as a "payroll deduction".  Most employers offer a variety of opportunities, including a pre-tax retirement savings plan such as a 401(k) plan, the choice of having money directly deposited into your savings account, and the option to purchase U.S. Treasury Bonds or even shares of your employer's stock. 

Financial institutions also provide opportunities to help you save systematically.  If you prefer the safety and convenience of a bank, sign up for one of their savings programs such as the old-fashioned Christmas Club.  Otherwise, select a few quality mutual funds and instruct them to automatically withdraw a set amount of money from your bank account each month to purchase additional shares of their funds.  Known as dollar cost averaging, this technique will help you build up your portfolio while reducing the risk associated with owning mutual funds.

Don't Delay

Now's the time to take a look at your savings and debt reduction goals and put together a systematic plan that will help you attain those goals.


Can You Reduce the Interest Rates on Your Student Loans or Credit Cards?

You can cut down the time it takes you to get out of debt by minimizing the interest rates you're paying.  Remember, the lower the interest rate, the larger the portion of your monthly payment that will get applied against your outstanding balances.

  • If you still owe student loans, see how much you'll save by consolidating your loans into one loan with a lower interest rate at FinancialAid.com.

  • If you're carrying a balance on your credit cards, there's plenty of opportunities available to cut your interest rate.  Check out CardOffers.com to find the best deals available.

 

 

 

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