Check out some money basics from “your financial preschool teacher.”
- Most Americans don’t receive a good financial education in childhood.
- Tiffany Aliche grew up around honest and open conversations about money, which helped her when she ran into financial trouble.
- She has 10 solid tips for improving your money management skills.
Tiffany Aliche is a financial educator, writer, and podcast host who goes by the title “The Budgetnista.” Tiffany grew up in a household where money was discussed openly and freely, and she found early success in saving money and buying a home in her 20s while working as a preschool teacher. Unfortunately, she later ran into difficulties with her job and debt and had to rebuild her financial life from scratch. Now, her mission is teaching money skills to Americans, with particular focus on young people (and in fact, she has described herself as “your financial preschool teacher”). Thanks to Tiffany’s efforts, her home state of New Jersey now has Law A1414, “The Budgetnista Law.” It requires that middle school students be taught financial literacy in New Jersey schools.
Tiffany has 10 steps for “getting good with money.” They’re intended to outline the basics of good money management, and then expand on those fundamentals.
1. Budget building
Not only do you need a budget, but you also need the right bank accounts and automations (such as auto-pay and direct deposit) to support that budget. Without a budget, it’ll be harder to see where your money is going and the places where you can save and learn to spend better.
2. Save like a squirrel
Tiffany believes the oft-repeated financial advice that you should have at least three months’ worth of expenses in your savings account, in case of emergency. You also need to save for other financial goals, like investing.
3. Get out of debt
In order to get out of debt, you need to know how much you owe and to whom. Then you can make a plan to get out of it, and use online bill pay as well as auto-pay to do so.
4. Score high
Did you know you can request three free copies of your credit report per year, one from each of the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax)? Your bank may also offer credit monitoring. Tiffany Aliche says you should try to reach a credit score of 740 or higher.
5. Learn to earn
Tiffany also tells people to invest in themselves by keeping track of their skills and contributions at work, and using that information to get a raise. You can also take on a side hustle and bring in more money using those skills.
6. Invest like an insider
Investing for retirement is another key money move. Tiffany notes that it’s all about figuring out what your goals are, making a plan to invest, and being hands-off with your money so it will grow.
7. Get good with insurance
Proper insurance coverage is paramount to your financial security. You should make sure you have the right kinds of coverage for your life and situation, including life insurance, which isn’t required, like auto and home insurance often are, but is still a smart purchase for your peace of mind.
8. Grow rich
Tiffany advocates for learning how to calculate your net worth, and then making a plan to increase it based on your financial goals. This should be a monthly exercise in your overall money management plan.
9. Pick your money team
Having the right financial professionals on your side through this process is vital to your success. These can include a financial planner, a certified public accountant, an insurance broker, and an estate-planning attorney.
10. Leave a legacy
Tiffany notes that no matter how many assets you have, you need to have a plan for what will happen to them after you’re gone. Take stock of your assets (real estate, stock portfolio, even personal possessions like valuable jewelry) and work with an attorney to figure out where they’ll end up.
The Budgetnista’s tips hit most of the financial basics that many of us, unfortunately, didn’t learn in school. The first five will help you with the basics, while the last five focus on helping you keep and grow wealth. A lot of people have had to find their own way when it comes to personal finance, and it’s difficult to find someone who can’t recount at least one financial regret. Tiffany Aliche’s financial advice is grounded, precise, and achievable, and her tips are worth considering.
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