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Personal Finance Must-asks

By Elyse Umlauf-Garneau, REALTOR® Magazine

A journalist who has made her living covering real estate has now delved into the world of financial planning. What could be more apropos? After all, most real estate practitioners are on their own–that is, without an employee benefits department–when it comes to making personal financial decisions.

Ilyce Glink’s 100 Questions You Should Ask About Your Personal Finances (New York: Times Books, 1999; $19) literally offers 100 questions and answers about all aspects of your personal finances.

For novices, Glink offers advice on getting started:

  • Pay off your debts, starting with those that carry the highest interest rates.
  • Pay up insurance premiums to protect yourself and your family.
  • Set aside emergency cash–equal to three to six months of living expenses–in a liquid account.
  • Save for your future by spending less than you earn and investing it wisely.

If you’re an experienced investor, Glink keys you in on the top investing mistakes:

  • Owning redundant investments
  • Buying a stock without thorough research
  • Reacting too quickly when new management comes in and makes changes in a company you’re invested in
  • Gambling instead of investing

Tough love isn’t just for naughty teens. Glink offers some advice for rearing money-savvy kids:

  • Don’t bail out your kids when they go overboard with their first credit card.
  • Earmark any cash that your kids receive for three things–savings, spending, and charity.
  • Instead of overloading your kids with toys, buy them a few shares of stock and show them how to track the investment.

Blog Contributor

This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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