Personal finance is more than just an aspect you take care of on the side of your living - it should be viewed as an entire lifestyle plan. Without a clear, concise plan of your financial status, your future will adapt to the same conform. Imagine building a house - having the ideal dream home drawn up in your head, but in front of you are incomplete blueprints and a pile of wood and screws. Now imagine you have a full blueprint, all the nuts and bolts are completely categorized and accounted for, and you know where every single piece of it goes to in that home, down to the smallest screw for the cabinet that you will never use. THAT'S financial literacy. You're building an entire blueprint, looking years into the future, down to the very last day you live. Obviously that last part is impossible to predict, but the main point is that you'll be ready for that day regardless of when it happens.
With that being said, I'll be going over my Tools of the Trade - things that I use to help build my financial planning and stay on track.
Dave Ramsey's EveryDollar app - This is my absolute bread-and-butter. They have the free version, which allows you to create a budget, but in my opinion the paid version is much better as it allows you to link your bank accounts to the app. This allows you to see every expense (not cash) coming out of your accounts to precisely track which budget bucket you're pulling from.
A Net Worth app - Nothing says more about Financial Independence than a snapshot of your net worth. In the end, that number is what your life's work is based upon. Unfortunately, regardless of the career achievements you've compiled over the years, and people you've helped or problems you've solved, if it doesn't translate into some form of currency it's not going to help your retirement. That's the harsh truth. I use an app called Personal Capital as well as Nerdwallet. Both apps can be found in the iOS app store - I don't own an Android but I'm almost certain they would have it on there as well. Like EveryDollar, these apps allow you to link your accounts (retirement, credit cards, checking and savings) and allow you to have a big-picture tracker on everything you own. As you go through this process of becoming controlled over your money, you will enjoy seeing this "cumulative" sum of your hard work grow as well.
An investment broker - Earn more, spend less, invest the rest. I believe having an investment broker app is critical to overall wealth-building. Unless you're a movie star racking in millions a year, chances are you're an Average Joe/Jane like me with a 9-5. If you are, the best thing you can start on to get yourself setup for success is to begin investing. I've been around a few share of different investing apps (still have a bunch of them open) but I've found the easiest to operate and use is Robinhood and Fidelity. Despite the whole controversy involving Robinhood over the last year, I still use it to this day - I like the overall graphical package and I'm more accustomed to using it. I also use Webull and TD Ameritrade, but the bulk of my portfolio is in the former two brokerages.
*** Side Note - If you would like more information on any of these apps, please send me an email and I'd be more than happy to help you get started. I'll even send you my referral code for a chance of free stocks (I'll get one too, so everyone wins).
Last but certainly NOT least - Your WILLPOWER. This tool everyone has, but I'm afraid that not everyone uses too often. This is Priority 1. This tool is something that everyone is afraid of at first glance - It could be the overwhelming pride, or the ignorance of an impulse buy that clouds this, but please do not forget this tool. Willpower is what draws the line between the WINNERS and the "NOT-LOSERS." Some people in the world play to win, but most of them play to not lose - and people who play to not lose tend to not use their full potential of willpower. We've all been through this fork in the road - buy the new pair of brand-name shoes or stick with the generic pair of feet-huggers. Or go for the "Best Overall Car of 2021" or stay seated in the drivers' seat of the Honda Civic. Play to win. Develop your Willpower muscle and you'll be able to flex harder than anyone around you.
There they are, my basic Tools of the Trade for financial planning and wealth-building. I hope you're able to get started on at least two of these tools by the end of 2021, and pray that your journey begins on the right foot. The time to start is today, and today is a good day to be wealthy.