Father's Day: Give dad the gift of getting your finances in order
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My father is actively opposed to receiving a Father's Day gift. He much rather my brother and I save our money. Those are his exact words "I rather you both save your money." It's one of his many ways of trying to take care of us when he's no longer around. (He's pretty awesome.)
If your dad is anything like mine, getting your finances in order will make his heart swell — and could, quite possibly, be the best Father's Day gift you can "get" him this year.
Check your credit because you need good credit to find affordable financing and rates on everything from mortgages to auto loans to insurance policies. You can get your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and see your free scores on a number of websites.
Build better credit by paying all your bills on-time, keeping debt levels low and limiting new credit inquiries. (We've got more easy credit-building tips here.)
Have a 'pay down' debt plan if you're seriously in the red. Consider a balance transfer credit card to slow the accumulation of interest and redraft your budget so have extra money to put toward balances with high APRs.
Get financial protection. Life insurance is a financial safety net for families. If you die, your beneficiary gets a lump sum of money so they can still pay the bills and care for the kids (aka Dad's grandkids). You can quickly scope out life insurance quotes here.
Consider a 529 College Savings Plan for those kids/grandkids. 529 plans are tax-deferred savings accounts meant to help you pay for qualified school expenses.
Automate your savings by rolling over even a small amount of your paycheck into a high-yield savings account, which can ultimately turn into a robust emergency fund.
Boost your 401(k) contributions, even if you can only manage to go up a percent or two. Compound interest adds up.
Start a 401(k) if the last tip doesn't apply to you. Alternately, you can open an individual retirement account. And, if you're self-employed, here's a guide to building your own benefits package.
Cancel clear money-wasters like subscriptions or memberships you're not using, but somehow still paying for. You can spot these expenses by auditing your credit card and debit card statements.
Negotiate service contracts because quite often providers, like cable companies, cell phone servicers and insurers will lower rates for good customers who might otherwise go elsewhere.
Use the IRS' withholding calculator to make sure you have the right amount of money coming out of your paychecks. You don't want to owe too much in back taxes at the end of the year. But you don't want to loan Uncle Sam your hard-earned wages during it, either.
Have an estate plan. Create a living will. Name your beneficiaries, include health directives and assign a power of attorney.
Put Dad's best financial advice to work. Surely, there's one money tip he's repeated to you ad nauseum your whole life. Popular Dad lessons include "never live beyond your means"; "money doesn't grow on trees, so don't spend it like it does"; and "yes, you have to pay your credit card bills."
Feel free to share the best money advice your dad ever gave you in the comments section below. Here are a few more pieces of timeless financial advice to inspire you.
Happy Father's Day!
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