Part of being a gentleman in the classic sense is the ability to handle money well. If James Bond is your financial role model, here are a few helpful personal finance tips. You may not end up living the life of an MI6 agent, but you will put yourself in a better position for financial prosperity.
1. Be Prepared for Anything
A hallmark of a gentleman is preparing for the future, whatever it may hold. This is the antithesis of the paycheck-to-paycheck living that’s done by so many. Make it a goal to save at least 10 percent of your income every month. When you save money, you can earn a return on it through compounding, building up a nest egg for when you retire. Your savings will also prove useful in a financial emergency.
2. Don’t Spend Frivolously
It’s easy to spend money. You don’t even need to go to the store to do it, as you can make purchases in seconds on a computer or smartphone. Buying new things gives you a rush, and far too many people get addicted to this. Before you spend on anything that isn’t essential to your daily life, such as groceries or a power bill, give yourself one night to sleep on it. You’ll find that you change your mind on many of the items you thought you needed.
3. Focus on Quality
While it’s important not to overspend, it’s equally important to recognize when you should spend more money on a higher quality product or service. Clothing is an excellent example of this. If you shop on price alone, you’ll likely end up with lower quality clothing that doesn’t fit as well or last as long. You’ll save some money upfront, but you’ll need to buy clothes more often. If you’re purchasing something you’ll use for a long time, don’t be afraid to spend more if there’s a significant quality difference.
4. Pay Your Debts
If you don’t pay your debts, it can lead to late fees which will increase what you owe the lender, and it can negatively affect your credit history. Whenever you have a debt, make sure that you’re paying at least the minimum every month. With certain types of debt, such as credit card debt, you should pay more than the minimum so you pay it off in a reasonable time frame.
Ideally, you should avoid debt in the first place. This isn’t always feasible, and certain loans, such as mortgages and student loans, could be a necessity to improve your situation in life. However, avoid pawn shops and title loans, along with other short-term, high-interest loans that have exorbitant amounts of interest.
5. Know the Value of Your Time
A gentleman understands what his time is worth and doesn’t waste it on tasks that he can outsource. Let’s say that you need to file your taxes. It will take you five or six hours to do it yourself, or you can pay an accountant $300 to handle it. If you make $100 an hour, you’re wasting time and money by doing your taxes yourself instead of hiring a professional.
It’s not difficult to get your finances in order, it just requires developing the right habits. Follow these tips and you’ll see both immediate and long-term benefits.