What should you be doing with your money?

The first step to financial confidence: set a budget. Photo Credit: Thinkstock
The first step to financial confidence: set a budget.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

There are some money rules you hear all the time: Invest in your 401K. Spend less money on coffee. Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards. But how exactly do you put all of this into practice when you barely have enough money left over to go out after paying your rent every month? Metro enlisted Jim Matera, the executive vice president of Apple Savings Bank, for his advice.

Tip 1: Understand your budget and start saving.

Even if you don’t have a lot of discretionary income, you still need to make a budget and start saving for both the short term and the long term. A lot of employers make this easy with the option of directly depositing part of each paycheck into a separate account. They also make long-term saving simple with 401Ks, but independent retirement savings accounts are also available.

It’s also important to create your own long-term savings account for something you want down the line, such as a new house or baby. Sit down and think about what you want to have five years down the road. Set up automatic deposits for part of your paycheck to go into this account; that way you save money without even thinking about it.

Short-term saving is for things like a vacation, holiday shopping or other sizable purchases in the near future. It’s important to keep feeding this account in case an unexpected expense comes up.

Tip 2: Manage your debt.

For most people in their 20s and 30s, this means credit card debt. If you’re in over your head, the most important thing you can do is pay more than the minimum each month, even if this means putting off growing your savings account. Once you get your feet back on the ground, you can start saving. Keeping a healthy bank balance may make you feel better, but it only takes simple math to see that you’re losing money: You’re only earning about half a percent a year on your money in the bank, meanwhile you’re paying 10-plus percent interest on your credit card every month. Paying off your credit card instead of letting your money sit in the bank is the best investment you can make.

Tip 3: If you own a home, refinance your mortgage at the lowest rate possible.

This is another way to manage your debt. There are great rates out there today because interest is so low. Jump on opportunities that exist to refinance long-term debt at historically low rates.

Tip 4: Ask for advice.

Everybody’s financial situation is different depending on your income, your living situation, debt and future goals. It can only help you to ask your banker, broker or a financially savvy family member to help you build a budget.

Jim Matera is the executive vice president of Apple Savings Bank, the second-largest chartered savings bank in New York.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.