By The Creative Anthology Staff
When you're balancing the twin specters of a career and a social life, the thought of fiscal responsibility and management sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry.
Even if you aren’t some type of wealth wizard who can double every investment overnight, you’re at the very least, an adult who hopefully knows the basics of balancing a budget.
By this point in your life, even if you aren't some type of wealth wizard who can double every investment overnight, you're at the very least, an adult who hopefully knows the basics of balancing a budget.
Even if you feel like you've got a pretty solid grasp on the rocky ledge of your fiscal future, when one quick slip is all it takes to dash your life against the hard stone slopes of financial ruin, an extra belay of knowledge could be all that stands between you and a painful collision with the harsh realities of poor money management.
6 Unexpected Things Every Business Woman Needs to Know about Her Finances
1. We're Gonna Make It After All - While knowing your hourly rate and your salary is great, if you start budgeting with only that in mind, you're going to find yourself fiscally underwater faster than a WWI era steamliner in contested waters. The real need-to-know number is your take-home. This isn't just so that you can properly budget, but also so that you can make sure that you're not selling yourself short when the tax man comes collecting. If you're not self-employed, take a long, hard look at your w-4 and pay stubs. Treating your taxes like a long-term savings account might feel good when return time comes around, but every penny you're holding in reserve is another missed opportunity to do everything from pay down debts, to earn interest.
Creative Tip: If you're not 100% sure which exemptions you can claim, consult the federal tax codes, a ye olde English dictionary, and a team of white-haired, bespectacled tax nerds, to make sure that you're not missing out on would be financial favor.
2. The Cost Of Keeping Up - Despite the way that society tends to think of it, your cost of living is more than just the house you live in, and the bills that you pay. COL is a complete measure of every cent that leaves your burgeoning business lady bank account in the pursuit of maintaining your current quality of living. That means that everything, from that check you write to your mortgage company each month, to that bi-weekly blowout should be part of the calculation. Even though those little expenses may not feel like a big deal at the time, over the course of a few weeks, that celeb-inspired beauty regimen really does add up. Treating yourself with the little things is part of how you keep yourself motivated and a reminder of why you work so hard in the first place, but failing to be aware of the cost of each portion of your lifestyle is a quick shortcut to a mishandled budget, and a one way ticket to a runaway spending habit fueled by the things that give us instant gratification with no longterm reward.
Creative Tip: Take a little time at the end of each day to pull up your bank's app and look at each transaction. Over a long enough time frame, with a little thought, you can spot your own financial trends and curb unnecessary spending habits to help you reach your fiscal goals.
3. Money Hungry - If you find that you have a tendency to treat yourself with foods and frappes, you might find that your accounts are coming up shorter than they should. If you haven't already done so, start keeping track of every single food-based transaction, and categorize your food expenses to see what percentage of your total income is being spent on unnecessary or over-priced eats. There are a myriad of apps and programs out there that you can and should be using to keep your financial life in order, and your fast food lust in check. Don't make the mistake of not following through with where your money is actually going, or you could be eating a lot more of your budget than you first expected.
Creative Tip: A meal out may only cost you $10.00, but if over the course of a month your fast food habit is costing you 15% of your total income, you are now informed enough to ask yourself which you personally would rather have, that awesome salad from your favorite eatery, or the brand new car you could be driving if you scaled that 15% down to 5%. We're not necessarily saying that the car is the right choice (look, there are some really good salads out there), but if you don't know your options choosing correctly is going to be the sort of guessing game you don't want to get into.
4. Permanently Indebted To You - Being in debt is the new modern norm, with upwards of 75% of Americans carrying some type of debt. A plethora of national level consolidations, buyouts, and restructuring can make figuring out exactly where your debt is hidden something of a shell game while rising interest rates and an ever-changing financial landscape make that knowledge more important than ever. Don't lose sight of the ball, always know how much you owe, who you owe it to, and what rates you're paying on all of your loans. The sooner you can join that 25% of seemingly mythical Americans who are debt free, the more your wallet will thank you.
Creative Tip: Between the ever-changing federal reserve rates and interest hikes, there's never a bad time to use the data you're tracking to see about loan consolidation for a shot at rate renegotiation. Even if you've got a great record and aren't drowning in debt, the more tricks that you can use to decrease the long-term damage that your debt is doing to your fiscal situation, the better off you'll be.
5. Showing Interest - Your interest rates play a huge part in determining just how much more that new car is going to cost you than what's written on the sticker. Just in case you haven't been paying attention to them, those long-term loan costs aren't the only way that not knowing your rates could be leaving money on the table. Make sure that you check the APYs on your bank accounts and CDs to find the best places to consolidate your cash and take advantage of variable rates. Keeping your money separated into different accounts could be costing you more than it's saving you (e.g. one account with $30,000.00 earning an interest rate of 1% is much better than three accounts with $10,000 at .02% each).
Creative Tip: For longer-term savings, CD and money market accounts are going to be your best allies with low risk and relatively high returns. While your money won't be as accessible as it is in a standard savings account, the higher interest rate your funds will be under means a far higher ROI thanks to your APY in the long term.
6. Track Your Stacks - Managing your finances is a job like any other, all the right tools could be at your fingertips, but if you don't know what any of the tools do, there's zero chance of the work getting done right. When asked to list assets, if all you can recall are the major things you interact with every day, (your house, your car, and your bank account), you could be doing a more thorough job of Keeping track of what you have, and knowing what it's worth in the event of a bankroll based emergency.
Creative Tip: When it comes to tracking assets and being a boss, knowing when you made a major purchase and how much you bought it for is the absolute baseline information you should be keeping. Remember, no one ever went bankrupt from tracking too much information.