GIVE YOUR ALL IN 2014
Baby Step 1
Save $1,000 to start a baby emergency fund.
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can't plan for—stuff like the loss of a job, a washing machine on the fritz or a faulty car transmission. The list goes on and on. It's not a matter of if these events will happen. It's simply a matter of when they will happen. Start your money plan here and be ready!
Save $500 next week with simple changes to your insurance policies.
Make a Budget.
Your budget is your passport to a healthy financial life. It's how you control your money—and not the other way around. We utilize what's called a zero-based budget. That means you spend every dollar on paper, on purpose. You're either giving, saving or spending. Your new future is waiting. Let's go!
Baby Step 2
Pay off debts from smallest to largest.
List your debts, not counting the house, from smallest to largest. The smallest balance should be your number-one priority. Don't worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that's the case, then list the debt with the higher interest rate first.
The point of the debt snowball is simple. You need some quick wins in order to stay pumped up about getting out of debt! Paying off debt is not always about math. It's about motivation. Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. When you start knocking off the easier debts, you'll see results and stay motivated to dump your debt.
Baby Step 3
Put 3—6 months of expenses in savings.
Once you complete the first two Baby Steps, you'll have some serious momentum. But don't start throwing all your “extra” money into investments quite yet. It's time to build your full emergency fund. Ask yourself, “What would it take for me to live for three to six months if I lost my income?” Your answer to that question is how much you should save.
"I believe that through knowledge and discipline, financial peace is possible for all of us."— Dave Ramsey
Baby Step 4
Invest 15% of household income into tax-favored retirement accounts.
Dave suggests investing 15% of your household income into 401(k)s, Roth IRAs and other tax-favored retirement plans. Don't invest more than 15% because the extra money will help you complete the next two steps: college savings and paying off your home early.
For more investing tips, get the free Investing Minute Newsletter
Baby Step 5
Save for your kids' college.
To have enough money saved for college, you need to have a goal. Determine how much per month you should be saving in order to have enough for college. If your savings grow at 12%—the stock market's long-term average—and inflation is at 4%, then you're moving ahead of inflation at a net of 8% per year!
Get your teens off to a strong start with The Graduate Survival Guide.
Baby Step 6
Pay off the house early.
Now it's time to start throwing all your extra money toward the mortgage. You're getting closer to realizing the dream of a life with no house payments. As you attack this last debt, you'll gain momentum much like you did back in Baby Step 2. Remember, having absolutely no debt is totally within your reach!
Baby Step 7
Build wealth and give!
It's time to build wealth and give like never before. Leave a legacy for future generations and bless others now with your excess. It's really the only way to live!