20 June 2012

Personal Finance: 3 Important Aspects of Good Financial Management

Guest post by Kavin Matthews*
 

Recently, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or NFCC conducted a Financial Literacy survey that revealed about consumer's knowledge on personal financial management. According to NFCC, most of the consumers gave themselves a poor rating regarding their financial expertise. Moreover, a large number of respondents reported that they would need professional guidance in order to manage their finances efficiently. 

The numbers of people getting expert's financial advice are growing because of low Consumer Confidence Index as a result of ongoing socio-economic crisis. To cater to this popular demand, this article has been composed to guide a person on three important financial arms, namely - taxes, stocks and budget. 

Tax planning

Use the below mentioned tips to plan your taxes accurately:
  • IRA - In a conventional IRA Plan, both married couple and unmarried person with an income of less than $173,000 and $56,000 respectively, can make a maximum contribution of $5,000 towards the plan. Moreover, people of 50 years of age or more are allowed to make $6,000 maximum contribution under the same conventional IRA plan.
    The contributed amount is deducted from the individual's taxable income. This reduces tax and saves a lot of money. However, under conventional IRA when a person of 59 œ years of age gets the distributed amount it will attract a certain percentage of tax.
  • 401k & other retirement Plan - As of 2012, a person is allowed to make a maximum contribution of $17,000 under 401k Plan. If the person is more than 50 years of age, then he can pay an extra amount of $5,500. The contributed amount is deducted from the taxable income of that person. On attaining the age of 55, a retiree is allowed to withdraw his savings, but the withdrawn amount will be regarded as a taxable income. 

Stock investments

Follow the guidelines to make your stock investments profitable:
  • Dividends - People nearing their retirement amount should ensure that the stocks they are investing have a good performance record. One should be aware of the percentage of dividends shared by the stock owner. This dividend should be divided by the annual dividend of the stock.
  • Portfolio - Financial experts, advice investors to avoid keeping all the eggs in a single basket. This means people should not get floored by a single good performing stock. Instead, they should invest their money in different kinds of stocks. It is an important step to create an impressive investment portfolio that is based on the principle of diversification. One can consider investing in government bonds and money market funds as well.

Budgeting

If you want to have a successful financial life, then smart budgeting should be its corner stone. Here are few simple tips to make a practical and smart monthly budget to mange your expenses and drive up savings efficiently:
  • Don't gamble - Financial planners say their clients to put their extra income into productive use rather than go for binge shopping. People should always look around for new investment opportunities. One should not rely only on a single investment tool. It is similar to gambling. Moreover, financial advisers also ask people to verify any unsolicited investment tips offered to them over the Internet or in market place. One must be a smart investor and not a foolish gambler.
  • Expect the unexpected - This means that every person should prepare for their worst financial times. It may be tough but it has been proved to be quite helpful in those situations. Therefore, start saving for the rainy day. People should create a reservoir of liquid money that will serve as a financial support during any kind of emergencies.

All said one should not stop being a learner. People are advised to acquire as much knowledge and wisdom as possible, about some basic investment tools and principles. This will minimize the risk of following poor investment strategy and incur massive loss at the age of retirement. 


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* Kavin Matthews is a veteran in the profession of financial planning. He has been instrumental in developing several financial websites based on personal financial management. Presently, he is associated with the debtconsolidationcare.com, where he holds the financial consultant portfolio.

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