Personal Finance: Important things you should know by the age of 30

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We all need a broad understanding of personal finance that includes all areas of our financial life: spending, taxes, saving and investing, borrowing, insurance, buying a home, and retirement. Your thirties are the time to get your financial planning on the right track!

Getting on top of your finances will not only save you money but will help you identify other ways to cut back, freeing up cash for the things you really want to do.

Here are 3 important things you should know by the age of 30:

Personal finance basics – How to set up a budget?

The best way to take control of your finances is to set up a budget. This shows you if you are spending more or less than you can afford, and enables you to sort out your money priorities and find the right balance between spending and saving.

If you don’t have a computer, you can use a notebook and pen to track your income and expenses. You can easily carry a notebook with you and access it at any time, and electronic failure won’t cause you to lose your data. However, notebooks can be misplaced and it’s easier to make mistakes by hand.

It may be easier to use a free Microsoft Excel budget template to do calculations like how much you spent on food for the entire year. An Excel file can keep a running total of how much money you have left to spend in a particular month that adjusts every time you enter a new expense into your spreadsheet.

Alternatively, you can set a budget up using this free Budget planner and also read more about how you can make your money go further on the Money Advice Service website.

Personal finance and your credit history -What factors affect your credit rating?

A bad credit score makes it difficult to get a competitive mortgage, loan or credit card. However, there are ways to improve your credit score if you have no credit history.

You can find out what your credit rating is and get a copy of your credit report from credit reference agencies Equifax, Experian or Callcredit.

If you are unsure of the reasons why you may have a bad credit, check out this guide: key influencers of your credit record.

Personal finance guidance -Where to get free financial help?

You can get free financial help and information from charities, government-led or government-back services and other commercial organisations like comparison websites or magazines.

Here are some helpful sources:

Citizens Advice Bureau

It provides free online help on many issues, including debt, benefits, money, employment and consumer rights.

MoneySavingExpert.com

It is a useful source, especially for offering tips on saving money. It is free to use, although the site may get payment if you click through to some of the links offered.

The Pensions Advisory Service

It gives free guidance on all pension matters. It also helps with problems, complaints or disputes you might have with your workplace or private pension arrangement.

Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

It provides tax help for people on low incomes including students, pensioners and the disabled. They can’t help people directly but can direct you to further help from their website.

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