Financial Independence Checklist
Declare independence! Financial independence means having enough money to meet your needs. It doesn’t mean buying everything you want when you want it, but planning ahead to save up for the things you really care about. Make a plan to learn more and try each of these tips, and you’ll be free of financial stress in no time.
Create a budget to plan ahead and take the guesswork out of how much you can spend each month. Make a plan that shows you will spend less than you earn, and track your progress weekly or monthly.
Have your taxes prepared and filed. You may even qualify to receive free tax preparation and filing, and might be surprised at how much you get back when you avoid preparation fees.
Open a checking account. This will keep your money safe, and avoid check cashing and wire transfer fees. Already have one? Consider adding another checking account just for bills, and pay yourself a set allowance to a separate “spending” account to make budgeting even easier.
Open a savings account to start earn interest on your tax refund, or any money you’ve saved with your new budget. Saving will help build a safety net for emergencies.
You just made it through your first four months on your budget. How’d you do? It’s ok to make small adjustments, especially if they help you stick with it.
Establish credit, and pay on time to maintain a high score to get better rates (and pay less) for important purchases.
December can distract even the most faithful budgeter. Adjust your budget now to add a little extra to your savings until the end of the year, so you’ll have enough for a guilt-free splurge when you find a great deal!
You’ve now had a credit for at least a month, did you pay on time? Make sure to have a plan for paying back debt. You’ll pay less in interest & fees over time, and it’s the only way to get the benefits that come with a good credit score.
Budget check in time! This is the single most important part on financial independence, but it’s also the hardest. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone, consider signing up for a budgeting workshop or one-on-one session for expert tips.
You know what’s really spooky? Identity theft. You’ve worked hard to save and spend wisely, so be sure to protect yourself from fraud. You’ll save money and prevent headaches later on.
Curious how your credit score is doing? Sign up for a free report to check it each year and make sure you fraud protection tips are working.
You made it through your first year on a life-long journey of financial independence. Now that you are a pro, it’s your turn to set your own financial goals for the next 12 months. You can do it!