We’re big proponents of diversifying the qualities that define good health.
Healthy men are fit and free of harmful diseases, of course, but they’re also good husbands, boyfriends, fathers, bosses, and employees. Healthy men also manage their personal finances in healthy ways.
Related: The Men’s Health Better Man Project-2,000+ Quick Tricks For Living Your Healthiest Life
And over the years, Men‘ s Health has shared essential advice from the top financial experts in the field to help you maximize your money.
Click on for the 10 best money tips on Men‘ s Health history.
Would you start a diet without knowing your weight? Of course not.
So begin your financial planning by determining your net worth. It’s assets minus liabilities, or what you own minus what you owe.
Simple enough, but fewer than half of Americans can even approximate their net worth, says the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
Instead of thinking about how much you’ll need to reach your goal, estimate the maximum amount you could possibly save each month, says Dan Ariely, Ph.D., author of Predictably Irrational and a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University.
Then set up automatic payments from your paycheck toward your goal.
If you find you need more spending cash during the month, you can always adjust-but in the meantime, you’re stashing dough toward the day Junior gets into Yale.
Related: 10 Extremely Easy Ways to Make Extra Cash From the Comfort Of Your Couch
The key? Keep it simple.
Few investors can beat the overall stock market by choosing individual stocks, so don’t bother trying.
In fact, few Wall Streeters can beat the market for more than a few years in a row.
Try mutual funds that approximate the return of the total stock market. Vanguard and Fidelity, the big 401(k) managers, both offer them. So do other companies.
Total index funds keep you well-diversified among large, middle, and small-company stocks. They’re a solid, unexciting choice. Which means they’re perfect.
Related: Rich Guys Reveal How They’d Invest $100
Divide your annual rent outlay into the purchase price of your prospective home. If the result is less than 15 (as it often is in Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia), then it’s cheaper for you to buy.
Related: 10 Home Renovations That’ll Make You Rich
If it exceeds 15 (as you’ll typically find in San Francisco, Kansas City, Boston, and New York City), then renting makes more financial sense.
This seems obvious, but it’s so important for young people.
College campuses are overrun with credit-card vendors, and they will try to lure you in.
Big mistake. Using one card and paying it off every month is a good way to establish credit; nobody needs 24 different accounts.
“Credit-card debt should be viewed as poison,” says New York-based financial planner Gary Schatsky, “even if in small amounts. It’s one thing to splurge on an item you enjoy-but don’t add to the price by paying an additional 12 to 22 percent in interest.”
Some men tend to toss receipts, use all their cash, and hit the ATM again and again, says Cheryl Sherrard, C.F.P., of Rinehart Wealth Management.
Related: 7 Ways to Eat Healthy for Just $4 a Day
Save your ATM receipts for a month, subtract 20 percent from the total, and use that as your budget for the next month.