1 – Budgeting. Keeping records of your spending and knowing your credit score are three essential foundations. Of course, we have been hounding you on this one for some time. We place this as number 1.
2 – How to make a physical move to a new home. Do you know how much you can afford? Most people only think of the payment but fail to account for basics like utilities (water, garbage, electricity, gas/oil, etc.). Another is how much will your new location change your commuting costs each day? Tolls? Gas? Time, Wear on car? People often make a move and underestimate the additional costs. Moving is emotional just like money decisions. Never rush into these things. Prepare a detail list of all the possible costs to compare your present and future projected cash outlay. Then you will be able to see clearly instead of only through emotional eyes.
3 – Taxes. Do you understand what tax deductions really are and how they affect your tax bill? There is a lot of jargon and people make too many assumptions that are wrong. The first one is getting a huge refund. Most professionals advise against getting a huge refund. All that amounts to is a personal loan you made to the government. There are many low cost software products to help you understand your taxes better and plan. Tax prep companies are very competitive now. If you have a side business, it’s probably a good idea to consult with someone who can advise on how to maximize your tax benefits. If you only get a W-2 and work for someone, things might be simpler but if you have other income such as rentals, get help. Don’t go it alone. The money you pay for professional advice could save you multiples of what you spend for specialized help.
4 – Salary negotiation. Too many people take what they’ve offered because they are afraid to negotiate. The old saying, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Most employers expect potential hires to negotiate terms of employment. If you don’t, you are probably leaving money on the table. There are loads of resources online to help with salary and benefit negotiation. Remember that it is a two-way street and the goal is for both sides to benefit. If you don’t speak up, you’ll probably end up hating yourself because of what you missed out on. Do some research and learn how to politely and appropriately manage your next position or meeting about compensation.